May 16, 2014

We have moved!

Come and see our new website and keep up to date on what Save Our Shores is up to.  Follow this link to our new blog location.

April 29, 2014

Plastic-Free Event Challenge #3

Prepping for a beach cleanup with 250 volunteers is no easy task, but Save Our Shores is not afraid of a challenge. 

Photo by Save Our Shores

The Santa Cruz Warriors joined SOS for a big beach cleanup at Seabright Beach on March 15th and we were so excited to invite everyone in the community!  In addition to the time it took for planning the event, there were also many tangible items necessary for the cleanup. We printed hundreds of waivers, packed three cars full of buckets, tables, and other bags filled with cleanup supplies, a sound system, and multiple signs! SOS knew that this was a cleanup like no other! 
Photo by Save Our Shores
A couple weeks prior to the cleanup, SOS helped the Santa Cruz Warriors order reusable water bottles for the first 150 participants.  This was our way of making sure our volunteers were hydrated and saying thank you to all who came out to support the cause.

Excitement and anticipation rose as the day of the cleanup approached. We knew the custom metal water bottles were on their way!  One day, four big boxes packed with reusable water bottles arrived at our office and we opened them to find each bottle wrapped in plastic. Our hearts sank as we started to comprehend the complexity of hosting a entirely plastic-free event. Our shock turned into frustration and immediately we began to realize the foolishness of plastic packaging.
Photo by Save Our Shores
This time we had to focus and think of creative solutions. We brainstormed and decided to use these as a substitute for dog waste bags since we were running low on Mutt Mitts for our beach signs on Seabright Beach and Twin Lakes Beach.

Large Beach Cleanup: Plastic Slip-ups
     Reusable water bottles came packaged in plastic bags...reused for dog waste bags!
     Blue tarps for cleanup teams were wrapped in plastic

Suggestions for Buying From Companies:
     Request the company you purchase from to not use plastic packaging material for items that are ordered and shipped to SOS

     When contacting companies use email tagline similar to: “Each and everyday is a plastic free day at Save Our Shores”

-Kim Marks, Save Our Shores Program Intern

April 28, 2014

MPA Mondays: Point Lobos

Photo by Denis Lincoln
Point Lobos, the "crown jewel" of California's State Parks, is one of our most treasured Marine Protected Areas on the Central Coast.  Named for the offshore rocks at Punta de los Lobos Marinos (Point of the Sea Wolves), where you can hear the barks of the California Sea Lions who call this area home, Point Lobos is a place of wonder.

Point Lobos is an area rich with local fishing history.  A few of the original buildings still stand today, you can even visit a cabin used to house workers from an old whaling station that operated from 1862 to 1879. 

"The Carmel Bay Whaling Company was operated by a group of Portuguese seamen from 1862 until 1879. In California there were only 16 shore whaling stations between 1854 and 1900, with only about 300 men involved."-Point Lobos State Park Webite

Where visitors now park, an abalone cannery once operated.

"Around 1899, a young marine biologist from Japan, Gennosuke Kodani, and recent land owner, Alexander Allan established an abalone cannery which was located at what is now the Whalers Cove parking area. The cannery was so successful it eventually accounted for 75% of the abalone sold in California. It stayed in operation until 1928, and was dismantled in 1933 when the property became a state reserve." -Point Lobos State Park Webite

Point Lobos is well known for sightseeing, photography, painting, nature study, picnicking, SCUBA diving, and jogging.  Not to mention every aspect of its resources is of scientific interest. There are many rare plants, endangered archeological sites, unique geological formations, and incredibly rich flora and fauna of both land and sea which made it an ideal place to protect.

In September of 2007, Point Lobos became a Marine Protected Area to provide a safe sanctuary for the abundance of biodiversity underwater.

Photo by
The red part of the map above shows the State Marine Reserve where there is no fishing or harvesting allowed of any kind.  The blue section in the map shows the State Marine Conservation Area where take of all living marine resources is prohibited except the recreational and commercial take of salmon, albacore and commercial take of spot prawn. 

Photo by Jim Patterson
Point Lobos is a very popular place for local scuba divers.  Recently, a few divers had an amazing encounter with an octopus.  If you are interested in going, be sure to make a reservation before you go.

