Earth Day really began on the California coast. The first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970, was organized by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wis., in reaction to the damage he saw to the California coast following the oil spill in the ocean off Santa Barbara in early 1969 — the largest oil spill to ever occur along the California coast. What began as a teach-in for college students to raise awareness about our environment spread across the country in the years that followed. The April 22 date is now observed in 175 countries around the world.
Earth Day is marked each year on our own coast with events providing volunteers of all ages the opportunity to learn about our local environment and contribute to its restoration and preservation. This year, Half Moon Bay Earth Day activities will be spread out over the two weekends on either side of the April 22 anniversary, giving you plenty of chances to volunteer a few hours of service.
On April 16, at Francis Beach (part of Half Moon Bay State Beach), 95 Kelly Avenue, volunteers will concentrate on habitat restoration — removing non-native plants, planting native plants, working in the plant nursery, and restoring native plant landscaping. There will be activities for all ages, from hoeing invasive weeds in the fields to planting young beach strawberry plants in the nursery — a good activity for kids of all ages.
The event is sponsored by the California State Parks Foundation, PG&E, Home Depot, and Oracle. Refreshments for volunteers will be provided by Peet’s Coffee, Honest Tea, Dannon Yogurt, Fresh Choice Restaurants, and The Fruit Guys. While you are there, you can stop by the visitor center, with displays about local State Parks and the natural wonders of the Coastside.
There is no charge for parking for volunteers. Gloves and tools will be provided. Check-in time for the event is at 9 a.m. by the Francis Beach parking lot. Projects will begin at 9:30 a.m. and last until 1 p.m. The park contact is Joanne Kerbavaz (650) 726-8805 or email@example.com.
On April 23 there will be two cleanup projects on the coast:
Mirada Surf, El Granada. San Mateo County, in cooperation with the Friends of Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is sponsoring a bluff and beach cleanup at the Mirada Surf West bluff above Surfer’s Beach and along the beach itself. Volunteers will work their way along the bluff, the beach, the breakwater, the highway edges, and nearby streets to pick up debris.
There will be disposable gloves and bags available for trash and recycling. To make the event even more earth-friendly, bring your own reusable work gloves and a bucket for the debris you collect. When you bring your buckets back to the sign-up table, trash and recyclables can be consolidated to reduce the number of plastic bags used.
Park on the east side of Highway One, at Coronado Street in El Granada, and cross safely with the light. The project begins at 9 a.m. on April 23 and will last until noon. Contact Ranger Sarah Lenz at 650-728-3584 for questions or to sign up.
Francis Beach to Poplar Avenue. Volunteers will pick up debris on the bluff, Coastside Trail, and beach between Kelly Avenue and Poplar Avenue. It is a heavily used area — by beach goers, walkers, bikers, and horseback riders — and needs a cleanup. Last year on Earth Day, according to Joe Fullerton of Half Moon Bay Coastal Promise, 120 volunteers collected over 200 pounds of garbage and recyclables in a similar cleanup effort along Francis Beach and Kelly Avenue.
The event has multiple sponsors, including Half Moon Bay Coastal Promise, Save Our Shores, the , and Wilkinson School. In addition to the cleanup, there will be a sand castle contest for children, conducted by the Art Attic, and other activities organized by Coastal Promise.
The cleanup will begin at 10 a.m. on April 23 and last until noon. Park at Francis Beach at 95 Kelly Avenue. For free parking, let the attendant at the entrance station know that you are an Earth Day volunteer. Save Our Shores will provide all cleanup materials.