The End to a Great Year!

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It is a bittersweet ending as we say goodbye to our hardworking interns! The meetings might be over but the memories won’t be forgotten! Check out what our students accomplished this past year…

During the 2015-2016 school year EarthTeam successfully led an internship program at Oakland High School. Students engaged with their school through classroom presentations, continuing to run the bin monitoring program during lunch, hosting litter cleanups at Lake Merritt and Oakland High, and tabling throughout the year. 13 students successfully completed the marine debris themed internship this year.

Interns met once a week with their campus coordinator Christina McGhee-Esquivel once a week throughout the year after school on Wednesdays in a classroom on Oakland High School campus as well as once a month as various Saturday field events or outings.

Education and Outreach:

In the classroom, students learned about marine debris, their local watershed, and litter. Students learned how to collect, analyze, and utilize the data they collected to launch their litter reduction projects. After completing the first month of intensive litter collection, interns divided into groups to identify one specific litter type they would task themselves with reducing with their year long project.

In semester one, interns focused on reduction through education. Students completed various outreach events, including tabling on campus, in class presentations, and litter cleanup at lake Merritt. These outreach events continued in semester two where they completed tabling at the annual EarthExpo for the city of Oakland, student hosted on campus cleanups as well as through weekly pickups at their adopted litter site near their campus.

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Service Learning Project:

For their service learning project, they decided to highlight the trash cans near their school as a way to get community members and their peers to use the trash cans located near the bus stops. After getting permissions from the City of Oakland, students created an art competition to recruit the whole school to participate in the process. After they collected art submissions and selected winners, students began the trash can mosaic project.

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Interns presented their work to the Keep Oakland Beautiful Board at Oakland City Hall, sharing their expertise with the board and offering recommendations for Keep Oakland Beautiful to get more youth to engage with their beautification events around Oakland.

Student Quotes:

In the final weeks of the internship, students reflected on their challenges and successes from the year. Some of the highlights included getting to meet new interns at EarthTeam field outings, completing outreach in the community, and learning how their work can make a difference, and learned to collaborate together to reach a common goal.

“I learned to cooperate with my teammates to make this project work” – Zanin D. on Trash Can Art Project

“Urban runoff is a serious problem because it affects the marine life that’s around us.” – Angela Ma on most important takeaway from the Trash Can Art Project

“My role in the campus cleanup was to talk about safety. I worked with my team to engage participants by naming off examples of things that shouldn’t pick up and what they should do if they come across those items. One major skill I developed from the cleanup was leadership. I had to speak up and make sure people understood because safety was a critical part of our event.” – Lizbeth M.

“My role in campus cleanup was to be in charge of materials for picking up litter. I divided the team into two groups and handed out the supplies to them. The major skill that I developed was being in charge of all the supplies and making sure that they were all turned in at the end, One thing I’m proud of is seeing out teamwork during the event. One improvement we can make is having more time on our cleanup and going to the lake to cleanup.” – Zanin D.

“Some of the highlights I experienced were meeting new people and learning about non-profit organizations, what they do for the Earth and our community. Something I took away from this great experience was being able to share what I and other high school students do with EarthTeam and our accomplishments. I also love what others are doing for the Earth.” – Wendy C.

“I think it’s good to gain experience working in teams and collaborating to get a job done”  – Tamia P.
“I was a volunteer throughout the program but I didn’t feel as if I wasn’t as important as the interns. I did everything else as the other interns. I think following through with the program gave me integrity because I wasn’t just looking forward to 400 dollars at the end. ” – Benjamin S.

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Special thank you to all of our interns and volunteers for their leadership, service, and stewardship. Best of luck on your future endeavors!

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