If you are enchanted with this special place, plan an adventure to Point Lobos State Park, you will not be disappointed!

April 24, 2014

San Francisco Plastic Bag Ban Gets the Green Light from the Supreme Court

Last week the City of San Francisco won a long standing battle against the Save the Plastic Bag Coalition in the Supreme Court to move forward with their plastic bag ban.  

San Francisco led the way in 2007 with the first plastic bag ban in the country, eliminating plastic bags at large grocery stores.  However, they did not charge a fee for paper bags which led to an increase in paper bags and got the attention of the Save The Plastic Bag Coalition.  The coalition claims that paper bags "take more energy to produce than plastic, leading to an increase in greenhouse gases, and occupy more space in landfills." (  With the increase in use of paper bags, they demanded a full environmental review.  "The city contended no such review was needed because the ordinance was environmentally benign, an argument that prevailed in court." (

Since 2007, San Francisco added a $0.10 fee to paper bags and extended the ordinance to include all retail stores and restaurants as of October, 2013.  The fee on paper bags creates an incentive to bring your own bag which is much better than either paper or plastic.  

SOS commends the Supreme Court for this decision and we look forward to advocating for more plastic bag bans in California.  

April 23, 2014

Grocery Store Challenge

Photo by
Shopping plastic’s definitely easier said than done! Employees at Save Our Shores have had to become creative shoppers at our local grocery stores in order to avoid making plastic purchases. Finding items without plastic is incredibly challenging if you haven’t tried already! I’ve discovered that the two aisles with the least amount of plastic are usually the produce aisle (minus the produce bags) and where the bulk items are (minus their containers). They’re my favorite aisles to head to if I want to make trail mix or have fresh veggies and fruit for myself at home, but they’re not so great for hosting large events. The price starts to add up quickly if you’re hosting an event of fifteen plus people. Let’s be honest, one bowl of trail mix with chocolate covered goodies and other fun surprises will definitely be gone within the first five minutes. Especially if I’m there! 

On February 26th, 2014, Save Our Shores hosted Marc Shargel as one of our public speakers at the Sanctuary Exploration Center. It was an awesome event to not only learn more about the history of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, but a chance for our staff to celebrate our environment with guests and volunteers too! We had pizza donated by Pizza My Heart, beer donated by Ninkasi, and snack items from Staff of Life. Everything was delicious and for the most part recyclable, except for one item. One little slip-up prevented us from having the title of plastic free…Tortilla chips! They’re such a yummy and easy snack to bring to events, but are incredibly difficult to find without some type of plastic on their bag! Curse you little plastic window panes!

We ended up purchasing tortilla chips in a brown bag (yes! we thought it was recyclable) but with a closer look the bag had a clear plastic window right on front. Later we found out that the bag was recyclable (yay!), but the plastic window pane had to be cut out and thrown away. That’s okay though! This is all just a part of the learning process. After doing some digging into plastic free tortilla chip bags we found that you can order them in bulk from Staff of Life (PLU#131) ahead of time! 

Becoming plastic free doesn't happen in one day. It’s a process that will take time. We will keep track of the plastic that we accidentally use at SOS events and based on our data, we will be able to see which alternative solutions worked and where adjustments should be made. With that in mind, we bid adieu to the tortilla chips with their plastic window pane bags and say hello to whatever clever food combinations we come up with next! 

Plastic-free Food Suggestions for Large Events:
Pizza (Homemade or without the white plastic table top in the box from restaurants)
Snack Mixes from the bulk aisle 
Homemade pastries or desserts 
Beverages in glass jars (ie. Water, Juices, etc.) 

Photo: Associated Press

-Bronti Patterson, SOS Program Intern

April 22, 2014

Has Fukushima radiation reached our beaches yet?

Hear what credible scientists have to say about the safety of our shores and discuss the actions we should take to prevent nuclear disaster in the future.

When: Thursday, April 24 at 7 pm 
Where: The Center for Spiritual Living, 1818 Felt St., Santa Cruz

Presented by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom of Santa Cruz

Speaker: Dr. Kai Vetter, Co-founder of Kelp Watch; Head Applied Nuclear Physics Program, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will speak about what we know, if we need to worry, and what we can do.  

