Kayaker surprised by whale, in watercolor and pencil
Ocean Water

The water goes swish, swish,
The shark goes bite, bite, bite
on a tiny fish.
The water goes swish, swish, swish
through the gills of a tiny

Nash Williams
Grade 1, Morgan Hill
Child singing to pelicans perched on a pier
Painting of a child building a sandcastle while a dog plays nearby
Painting of a girl taking a photo of a beach, flowers in foreground and a gull flying above
Three turtles swimming under water, in watercolor


Painting of an otter holding an urchin

Where the prisoners would cry,
As they planned to try
To escape this frightful place,
Now many birds,
Come in large herds,
To breed and raise their young

Japleen Dhillon
Grade 3, Fresno
Drawing of sea lions at Pier 39 in San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge in the background, in colored pencils
A Day at the Beach

Rolling, tossing,
Salty spray,
The sea calls to me,
On a sunny day.
Frothy, foamy,
Shimmering waves,
Frolicking in the sea,
Splashing in a stony cave.

Alexis Lavely
Grade 3, Santa Rosa
Painting of cypress tree overlooking the ocean
I am a Little Egret

White as a snowflake falling from the sky,
fuzzy and fluffy like a cotton ball,
I come out of the egg.
I call for Mom
and she comes to me,
bringing me a delicious breakfast,
a juicy fish, my favorite food.
My sister has already hatched,
my brother is coming at last,
pecking open the egg.
I am excited to grow
and learn new things,
become graceful and elegant
like my mom.

Xander Mann
Grade 3, San Anselmo
Two dolphins underwater, in watercolor


Ocean animals with California coastal scenes drawn within their outlines, in colored pencil and marker
Wondering Waves

Watery waves wonder
Why their world is so wet.
As they wake to whistling winds,
Will they have a new pet?

A swordfish, a seal, a sea slug they have!
Why not a fox, a fawn or a friendly calf?

I guess they'll never understand.
They can't have animals who live on land.

Abigail Alford
Grade 5, Hollister
Mother otter holding her baby, in tempera paint
I am a Fish in the Big Blue Sea

I go with the current,
The current goes with me.
I follow school into
The seaweed.
We feed off algae
Crab, plankton, and krill.
Shrimp for dessert.

Big animals and small ones,
We cower from sharks,
Hide in the dark.
I am a fish
In the
Big blue

Never stop being hunted,
Hunted all day.
Swim, swim,
Swim away.

Now there are 10,
Now there are 8,
Now there are 7,
Now there are 5,
Now there are 3,
Now there is
Only me.
I am the last,
Speeding fast,
Zooming through the 100 yard dash.

Can you catch me?
Catch me if you can,
Catch me, catch me.

Fitzpatrick Brockway
Grade 4, San Francisco
Painting of a beach, waves, and bluffs

I pass unseen
At dawn and night
I'm made of water and air;
And at daylight,
I disappear.

Elizabeth Si Xue Lu
Grade 5, Ukiah
Drawing of a beach below bluffs, two birds on the sand, in pastel
Whale Watching

Your eyes are searching
Your hands are fidgeting, impatient
You're hoping, waiting for something to happen
But nothing does
Finally you stand up, disappointed
And a tail bursts out of the water

Tamarah Minami
Grade 5, Santa Cruz
Turtle in profile, in acrylic
Collage of ocean and sunset, as a person runs their hands through the water


Painting of a red tuna crab, eastern pacific green sea turtle, California giant pacific octopus, garibaldi, and pacific seahorse, underwater

the water is quiet in the prelude.

b flat—a white gull shrieks,
        High c—the man on the sidewalk plays his saxophone,

a legato when the sunlight spins and blurs,
        Staccatos when the young boy splashes at the silvery water—
a wizened couple trudges through the sand

the water laps hungrily at the shore,
   an arpeggio—a black shell washes
    up at my feet
     then a pearly white one, worn at the edges
       my pruned fingers sliding against them,
         a crescendo.

Sarah Feng
Grade 9, Los Altos
Octopus and other tidepool creatures, in acrylic and oil pastel
Twilight Beach

Blazing violet
songs of feathered sirens
        S  o  a  r  i   n   g

      through the sky.
People playing, Laughter swaying
a salted, sandy reverie.
        steadily breezes

        into the evening Quiet.
          Sun setting, tides lowing, blue flowing, windows, barnacles closing, umbrellas folding,
   Folding together the day and memories.
      The Pain of
stepping on shells
           drif t  i  n   g    sentiments
Washes away,
        like footprints
                     on a beach.

Victor Li
Grade 8, Saratoga
Drawing of two shorebirds, in colored pencils
Drowning in Beauty

To rise from shining waters,
        Far off the shore.
To hear the waves
        Crashing against the beach.
To smell
        Purity in salt.
To feel the battling wind,
        Your long lost friend,
And you can see
        A bright ball of fire
        In beauty.
Yet you suffocate,
        And hold your breath
Until you sink back
Into the depths of the sea
And you can breathe.

