Reflecting on the Litter March

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One of the most important parts of planning a big event is reflection and celebration! Interns did just that for the follow up meeting where they discussed the challenges, successes and overall pros and cons of their event!

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Not only were we celebrating a great event, but it also happen to be Jenna’s birthday. Interns enjoyed pizza and brought their own snacks and goodies for a surprise celebration! It was a great day taking a bit of a mental break to think about the event, the year, and to just be together.

Here is what our interns had to say!

1. Do you think the Litter March was an effective way to spread awareness about Litter issues in Oakland? 

Litter Marches are a pretty effective way to spread environmental awareness because of the attention it attracts, the more audience it attracts, the more people are forced to face the problem. It also brings people together, but again, one litter march can only go so far, many creates a force.” – Cai 

“People saw us out there doing good things, and we took up their thoughts for at least two seconds. Some idea in their head that we should pick up our trash and look how much there is.” – Marie 

Yes, because it is visible to the people who are walking or driving by. For some of the neighbors, they can also see us through their windows. It also inspires young children like the ones who were looking at us.” – Chuyi

2. What did our team do well when presenting? How can we improve?

We got each others back if we get stuck or loss words. They’ll come in and help us finish the sentences.” -Huong 

“What we did well as a team was that we stood together and spoke loud and proud about what we were doing and why were doing this” – Peter 

3. What was your favorite part of the March?

My favorite part was meeting people who also cared about the environment and the fact that our chants attracted a lot of people (especially cars honking)” – Cai

Picking up the trash and seeing it go into the bag. Knowing from then on.. it won’t be floating around on our streets.” – Marie 

“My favorite part was planning for the march, working on flyers and brochures. Also making the signs.” -Julian 

I got to meet new people and work together with them during the Litter March. Also, the fact that a lot of people honked at us shows that they care. Some were even cheering outside their car window.” – Peter 

4. Was the day what you expected? Better or worse and why? 

“What I expected was for it to be boring. It was actually not boring at all, it was cool and I had lots of fun.” – Itzel 

5. Give three words to describe the Litter March?

“Enthusiastic, Joyful, Earthy” – Itzel 

A step forward” – Cai 

Fantastic, Awesome, Powerful” – Peter 

“Fun, exciting, empowering” – Brianna

6. What advice would you give next year’s interns about planning and implementing the Litter March?

Practice, practice, practice! Practice before you speak in front of the group. Focus on how fun it is, but now how dirty you are!” – Chuyi 

“Choose a location where people will notice and see the March, know and rehearse your speeches, and invite your family & friends because it will be more fun and you can teach them about environmental awareness.” 

“Just try to get as many people to go as possible, spread the word to your friends and classes if you can. Don’t make TOO many signs, half weren’t used. Get multiple megaphones, the march is too big for everyone to hear one chant in different spots.” -Nicole

Be ready to meet new people and be communicating with each other. Work together.” – Peter 

Thanks for reading! 



Interns connect people to nature with trail work!

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On Sunday, Feb 26th interns partnered up with Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) for a Trail Crew work day. Joined by over 20 community members, interns worked on repairing and restoring the trails of Dimond Creek Park by widening the trail, removing invasive’s, leveling ground, and more.

Interns experienced many firsts such as; scaling a wooden blank to get over the creek, trying the native minors lettuce, seeing poison oak, holding a salamander and much more!

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Interns learned about how protecting the creek is essential for its well-being and the well-being of the creatures that depend on it, like the Steelhead/Rainbow Trout. Interns will be conducting pre/post surveys in this same area for FOSC so it was a great opportunity to get familiar with the scene!

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Overall, interns enjoyed their time outdoors doing something completely new! It was another great reminder of how much you can get done in a team setting, as well as how great it feels to just get your hands dirty! Keep our trails beautiful is how we can continue to connect our community with their nextdoor nature, fostering a relationship and personal responsibility to take pride and take care of our environment.


Interns lead the 2nd Annual Litter March!

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The purpose of this Litter March was to raise awareness of litter and the effects it has on our environment. To plan it out, we spent a few meetings heading out to possible Litter March locations to see if the route was safe, highly visible, and acceptable for our event. The first route was up park blvd, it didn’t work out since the crossings were a bit unsafe for a large group. The second route (Josie de la Cruz) was much better. Once the route was finalized, we made flyers and brochures to let people know what it was all about and encourage them to come. We also made scripts, translated them and made posters to hold up at the event.