Speaker: Dan Hirsch, Lecturer on Nuclear Policy at UCSC, President of the nonprofit nuclear policy organization Committee to Bridge the Gap (between nuclear dangers and a sustainable future) will speak on what we should and can do about Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Followed by a discussion on possible actions we can take.

Moderator: Dan Haifley, Exec. Director of O’Neill’s Sea Odyssey, 2011 Save Our Shores “Ocean Hero" and environmental activist.  

Co-Sponsors: Save Our Shores, Santa Cruz Sierra Club, Desal Alternatives
This community program is free. Donations are welcome. For more information or transportation, please call 831-246-4440,  

April 19, 2014

Local Volunteers Clean Monterey Bay Hotspots for Earth Day

Earth Day Cleanups a Huge Success with 316 Volunteers and over 1,500 lbs of trash!

Volunteer fills out her data card at the
San Lorenzo River cleanup at Water Street Bridge
SOS hosted five cleanups around the Monterey Bay and, with the help of 316 volunteers, prevented 1,505 pounds of trash and debris from polluting our waterways! The most common item found was cigarette butts.  Volunteers also found 2 television sets, a tricycle, a bag full of horse hair, 19 tires and 2 mattresses at Elkhorn Slough.  Volunteers at the Tannery by the San Lorenzo River found a heater and a roll of plastic sheeting.  Last year’s Earth Day cleanup volunteers removed 665 pounds of trash at just three sites.  This year we saw an increase in both sites and total trash removed with five sites and over 1,500 pounds of trash.

19 tires found at Elkhorn Slough cleanup
The Earth Day Cleanup is one of the largest community efforts of the year on the Central Coast. SOS is thrilled to have increased the Earth Day Cleanup effort by adding the Triple M Ranch site in Elkhorn Slough. The four remaining locations were Cowell and Main Beach, the San Lorenzo River from Water Street bridge to Soquel Street bridge, the San Lorenzo River behind the Tannery on River Street and Del Monte Beach in Monterey.

Elkhorn Slough at Triple M Ranch was the dirtiest site with over 800 pounds of waste.  Properties bordering the Elkhorn Slough are impacted by a high amount of illegal dumping.  SOS has been collaborating with local organizations to raise awareness about this fragile ecosystem and the harm that trash can have on marine life.  The San Lorenzo River at Water Street Bridge came in second with 257 pounds.  

“I was the most shocked when we rolled a jumbo TV out of a ditch right next to the gorgeous riparian marshland.  I am grateful to ALBA, the Marine Mammal Center and ESF for combining forces and removing so much waste.” said Rachel Kippen, Program Manager at Save Our Shores who lead the Elkhorn Slough site.

Thank you to the to all our partners including ALBA, The Marine Mammal Center, Elkhorn Slough Foundation, Whole Foods, The Tannery Arts Center, REI and Lindsay Jackson for their assistance in making this event a huge success.

Art Pitts helps out by hauling in trash from the
San Lorenzo River behind the Tannery on River Street
Needles found at the San Lorenzo River at the
Tannery on River Street
Sara Hutto volunteering at the Cowell and Main Beach cleanup today

April 17, 2014

Scotts Valley Decides to Keep Plastic Bags....For Now

Plastic bag found at Carbonera Creek in Scotts Valley.  Photo by Haig White
Scotts Valley City Council held their regular meeting last night, April 16th.  One of the first agenda items was the potential plastic bag ban for the city.  Scott Valley is the only jurisdiction in Santa Cruz County that does not have a ban on plastic bags.

The council decided to wait for the State Legislators to move forward with the state-wide plastic bag ban, SB 270.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reporter Calvin Men, reported on the meeting:

"The Scotts Valley City Council opted not to adopt the ordinance Wednesday night, citing pending state legislation that would ban plastic bags to an extent.

Though Councilwoman Stephany Aguilar made a motion that would have started the process, it failed to gain support from other members of the council.

The proposed ordinance considered several options, including whether to charge a fee for paper bags if plastic bags are banned or continuing to use plastic bags. Another option, modeled after a proposed state legislation, would ban plastic bags at retailers with gross annual sales of $2 million or more or with 10,000 square feet.