Frances Ross
Grade 7, Los Angeles
Octopus on top of a plastic shopping bag and a soda can, in acrylic and colored pencil
Sea otter floating amongst trash with six-pack rings around its paws, in mixed media
Mother sea lion and pup touch noses, in watercolor

GRADES 10-12

Drawing of an octopus covered with California North Coast symbols, holding a broken redwood tree with its tenticles
Story Made From Ocean

Eleven when I nearly drowned
He was watching
I stepped on a sea urchin while snorkeling
Spikes dug into my skin
like shark teeth
Currents of electricity
swam through my foot
as water swallowed me
In my left temple a pulse
my brain pounding
I could not breathe

Thirteen when I met him
Swore I loved him
He put his hands around my waist
"A bit chubby here"
His words stung like brine
pushing me underwater
deep into a chasm
Waves hissed at me
their salt-tongues encrusting my body
Seaweed groped my legs
coiling around my chest, squeezing
I could not breathe

Fifteen when I learned to float
Tossed his words of shrapnel
into the ocean's abyss
I'm made of seaglass
Broke harpoons on my skin
Snapped spears on my neck.

Joyce Ker
Grade 10, San José
San Francisco at night in the rain, in acrylic
Tide Pool Love

He tells me that his love for me is like the ocean—
vast, deep, and filled with glittering sunsets and marbled skies.
I want to tell him that the ocean isn't just a static, picture-perfect snapshot
to be displayed on some postcard hastily mailed home.
No, our love is the ebb and flow of tide pools.
At low tide, it teeters dangerously upon the slick, jagged rocks.
It's the tentative scuttle of the hermit crab, poised to retreat back into its fortress,
the shuttering of the anemone exposed to the harsh rays of the sun,
the stiff spines of the sea urchin raised in defense.
But then the ocean swells and high tide brings a new wave of excitement.
Our love becomes the opaleye breathlessly darting beneath the pensive surface,
the blooming of anemones and mussels,
the vibrant sea stars reflecting the starry night sky.
But most of all, our love is the resilience of the tide pool creatures,
Able to withstand the crash of thunderous ocean waves
And firmly planted down with tube feet through both low and high tide.

Kate Lin
Grade 12, Fremont
A crowd of marine animals swim and crawl below the water while a small boat floats above and it's human passengers exclaim Wow Look at Those Birds, in watercolor and sea salt
A swimming turtle contains the skyline of San Francisco, with the Golden Gate Bridge on its back, in acrylic
Painting of a man's head surrounded by marine creatures
View from above as a child standing in the water looks up smiling, in acrylic
Make Waves (Ripples)

We pollute, exterminate, crave fish 'n chips,
luxury crab cakes
Dive deep for loot, farm fish, but not fresh
Intellectual brutes, ignorant to our mess
Dump so much waste we worry about the
mercury trace
So much we gave it the name, the extinction
Ripe gorgeous blue, surf to celebrate the
stable pace
Pipes of heat and magma, volcanoes made
islands in haste
Only a few years to wait, but by then our
footprint already left its taint
Delegate the elite to save us, wipe oil away
from our mistakes
This world I doubt we can break, but that
isn't a bet I'm willing to take
We the youth, species wise, the only that can
Test chemicals in booths, only to seal our
own demise
We forget our mother, nature and the
ocean's nurture
Let's unite our brothers, and swear to never
hurt her

We rose from two cell walled organisms
Rode boats, forged empires, made
Faces plastered optimism, massacring
Then toss the carcasses if it ain't a dish
Analytical processes. Ever better by our
no don't worry about the condescending
I don't wanna create any kind of schisms
I'll use realism, though it's the jobs of the

Industry that In tons, at the order of the
More catastrophic than bombs, and let it go
Cause we still feel so strong, didn't Katrina
teach us we're wrong?
How about Matthew? Ring the emergency
gongs, alarms drowning pop songs
Apocalyptic visions, in the minds of
I mean it's not harder than fission, to make
this a global mission
Maybe it's wishful thinkin' but this can be
an ambition

When we crawled out the sea, so came
Now when we smile you see, a few dimples
Let's fix our problems, pollution to cease, not
so simple
But maybe we can be a bit more worried
about life than pimples
Churches, you preach on the return of christ,
atop temples
Degrade science, when we had to translate
arabic to latin first
In history you've been known to have driven
Already higher symbols, preach and convert
this world to be livable
As I utter this pay attention to each syllable
The Earth shakes, the oceans we rake
Leave clean, no date of expiration, but
Each carbon footprint quakes, forcing
ourselves to make waves
Let's create less fakes, cut down on what we
Or we will collide with each pound of a
It's on us now to carry this horrible weight
Better to start not before we're too late

Demetrio M. Rebollo
Grade 12, Glendale