Earth Team interns at Pinole Valley High School spent a sunny September afternoon conducting a litter assessment at their school’s campus. They teamed up and used the Marine Debris Tracker app to collect litter data to try and identify the biggest litter concern on their campus. Collectively the group picked up 798 pieces of litter in less than an hour!
After using the app, interns were able to see the direct impact of their efforts using the ZeroLitter Map. They realized how many plastic food wrappers end up on the ground instead of being disposed of properly in garbage bins. Many students expressed how alarming it was to have collected so many pieces of litter in such a short time.
Here’s what one student had to say about using the Marine Debris Tracker app:
“When me and other members were cleaning the school, the app itself was easy to use and really helped show us how much trash we picked up. I’ve never used the app before but it came in handy when doing a clean up for our community. Anybody who downloads the Marine Debris Tracker app has access to it for free. The majority of the things me and my peers picked up included candy wrappers, chip bags, and other plastics. The total litter collected from my group was 108 pieces. The app is called the “Marine Debris Tracker” because trash surrounded around us can still end up in the ocean. This activity inspires me to do more to help out my community since others won’t. Anyone can learn how to use the Marine Debris Tracker app because it’s simple and self-explanatory. The only trouble I had was categorizing a specific piece of trash on the list provided by the app, other than that it’s easy and very useful!”
-David Tran, Earth Team intern at Pinole Valley HS
Earth Team has returned to Pinole Valley High School this year! Itzel, this year’s campus coordinator, interviewed students at Pinole Valley High before narrowing candidate decisions down to 14 wonderful, hardworking interns.
This year Earth Team interns at Pinole Valley can expect to work on a variety of environmental and STEM projects focused on increasing the watershed quality of Pinole Creek. We will collaborate with project partners including Friends of Pinole Creek, the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, and the Contra Costa Flood Control District to increase community awareness of local environmental challenges.
Earth Team is making a comeback at Pinole High School! Program Manager, Jenna Topper, reached 150 students in 5 classes for early recruitment for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. This upcoming year, Earth Team will work with 14 paid-interns to reduce waste on and off campus, restore their local creek, and more! In addition to implementing awesome student led projects, interns will get the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor excursions including backpacking, river-rafting, mountain biking!
Students were introduced to the Earth Team program and got a feeling for what it is like to be an intern. After watching a video about waste, students learned how to use the Marine Debris Tracker App and discussed how the data is used to create meaningful impact. Then students quickly sprung into action!
Students finished out the day by collecting over 5,000+ pieces of litter on and around Pinole High campus. A total of 30+ applications were received and many students said it was the most fun they have every had in class!
If you are interested in applying for the Pinole Earth Team Sustainable Youth Program sign up at HERE .
Last week on Wednesday, April 29th, Pinole Valley High Earth Team interns led a Pinole Creek cleanup for students interested in making a positive impact. Nine students attended and partnered with an intern to collect the litter. Each litter item was entered into the ZeroLitter app, totaling to 348 pieces of litter. Interns turned the cleanup into a friendly competition for prizes donated by the local Jamba Juice. Winners successfully had the heaviest bags full of litter, and/or the highest quantity of litter which was determined using the ZeroLitter app. Interns and student volunteers had a great time, and inspired local community members who gave the students praise for their help! PVHS Earth Team interns will host another school-wide restoration event on April 19th. Students will have an opportunity to remove invasive species from the banks of Pinole Creek. All PVHS students are welcome, as well as any interested community members! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
PVHS interns are also accepting donations to install ashtrays at Pinole Creek, in order to prevent cigarette butts from entering the creek. Areas along the creek banks are known to be smoking hotspots, and students hope to provide smokers with a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of their finished cigarettes. If you would like to donate please go to Pinole Creek Ashtray Campaign, or mail your check donation to
Pinole Valley Earth Team is launching their first two school-wide events! Our goal is to educate and make a difference in our community. We plan to do so by hosting an invasive species removal event and creek clean up. During these past few months, Pinole Valley Earth team has acquired experience from various locations across the Bay Area, removing invasive species and conducting litter assessments. We are recruiting student volunteers and educating them on the importance of these events extensively through hands on experience.
The Pinole creek clean up, led by Sumbal Ghafoor, will be held on Wednesday March 29, 2017. In this event student volunteers will be aided by the Earth Team interns to pick up litter in and around our community. The next event is an invasive species removal, which is led by Allison Sugabo, held on April 19, 2017. In this event, students will be trained to identify and remove invasive plant species with the provided resources. With the help of our fellow volunteers we hope to see a positive change in our local community! lol(:
written by: Allison Sugabo, Angeline Cayanan, Jerlyn Nicdao
This past month, Pinole worked with Program Associate Jenna Topper to assess the waste system on campus. This including an introduction and training in the 3-Bin system, conducting a waste audit, and creating an audit report to present the findings to the Pinole High community.
Jenna has been working very hard with Oakland Tech interns and has successfully implemented the 3-Bin systems at Oakland Tech. Interns are currently monitoring how accurately waste in being disposed and if the bins are effective. Pinole Valley interns were challenged by the waste audit but learned many new things regarding the way the view their waste.
PVHS Earth Team is working hard to collect enough funds from their community in order to purchase an ashtray for Pinole Creek. Littering cigarette butts has been a notable environmental issue not just at Pinole Creek but all over. It takes cigarettes 10 years to decompose and with the vast amount being littered constantly, our environment is being threatened.
PVHS interns are concerned now more than ever due to the storms that passed through the Bay Area. The heavy rains provide a perfect opportunity for this litter to enter our creeks and streams, eventually into our bay, and than ultimately into the Pacific Ocean. This litter travels and negatively effects many ecosystems spread across the world. We hope that you will help us try to make a difference, and provide smokers a place to properly dispose of their butts. Right now there is not one and we hope to change that.
Pinole Valley High Earth Team spent this week learning about environmental monitoring and its importance. Environmental monitoring can be defined as the systematic collection of data from air, water, soil, plants, and animals, in order to observe, study, and obtain knowledge from the process. This process is used by scientists in many different fields and is an aid in detecting negative environmental stressors and implementing the appropriate management plan. PVHS Earth Team interns will begin monthly vegetation surveys of a 1000 ft area along Pinole Creek, in order to monitor the the spread of invasive plants, and determine which native plants are still thriving, and which are barely hanging on. Interns hope that vegetation monitoring of this area of the creek near Pinole Valley High, will lead to a community wide restoration effort to improve the habitat.
Pinole Valley High Earth Team interns have conducted their 2nd litter assessment of Pinole Creek and Pinole Valley High this week. Litter is a major environmental issue worldwide. 70% of marine debris litter is land based and travels down storm drains, through creeks, and streams, and eventually to beautiful SF Bay. From there litter floats into the Pacific Coast and onward. The most common type of litter is cigarette butts, and plastic. Earth Team discovered this firsthand. Plastics and cigarette butts made the majority of the litter removed along Pinole Creek.
Earth Team does their part to mitigate marine debris by conducting bi-weekly litter assessments. These assessments consist of removing as much litter as possible, collecting data and entering it into the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) Marine Debris Tracker App, determining where litter hotspots are and what can be done to keep littering there from happening. Anyone can use NOAA’s Marine Debris Tracker App, it is made to promote citizen science and give anyone the opportunity to make a quantitative difference towards removing debris from our marine ecosystems. The app is available for Iphones and Androids, is user -friendly and incredibly intuitive, and will provide actual maps of areas you have collected litter. EarthTeam urges everyone to do their part to protect our Bay and oceans! Download the app now, get out there and make a difference!!