The decision came after hearing from dozens San Lorenzo Valley residents and environmental organizations who gave varying opinions on the matter. Some advocated for the ban of the plastic bags and a fee on paper bags to encourage residents to get into the habit of using reusable bags."

Read the full story here

April 10, 2014

Join us in celebrating Earth Day!

Save Our Shores will host four cleanups for Earth Day on Saturday, April 19th

Earth Day is almost here and we want YOU to be a part of the solution to ocean pollution.  SOS is focusing efforts on beaches and inland locations in need of some extra help this Earth Day where volunteers will have the greatest impact.  SOS will host two cleanups in Monterey and two cleanups in Santa Cruz including a free yoga class, a potluck and giveaways for participants.  

Cleanups in Monterey at Elkhorn Slough and Del Monte Beach

Photo by Paul Zaretscky

The Elkhorn Slough Watershed cleanup will take place at Triple M Ranch from 10am-Noon.  This is the first cleanup of its kind and it is in partnership with the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) and the Marine Mammal Center.  Volunteers will meet at Triple M Ranch at 420 Hall Road in Las Lomas, ALBA’s Farm Training and Research Center.  ALBA educates local farmers on sustainable and organic farming practices in the Elkhorn Slough Reserve watershed.  Due to a huge increase in illegal dumping at sites surrounding the reserve, SOS designated this region as a 2014 Hotspot.  The cleanup will be followed by a celebratory potluck where participants can purchase local produce from ALBA and win some new gear from REI.

The beach cleanup at Del Monte Beach is from 10am-Noon.  Del Monte Beach is one of the most popular destinations in Monterey and boasts a great view of our entire National Marine Sanctuary.  As a treat for volunteers, local yoga instructor Lindsay Jackson will lead a one-hour yoga session at 9am.  The check-in table will be located in the beach parking lot next to Municipal Wharf #2.

Cleanups in Santa Cruz at Cowell and Main Beach and the 
San Lorenzo River at Water Street Bridge

Photo by Lauren Dockendorf

The cleanup at the San Lorenzo River will be at the Water Street Bridge from 9am-11am.  The San Lorenzo River has been a major focus for SOS over the past few years, and it has been consistently improving.  Help to continue this effort and join this cleanup.  The check-in table will be at the San Lorenzo Riverway path in the San Lorenzo Part right next to the pedestrian bridge.

The beach cleanup at Cowell and Main Beach is from 9am-11am.  The Cowell and Main Beaches are located right next to the famous Santa Cruz Boardwalk, making them the most popular beaches in Santa Cruz.  The check-in table will be at the Cowell Beach stairs near the parking lot next to the Dream Inn hotel.  

“Earth Day is a great opportunity for everyone in our Monterey and Santa Cruz communities to show their appreciation for the ocean paradise that we have here by participating in one of our four cleanups this year,” said Laura Kasa, Executive Director of SOS.

Materials will be provided at all four cleanups, but consider bringing your own buckets, gloves, bags and reusable water bottles to help reduce trash. Individuals and groups welcome.  If you plan to bring a group of 10 or more, contact  

If you would like to register for the cleanup ahead of time, visit our website at

April 8, 2014

Get to Know Your MPA Monday

Elkhorn Slough Marine Reserve

Imagine a place where you can see a variety of migrating birds, leopard sharks, harbor seals and the largest population of sea otters along the west coast, all in one afternoon.  This is the reality at Elkhorn Slough Reserve.  Because of the amount of diversity in this 1,700-acre slough, it was declaired a Marine Reserve in 2007, the highest level of protection for a Marine Protected Area.

Photo by Ted Belleza
Elkhorn Slough wasn't always the haven it is today.  Back in 1913, the land was owned by Empire Gun Club who used it as a hunting marsh.  They even installed dikes to create a string of ponds for duck hunting.  After the Gun Club left around 1940, the slough was drained and transformed into a pasture for cattle.  Some of the original barns can still be seen at the slough (pictured below).

Photo by Miwa

It wasn't until 1979, when the Department of Fish and Wildlife purchased the land, that the restoration of this important estuary began.  The dikes were removed and the estuary was filled with brackish water (a mix of ocean and fresh water).  