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Written By: Peter, Itzel, Julian, Sophie

Day Off: 

The Litter march was a very successful event. Together, we collected over 3,000+ of litter and gave a very informative presentation to more than a 100 people.

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Some challenges we have faced was a miscommunication between trash pickers and trackers because pickers did not call out the trash they have picked up to the trackers.To overcome this challenge, we ran to different groups and asked people what they have picked up.

Our favorite parts of the day include trash picking, having children inquire about what we were doing, car honking, our trash lady (Trash Lady: Brittany in a painters suit with trash stuck to her), and seeing the after effect of our clean up. We were surprised at how friendly and enthusiastic people were and it was very meaningful to inform community members of what we were trying to accomplish. Our biggest takeaway is that we are a small change that is part of a bigger movement that influences the world. We realized how much trash is in our creek and how vastly different places looked after we cleaned up the areas. We have also realized that individual work is fast but teamwork goes far.

Written By: Cai, Marie, Huong, Chuyi, Nicole, Brianna

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Watershed Education with Julia!


For the past 3 weeks, Oakland High school was visited by Julia Dorosh, Program Associate for Earth Team and Campus Coordinator for Pinole, Antioch and Alameda High Earth Teams. Julia is an expert in watersheds, and provided Oakland High interns with 3 weeks worth of interactive, hands-on activities to educate interns about watersheds, species (native vs invasive), as well as human impacts and how litter relates to the new curriculum. 

Here is a bit of what interns had to say about their time with Julia!

*Student Blog*

Meeting One: What is a Watershed? 

Objective- Interns will be able to define and describe what a watershed is, examine maps to trace the path that water travels from their local waterway to SF Bay, and determine what kind of pollutions water picks up as it travels over different land surfaces.

January 25 was a day of many firsts. The first time the Oakland High (Earth Team) interns met Julia as part of a coordinator exchange program between schools. The first time many of us had even heard the word “watershed”. The first time I had the opportunity to drown a drawing of me with water from a spray bottle.

A watershed, as we learned that day, is an area of land where all of the water that flows into it drains off to a common outlet. That common outlet, more often than not, is the ocean. One would think it useful to know the basics of watershed-ology, at least if you live in sunny California, considering that watersheds make up 40% of our state. I mean, personally, I think not knowing 40% of your home could get downright inconvenient.

A watershed is important to the environment and our survival and we must become more educated about our watershed in order to preserve it. For example, we learned that the most common pollutant that makes it into the watershed, and therefore our water supply, is urban runoff. Runoff is rainwater that flows over the streets collecting all sorts of chemicals and litter as it makes its way to the nearest body of water before eventually ending up in the ocean.

Our favorite part of the day, by majority vote, was when we were instructed to draw on sheets of paper as part of a watershed simulation activity. Strangely enough, both I and another intern by the name of Cai chose to draw me (Bryant). Odd that we both wanted to drown illustrations of me.

Learning about watersheds after spending weeks on waste sorting and waste audits was a learning experience. Though I wouldn’t exactly call it challenging, the part of the meeting which required the most work was reading and answering questions about a dense packet full of information about, among other things, estuaries, wetlands and endangered animals.

Overall Meeting Rating: 11 Cliff bars

Written By: Bryant, Cai, and Marie

Meeting Two: Species & Natives

Objective: Interns will be able to draw and construct their own local watershed, understand the definitions and differences between non-native, invasive, and native species, and be able to identify the types of habitats these species reside.

In this meeting we got to know the difference between a non native, native, and invasive species. It’s very important to know this so we could identify the difference between different species, which is harmful and which helps. One individual creature might not be a huge difference, but a lot of them together can have a major negative impact on our environment. When Julia was here, we earned what species are native, invasive, and non native, how to make sure our watershed is clean,  and how we can protect the environment. Our favorite part was drawing animals, searching animal types and drawing maps.

Working with Julia was cool and insightful. It was great to learn about something else and how it tie into what we were learning before. What was challenging was drawing the map and figuring out where things are.

I’m surprised about how water is able to impact the environment in such a way that animals are becoming extinct. This made me want to do something to improve the state we are in now so all these lives on earth could stay.

