PLAYA DEL REY, CA—Confirming their commitment to protecting marine life, 5,000 area students and their teachers participated at the Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup and formed an aerial artwork in celebration of Kids Ocean Day. The event was hosted by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education, the California Coastal Commission, the City of Los Angeles, Keep Los Angeles Beautiful, and Whole Foods Market.

The day’s activities began with a program kick-off involving dignitaries, including: Michael Klubock of the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education; Sara Wan of the California Coastal Commission; Cynthia M. Ruiz of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works and Keep Los Angeles Beautiful; City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Director Enrique Zaldivar; Whole Foods Market marketing supervisor Lena Pereira; and actress and environmentalist Wendie Malick (Just Shoot Me!, Fraiser, Baywatch). Students picked up trash at the beach, and capped the day by forming a human mosaic that depicted the ocean and spelled “Sustain Life.” The message highlighted the connection between the health of oceans and human life, and also reflected the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goal to ensure environmental sustainability.

“The vitality of Los Angeles and the rest of our planet depends on the health of the ocean for the oxygen we breathe, the food that we eat, and a livable climate,” said Cynthia M. Ruiz, president of the Board of Public Works and chairman of Keep Los Angeles Beautiful. “Los Angeles kids understand the environmental and moral responsibility of caring for the ocean to which we are all connected, no matter how far inland we are. Let us follow their example and be active stewards of the ocean and the environment by starting in our own neighborhoods.”

Kids Ocean Day is celebrated at six other locations along the California coast, extending from Humboldt County to San Diego. The event honors World Ocean Day that will be celebrated globally on June 8.