This unique habitat attracts visitors from all over the world.  Especially bird watchers who come to see the extreme range of over 340 species who migrate through this area and some that live there year-round including the endangered Snowy Plover.

Photo by
The Elkhorn Slough Marine Reserve was established in 2007 with the rest of the Central Coast Marine Protected Areas.  The reserve boundary starts about a mile upstream from the Highway 1 bridge and extends all the way to the dock at Kirby Park.  The remaining mile in between Highway 1 and the reserve is the Elkhorn Slough Marine Conservation Area which allows only for fishing and harvesting clams, all other species are protected.  

Are you interested in visiting this mystical place?  You can rent a Kayak from our friends at Kayak Connection, trust us, you will not be disappointed!

March 31, 2014

Get to Know Your MPA Monday

                                                                                                                                                                      Photo by Christian Arballo
Natural Bridges Marine Protected Area (MPA)

One of the smallest MPAs in the Central Coast, Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve is just a half mile long and extends only 21 feet into the ocean.    

Located at the northern edge of the City of Santa Cruz, Natural Bridges is an accessible and popular area where visitors and scientists alike can explore extensive and biologically rich tide pools and sandy beaches.  The famous tide pools at Natural Bridges provide habitat for a wide range of species from baby Giant Pacific Octopus to Gumboot Chiton.

The Natural Bridges State Marine Reserve is a special MPA that does not allow any type of fishing, hence the word reserve.  There are many different types of MPAs that allow some fishing but since this is such a special and unique area along the coast of California, it is protected from all fishing and harvesting activities.

This beach, with its famous natural bridge, is an excellent place to view birds, migrating whales, seals, and otters playing offshore. 

                        Photo by Anders Ohlsson
Natural Bridges is home to the only State Monarch Preserve in California and provides a temporary home to over 100,000 Monarch butterflies each winter!

Did you know? Although only one arch remains at Natural Bridges, at one time three arches once stood here until they collapsed from erosion. The outer arch fell during the early 20th century and the inner arch fell during a large storm in 1980 – all that remains is the middle arch!

For more information about Natural Bridges State Park click here.  For more information on all of the MPAs in the Central Coast of California click here.

March 26, 2014

Local SOS Beach Adopter Saves Seagull from Fishing Line

Anni Rein was walking on Seabright Beach in November 2013 and saw something strange in the tide line.  It was a seagull that had just washed ashore and was right where the sea met the beach.  It wasn’t swimming or flying, it was floating. 

The bird couldn't move its feet, mouth or wings. Seeing the bird in distress, Anni approached the bird and noticed that the bird was tangled in fishing line.  Anni didn't have a knife or scissors, so she asked around for something to get it off.  A man came to help her and said he would get the number for Native Animal Rescue.  He ran up to Save Our Shores sign at the entrance of the beach, got the number and called for help. 

With the animal rescue's advice, they carefully picked up the bird and cut off the fishing line with a car key.  Then got all the line off released bird, they stayed and watched if it would fly.  

"You could see the bird had been harmed by this fishing line for a while, once it was off, it slowly stretched it's wings and was very wobbly and confused on it's feet trying to walk away."  said Anni.

The bird didn't make it very far and didn't look in good health.  They decided to take the advice from the Native Animal Rescue and capture the bird to bring it in.  With a towel to cover the bird and a cardboard box to transport it, the man took the bird to the rehab center.

Anni never got the name of the man who helped her rescue the bird.  Mysteriously, just a few weeks ago, she saw the man walking his dog at the exact same place they had met back in November.  Excited, she asked what happened to the bird.  The man said he took bird to animal rescue and they said it would have a good chance of recovering.  

This story had a very happy ending, but many birds don't have the same fate.  Birds are being found more frequently tangled in fishing line in Santa Cruz and Monterey.  This is a good reminder to fishermen to collect fishing line and not let it go.

March 24, 2014

SOS Hopes to Rescue Panther Beach

If you aren't familiar with Panther Beach, we recommend you go there soon!  It is a Santa Cruz north county beach that is beautiful but consistently trashed.  SOS recently began hosting regular monthly cleanups at Panther Beach to increase awareness and get people involved in keeping the beach clean.  SOS is hoping that these regular cleanups will lead to a well managed and cared for beach.