Written By: Julian, Sophie, Chuyi  

Meeting Three: Human Impacts

Objective: Interns will understand human impacts on watersheds and test the physical and chemical parameters of water samples from local waterways.

During the final meeting we collected samples of water from Lake Merritt, run of water drain and tap water. We used expensive and professional equipments to run test on the water such as PH levels, oxygen, temperature, conductivity, salinity and more. We found  the water to be surprisingly clean and potable, and it was important for us to tell us what to drink.

This taught us that a lot of the water wasted in storm drains can be reused instead of being wasted. And tap water actually has high PH level, which was surprisingly and not what we expect it to be, but we can still be able to drink it. Our favorite part was when we tested the water. It felt very educational, fun and cool. We felt like nothing was challenging because Julia was very helpful and explained to us every detail. 

Written By: Britany, Huong, Peter, Itzel

Thank you Julia for educating our Oakland High students about the importance of Watersheds! Check back as we begin to prep for our upcoming Litter March.


Women in Science, a day full of empowerment!

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On Friday, Jan 27th Oakland High and Oakland Tech female interns joined together to spend the day with the Clorox Company for their Women In Science event. The day consisted of an all female scientist panel, tour of the laboratory, and a screening of the new hit movie Hidden Figures!

Our team, of all young women, had an amazing time, and are extremely grateful to have had the experience with the Clorox Company. Here is just a bit about what our OH Interns had to say:

“The visit to the Clorox research and development facility was an eye opening experience. Meeting all the female scientists and researchers really inspire me as a female and a student in a male-dominated society. Their stories and the stories from the movie “Hidden Figures” created a connection among all the female students there, especially minority female students. They inspired in us a powerful force to pursue our dreams and reminded us that we can be whoever we want to be. As a female, we encounter more difficulties than males. There is always a gender stereotype that females are not as competent as males and it is hard to overcome that ideology. But when we find role models and real life examples of females who have overcome the almost impossible, we know that we can too and that there is a reason to give our best fight. The most important lesson that I learned from that community of female scientists and from the stories of the women behind NASA’s launches is that success is achieved by effort and there are no limits to the world in which we cannot transcend.” – Cai 

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“Hidden Figures. This was a movie about black women who worked at NASA and one was a math genius, one wanted so badly to be the first black woman engineer, and another was a great leader, able to fix any machine, and very smart as well. These three women didn’t get the title that they deserved and they were not treated how they deserved because they were black women. At the end they all got what they deserved, leader and worker on machines, the next became the first African-American woman engineer, and the final was the smartest math genius in NASA. This movie shows to me that if you work hard for something you can get it no matter who you are inside or out and I really enjoyed it.

This was basically everything from the Clorox Company trip with Earth Team and other women/girls. I do not want to ever forget this trip and I want to be able to share my experience with other people (and show them all my notes). I hope I will get the opportunity to tour The Clorox Company again sometime in my future.” – Brianna

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“I got to hear so many experiences about other people. Somehow , it helped increase my confidence. I really admire these women who shared their experiences with us. The women were so cool and they gave us useful advice.

The movie was really fun and inspiring. Seeing how hard these 3 women worked for their own goals and what they believed in makes me want to do that too. Since I start joining this program, I go around a lot and get to learn a lot of new things. I hope that we will continue having many events for both girls and boys, so that we can come together and learn.” – Huong

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“As we did the Q&A, I was very happy to know that women can still do things even with our new president taking our rights away. It made me feel good. As we explored new surroundings like factories, I felt really good to be there and see my options as a women. When we were learning about their projects, I felt like my life has been expanded. I was grateful to be accepted to go. This field trip made me feel confident and worth something. It is a day I will never forget. EVER.” – Sophie 

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“I know it’s a all white school. But listen, they are trying to fly a man to the moon there, they need people, and they need exact calculations. And we, are ready. But to apply for that, I need to go to college, with all the white men. I don’t wish to be, but I have to be the first. And out of all the cases you take today, your honor. Which would make you the first?” –Hidden Figures

It only took less than a minute for her to say those words, but it will last in my heart for a lifetime…. they continued to thrive, and proved their ability with their actions, and finally gained the approval from the others. If I would to put this experience into five words, it would be: Impressional, Inspirational, Educational, Memorable, and…Powerful.” – Chuyi 

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“Having the opportunity to go to the Clorox company was such a privilege and honor. We got to meet female scientist from all kinds of places and ethnic backgrounds. It was very inspiring to be able to meet scientist who looked like me or came from the same background as I did, with challenges of their own that they overcame. Some of the most motivating obstacles the scientist faced were coming from different countries or Continents, having to work 2-3 jobs to pay for their education or misogynist discrimination in order to do what made them happy.  

