A pair of middle school students recently shared their passion for protecting the oceans and beaches with an unlikely crowd: a group of 100 third graders.
Lauren Fishman of Newport Beach and Jamie Ostmann of Rosmoor, both eight graders at The Pegasus School in Huntington Beach, spoke to the younger students at Village View Elementary School.
The girls spoke about marine pollution and ways to protect the oceans and beaches.
They collaborated with the Huntington Beach/Seal Beach Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and students from Golden West College to develop the presentation.
The team’s goal was to educate, excite, and bring awareness about the importance of preserving the world’s oceans and beaches.
The assembly also included a question and answer session, with reusable water bottles and Surfrider t-shirts awarded to students who answered correctly. All of the third grade students also received a Surfrider reusable shopping bag, sticker and a beach cleanup schedule for this year.
The Pegasus girls and Pam Conti, director of environmental sustainability at the school, were also selected by the Algalita Marine Research Institute to attend the Plastic Ocean Pollution Solution (POPS) Youth Speaker Training on Nov. 3.
“Plastic, it’s everywhere,” Ostmann said in a video she submitted to the youth summit. “It fills our oceans and destroys our ecosystems.”
It can be deadly to plants, animals, and even humans, Ostmann said. “And yet, so many people are unaware of the vast magnitude of this plastic problem.”
The presentation at Village View also included information from the POPS event and Surfrider material.
Fishman and Ostmann are part of a middle school lunchtime club at Pegasus, the Algalita Marine Pollution Youth Team. As one of their projects for the club, the students collected marine debris at Seal Beach and analyzed it. From their results, they are creating a waste characterization study to present to the Seal Beach City Council.
Both students are very passionate about educating others about this topic.
“I am committed to help solve this problem,” Ostmann said. “And the first step is making people aware. Let’s work together to find a solution to ocean pollution.”