SOS has been running beach cleanups at Panther beach for over 10 years.  In 2013 alone, beach cleanup volunteers collected over 1,000 pounds of trash.  Because of the immense amount of trash, Panther Beach is one of SOS’ Top 10 Hotspots for 2014.

Starting on January 26th, SOS began running monthly beach cleanups at Panther Beach on the 4th Sunday of each month from 9am-11am.  SOS also installed a sign at the beach offering trash bags to beach-goers to incentivize them to keep the beach pristine.  The second beach cleanup on February 23rd yielded 150 pounds of trash in just two hours! Volunteers were feeling successful in their efforts but then on February 24th, the day after the cleanup, the sign was stolen along with the box containing trash bags.  SOS made these trash bags available in an effort to make it easier for people to pack out their trash with the lack of trash cans at the beach.  SOS is trying to work with State Parks and Caltrans to place a dumpster in the parking lot but until then trash bags were intended to help the situation.

What can we do to bring this beach back to its glory days?

“This is a new approach for SOS to focus on Hotspots as our goal for 2014 instead of just aiming to increase the total number of cleanups we do overall.  We led 280 cleanups in 2013 and after analyzing our data to see which were the dirtiest places, we decided to give those 10 locations extra attention this year,” said Laura Kasa, Executive Director of SOS.

If you are interested in helping to keep Panther Beach clean, please join SOS on the 4th Sunday of each month from 9am-11am.  The sign that was stolen will be replaced in the next month and will hopefully stand for much longer to help keep this beach clean.

March 21, 2014

Living Plastic Free: Challenge Accepted

Let’s play a game.

The rules: ten minutes without touching some form of plastic.

Items that are made out of plastic are off limits, but so is everything that’s wrapped in plastic! Think long and hard about what you’re reaching for… Go ahead, try! Don’t let this game fool you for the struggle is real my friends!

If after ten minutes you have found yourself standing in the middle of your room frozen and completely overwhelmed by what you can and cannot touch, congratulations! You’ve probably just had a startling realization about the amount of plastic in your own home. Take a seat and breathe deeply for a minute or two as you try to rationalize the situation at hand.

Photo: Julia Ewan, Washington Post

Plastic is everywhere, it is practically impossible to go ten minutes without finding it. Cell phones, computers, cars, packaged food items from the grocery store and even the clothes we wear are all related to plastic.
After evaluating our own 2013 environmental footprint we found a few areas that need improvement. Volunteers and employees at Save Our Shores noticed that the most common sources of plastic within the organization were single-use gloves, garbage bags, water bottles, utensils (plastic/bio-plastic), and packaging (food/supplies).

Recognizing our role as part of the plastic consumption problem is the first step towards finding a solution.

Through our actions we hope to not only motivate ourselves in becoming environmental leaders, but to inspire and encourage environmental responsibility in others as well!

List of Common Plastic Slip Ups:
Plastic bags
Plastic bottles
Plastic utensils
Plastic food packaging
Plastic dishes
Plastic tablecloth
Plastic straws
Zip ties

List of Plastic Alternatives:
Reusable cloth bags
Reusable water bottles
Reusable utensils
Food stored in glass containers, cloth bags, or reusable containers
Glass, ceramic, stainless steel dishes
Cloth tablecloth
No straws preferred. Paper straws if necessary
Twine from natural fiber

-Bronti Patterson
UCSC Environmental Studies 2014 and Lead Program and Outreach Intern for SOS

March 19, 2014

Santa Cruz Warriors Take on Seabright Beach

What do you get when you mix the Santa Cruz Warriors with 250 volunteers?  

135 pounds of trash!

On the morning of March 15th, the Santa Cruz Warriors basketball team traded in their jerseys for bright yellow "I (heart) Clean Beaches" t-shirts and came to Seabright Beach to meet up with 250 screaming fans!

The volunteers were split into 6 groups and each team had 2 Warriors players to help them out.

After a quick safety talk, the teams were off and running to try to collect the most trash to win some great prizes.  