My favorite part of the day was getting to see Hidden Figures. I had already seen it, but for some reason the movie was more powerful being surrounded by accomplished scientists and future successful women. Watching a movie about powerful woman who had to scrape and fight for what they wanted to pave a way for the future generations, and to be surrounded by those future generations was so…life changing. I will never forget my time at the Clorox company because they made me feel intelligent and like anything is possible, they made everyone feel like they were the next successful scientist and I’ll forever be a Clorox customer” – Itzel 

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“When they shared their stories about who they are, where they come from and how they became successful, I was very shocked and inspired. I was shocked because I thought it was not possible, especially being someone of color. I thought that my chances to be someone important were limited. I was also inspired because seeing so many women of color who were constantly being pushed down racially by not just men, but by other women. It inspired me to believe in myself and to also follow my dreams. After seeing the movie Hidden Figures, I left home with a brand new perspective. I am determined to not let anyone push me down while I am trying to reach my dreams.” – Kelly

Special thank you again to the Clorox Company for creating opportunity for these young women! 






SUJA fuels Oakland High’s Litter Walk!

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On January 11th, Interns piled into the van to go investigate the second proposed route for our upcoming Litter March. Interns were visited by Kailyn Topper, Lead Brand Ambassador for SUJA a healthy, delicious, organic juice company based out of San Diego.

SUJA juice was the perfect treat for our interns to fuel them on their 3 mile litter pick up through the streets of Oakland. Just as last time, interns were keeping an eye out for 3 main things: group safety, traffic, and density of litter.

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Interns collected over 500+ pieces of litter from the walk, were thanked by multiple community members along the way (whom also received a personal invite to our March), and enjoyed the open space of the sidewalk compared to our last route. Needless to say, we had a 100% consensus that this 2nd route is much better suited for our upcoming Litter March.

It was a great opportunity having interns critically think about what aspects should be considered when planning the big community engagement event. Now that we have the site selected its time to start inviting our friends, family, and community!

If you would like to learn more about the Litter March and how you can be a part of it, please email .

Special thanks again to Kailyn and the SUJA company for being the extra fuel our interns needed to complete this amazing work! 

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Interns kick off 2nd Semester with Litter Walk through the streets of Oakland!


On January 4th, Oakland High interns joined together again after a much needed winter break. The meeting started with high’s from the time off, a comical discussion of where the mid-semester stipends went to, and a discussion on the day’s main outcomes.

OUTCOME 1: Collect data at various locations, implement solutions to address a specific litter issue, and evaluate successes.

OUTCOME 2: Lead activities and events with the community that raise awareness about the impacts waste has on our environment.

During meeting interns went on a Litter Walk, picking up litter and tracking it with NOAA’s Marine Debris Tracker App. The specific route that was taken is one of the proposed routes for our upcoming LITTER MARCH, coming soon in March of 2017. The LITTER MARCH will be a big day where interns, students, and community members join together to bring awareness about the impacts litter has on our environment.


In addition to picking up litter, interns walked through the streets of Oakland keeping in mind the three main criteria for the perfect route.

1. Is this route a safe walking area for a group? 

2. Does the route have good visibility/is it heavily trafficked? 

3. Does this route have a lot of trash along the way? 

Minus a bit of detour caused by a wrong turn, the walk was great and it was nice to get outside (even if it was a bit rainy). We jotted down some notes and will be making a final decision on the walking route as we prepare to take on Route #2 during our next meeting!


Interns finish of the year with a visit to the Altamont Landfill!

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To finish of the year, Oakland High interns piled into the van and headed to the Altamont Landfill, one of the biggest and most technologically advanced landfills in the nation. Joined by Sarah Fockler, Environmental Protection Specialist for Altamont Landfill Waste Management of Northern California, interns went on a driving tour of the 2,000 acre property.


