Hi there, I’m Natalie Guerboian, Special Education teacher here at Newcastle Elementary school, which participated in Kids Ocean Day 2010. It was a first time experience for me and my students, as I am a first year teacher. It was something special to see thousands of students coming together to help keep our oceans clean.

A few of my students were amazed to see the amount of trash left behind and washed up on the beach. They really enjoyed picking up the trash and having an impact on cleaning up a small part of our coastline. The experience of cleaning the beach taught them why it is important to recycle and throw away trash. I enjoyed watching their debates and reasoning as to why one item should or should not be recycled.

As one of my students said, “Ms. Guerboian, why is it so hard for people to just throw their trash in the trash cans?” It is so true. There is trash and recycling bins conveniently available for us, therefore there is no excuse for not properly dispensing trash.

I would like to see beach clean-ups take place more often, but that doesn’t mean we should only clean on “clean-up” days. My students and I witnessed how simple it is to clean up a beach. All you need is a garbage bag! We shouldn’t have to wait to be told to clean up; we should just do it ourselves.

When kids participate in these hands-on events, I feel it gives them a firsthand experience and a positive influence. In addition, they have a sense of accomplishment where they can say, “Hey, I’ve just saved a dolphin’s life by recycling that coke can”. My students and the rest of the millions of children out there are our future. They need to be aware about the effects of marine debris on animals. They need to utilize the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) in their everyday life.

This planet is our home and it is our responsibility to maintain its beauty and care for it on a daily basis.

Natalie Guerboian is a first-year special education teacher at Newcastle Elementary School. Her classroom was one of the hundreds of such that participated in Kids Ocean Day, bringing the total number of students who attended the annual clean-up event at close to 4,000. Below you can see a video of Natalie talking about her and her students’ experience.