The teams picked up everything from cigarette butts and bottle caps to a water logged tire! Each team piled up their trash onto their team's tarp and Mav'riks went around to judge each team's bounty.

It was a hard decision, but the call was finally made to crown Team 3 as the winners! They deserved it after hauling a huge tire back to their tarp from across the beach! 

All of the trash totaled up to 137 pounds! 
535 cigarette butts
1328 Styrofoam pieces
1096 plastic pieces
158 plastic straws or stirrers
257 plastic bottle caps

Here is a video by Left Coast Digital from the event: 

March 7, 2014

Mount Madonna's 5th Grade Class is Classroom of the Year!!

Save Our Shores is proud to announce the
 Classroom of the Year!

This year it goes to a very dedicated and enthusiastic class of 5th graders at Mount Madonna School and teachers Jessica Campbell and Nate Rockhold.

Here are just a few of the reasons they were chosen:

  • Every year they choose an environmental issue to focus on and create a movie and raise money for a solution, last year they made a movie on Condors called "Let the Condors Fly, Not Die."  This year their movie was called "Don't Be A Nurdle, Save the Sea Turtle" and focused on three main issues and solutions (harvesting turtles for things we don't need, bycatch and sustainable seafood, plastics and waste reduction).  

  • Teachers Jessica Campbell and Nate Rockhold are very passionate about teaching their students about the new California State Marine Reptile, the Leatherback Sea Turtle and were even asked to be a part of the first Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Summit.

  • The students presented at a Scotts Valley City Council meeting supporting a plastic bag ban.  20 fifth graders pooled their public comment so they could collectively present their research project on sea turtles and plastic pollution to encourage the city council to put the bag ban on their next agenda.

  • They participate regularly in beach cleanups and joined us for our recent cleanup at Palm Beach in Santa Cruz.

  • The class did a science experiment to test how long it takes bioplastics to break down and if they are a good alternative to single use plastics.  They then presented findings at their fundraiser and spread the word about bio plastics not being all they cracked up to be.

  • The students volunteered at the Amore Our Shores event last month and dressed up in costumes made from recycled plastic trash.  They even got on the KSBW news and tested out games and artwork created by UCSC SPARC art students.
  • They created "Stow it Dont Throw It" containers to pass out to boaters to collect used fishing line! How innovative!

Thank you Mount Madonna 5th graders for your passion for the ocean and your strive to spread the word about being a part of the solution to pollution!

March 5, 2014

Save Our Shores Seeks Sanctuary Stewards

Are you passionate about ocean conservation?  

Do you want to get involved with Save Our Shores at a higher level?

We have an event for YOU!

We will be holding a Sanctuary Stewards docent training next Thursday, March 13th from 5:40pm to 9:00pm at our office in the Santa Cruz Harbor.

This hands-on training will teach you how to lead a beach or river cleanup and educate the public on pollution prevention.  Following this training is a beach cleanup on Saturday where you will put your training into effect.   Sanctuary Stewards are the backbone of Save Our Shores, if you want to be part of the team, this is the training for you.

"When I prioritized volunteering last year and began researching local non-profit organizations, Save Our Shores was a natural fit. After a full year on the team, beach clean-ups are only part of what I’ve done with Save Our Shores, but so far it’s been the most fulfilling. Seeing the smiles, community spirit and watching bag after bag, pound after pound of trash and recyclables removed from my playground is the best feeling there is."
- Nancy Connelly, Sanctuary Steward Class of 2011

The training will be held at the Save Our Shores office at 345 Lake Ave. Suite A in the Santa Cruz Harbor.  The training will run from 5:30pm-9:00pm, it is a quick crash course, but a great leap into becoming an integral part of Save Our Shores.

For more information, please contact Marina Maze, Program Coordinator at Save Our Shores at 831-462-5660 Ex. 2 or  You can always find us on the web at

February 14, 2014

Cigarette Butts get the Boot!

Local SOS Beachkeeper Takes Action Against Cigarette Butt Litter

Sienna White Gets Bait Tanks Installed near Pleasure Point

SOS announces the installation of cigarette butt receptacles along the Pleasure Point walkway.  These three receptacles, called “Bait Tanks” were installed because of one very determined SOS Beachkeeper who has collected thousands of cigarette butts in the area.  Cigarette butts are the number one trash item collected at beach and river cleanups worldwide, this simple solution can have a large impact on our trash stream making its way into the ocean.  