Interns learned about the different ways the landfill is trying to minimize their impacts. For example, majority of the methane, one of the major greenhouse gases, that is produced by the landfill is processed and converted into fuel for the transportation trucks to lug trash from the cities, Oakland being one of the biggest contributors. It was an eye-opening experience seeing first hand how much waste our society produces, and although Waste Management of Northern California is making great efforts to be more sustainable, our team agreed that there is still much more work to be done.

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As we complete the year, there are now four 3-Bin System stations up and running at Oakland High School thanks to the work of our wonderful interns and the ESA Juniors. It feels good knowing that this year’s hard work is keeping out tons of recycling and compost that has previously has been headed straight to this landfill! We are looking forward to expanding our impact and diving into the community to bring awareness and provide solutions to make the city of Oakland litter free!

Here is what our interns had to say about the visit! 


“Today’s visit to the landfill really opened my eyes to the reality of our garbage situation and it’s impact on our environment. I am really surprised at how much land is used just for the purpose of our waste and garbage. I also got to witness and learn how intricate and detailed landfill garbage treatment is and how much regulations are necessary for this service. It makes me think about not taking things for granted and to be educated about everything.” -Cai

“Today showed me that I need to show my family how to do the three bin system, and we all need to work harder. We should buy more items that can be used over and over. It was really gross to me and I want to work more” -Sophie

“Todays trip to the landfill was awesome and fun. I was really mind-blown and couldn’t believe how big the landfill is. It was a unbelievable experience for me getting to see what an actual landfill looks like for the very first time.” -Peter

“On the field trip I learned that landfills handle way more then just trash like asbestos and cement. They also have lots of regulations to keep us safe” -Britany 

“To be honest I had motion sickness after the first fifteen minutes of driving. But it was overall really fun and interesting about the process waste was managed. Mostly about how the tires had to be shredded before they could be processed. And for some reason the birds really caught my attention while they were flocking around. I have a few photos of that actually. But I think the best part of the trip was going through the wash with the van because that gave me so much adrenaline from just sitting.” -Nicole

“It was my first time that I went to a landfill and it was so cool and fun. The person that went along with us was really kind and nice. I was amazed how many birds there were in the plastic bag area, and the fun part was when we had a van wash. I had never saw this much trashe in my entire life. I kinda hope that this landfill will never close because I want all kids and adults to know about these places. Thanks Earth Team for introducing me the largest landfill in California., and thanks Jenna for driving us there. I wish we will go again when that landfill opens a compost area like she said. I am glad I joined Earth Team because there are so many cool places that I never been to and because of Earth Team I can be able to visit them.” -Houng

Till next year! 



Interns help ESA Juniors launch 3-Bin Monitoring!

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Last week, Interns partnered up with ESA Juniors to kick off the year-long, ongoing lunch time monitoring of the four 3-Bin Stations at Oakland High. It was a bit crowded, but it was nice to gain the monitoring perspective and give constructive feedback to Juniors to help ensure a successful 3-Bin system.

Here are some of the recommendations OH Interns had for ESA Juniors:

* Places some of the bins in a busier location. 

* Have everyone sign in at the end so no one leaves early. 

* Remember that soft plastics and utensils go in the landfill! 

* Let peers try to sort themselves before correcting them, so that they can learn.

* Remove some of the big landfill bins that are close to the stations, so students don’t avoid the 3-Bin stations.

Interns were asked if they thought Oakland High would pass their next waste audit now that Juniors are monitoring (passing means less than 10% contamination). Ten out of twelve interns think that Oakland High will pass their next audit, as long as the monitors stay focused and make sure their peers are properly separating!

Here is what some of our interns had to say: 

“I think Oakland High has the potential to pass, but only if they can still keep the knowledge of proper sorting in the back of their minds. If not, there’s no way.” -Katie

“I do not think they will pass because sometimes the juniors are not there to monitor for certain days (like today) so it is really hard to know if people learned or not.” –Cai

“I believe Oakland High will pass the next Waste Audit with the monitoring system in place, because they will get used to it and will just know it off their head” -Peter

We are looking forward to utilizes data collection and analyze to access and ensure progress of the 3-Bin System stations at Oakland High. Check us out next week as we wrap up the year brainstorming our new Service Learning Project to tackle waste issues in Oakland!