Sienna White is a SOS Sanctuary Steward and SOS Beachkeeper who decided to take the problem of the overwhelming amount of cigarette butt litter into her own hands.  Every week from March to December she walked the Pleasure Point to The Hook pathway and picked up over 4,400 cigarette butts!  The record amount was 174 in just one day. Her reflection on her work has been eye-opening, "Cigarette butts are so common people don't see them anymore. I would like to challenge everyone to look down on the ground, anywhere that people go, for five minutes and you will see the source of my inspiration.”

SOS volunteers have collected over 466,000 cigarette butts since 2007.  The average amount of cigarette butts per cleanup has gone from 430 in 2012 to 290 in 2013 showing a large decrease in recent months.  With more and more smoking bans and Bait Tanks being installed around town, we can predict that this number will continue to fall.  “We are so grateful for our volunteers like Sienna who are helping us work on the problem of cigarette butt litter. We thank our community for using these Bait Tanks to help address this most pervasive form of litter,” says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of SOS.

These Bait Tanks have been shown to be very effective.  In 2011, SOS installed 18 Bait Tanks in Santa Cruz and Capitola and monitored the amount of cigarette butt litter before and after the installation.  On average in Santa Cruz, there was a 70% decrease in littered butts in our 9 monitored locations and an 80% decrease in our 9 Capitola monitored locations.  We hope this example of strong citizen action and creating change will spread throughout our community. 

For more information, please contact Laura Kasa, Executive Director at Save Our Shores at (917) 664-7066 or  You can always find us on the web at

February 13, 2014

The Secret History of the Monterey Bay-Event on February 26th

Public Lecture about the changes the Monterey Bay faces and how Marine Protected Areas can help

 Save Our Shores (SOS) and the Sanctuary Exploration Center (SEC) invites you to dive deep beneath the Monterey Bay with local author and prize winning photographer, Marc Shargel, reveals the Secret History of the Monterey Bay on February 26th from 5:30pm-9pm. Shargel will share his photography collected from over 35 years of diving off the California Coast. Through historic photos and his own stunning imagery, Shargel will illustrate a little-known chronicle of human use and human impact upon the life in Monterey Bay. Based on his recently published booklet, Yesterday’s Ocean: A History of Marine Life on California’s Central Coast, he will tell the stories of fish from sharks to sardines, and creatures from abalone to otters.

Since before the Mission era, Californians have depended on their ocean for food, jobs, recreation, and more. Our use of marine life has rarely been planned, and only recently the state of California has begun to understand the ecological consequences of over use.  Shargel worked hard with other local stakeholders and scientists to get our local Marine Protected Areas formed in 2007.  Similar to parks on land protect special lands and wildlife from overdevelopment, these underwater parks preserve California’s stunning marine ecosystems for future generations to observe and enjoy.  The first of its kind in the nation, these areas have been called ‘hope spots’ because they are our best hope in restoring the beauty and bounty of ocean life threatened by overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction.  Shargel believes these Marine Protected Areas will make a huge difference for our marine life and he will have the pictures to prove it!

“We are so excited to have Marc Shargel join us at the SEC. His work is incredible and really instills a sense of inspiration and stewardship for our unique Monterey Bay.” said Marina Maze, Program Coordinator at Save Our Shores.

This is a free event at the Sanctuary Exploration Center on Wednesday February 26th. Light beverages and finger foods will be served, please bring your own cup, plate and utensil to help us make this a zero waste event. Not only is this an opportunity to learn more about Santa Cruz and our amazing coastline, it opens the doors to get involved with Save Our Shores and the Sanctuary Exploration Center on a deeper level. From 5:30-6:30pm SOS and SEC staff invites you to learn more about the Docent Program at the SEC and the Sanctuary Steward Program with SOS. Doors open at 5:30pm, with the lecture beginning at 6:30. The lecture will conclude with a question and answer period and book signing with Shargel.

For more information, please contact Marina Maze, Program Coordinator at Save Our Shores at (831) 462-5660 x2 or  You can always find us on the web at