kids doing cleanups and collecting data
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We've endeavored to provide you everything you need to hold a cleanup, from preparatory lessons through cleanup materials, to data analysis. Participating schools are NOT required to do pre- and post-lessons, but these can help illuminate the impact of a cleanup and tie it into your education standards.

NGSS PRACTICES and PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS as They Relate to Planning, Data Collection, and Follow-up

Pre-Cleanup Lessons and Resources

Just like water, trash can move through a watershed, down streets, through storm drains, creeks and rivers, and eventually out to a lake or the ocean. Preventing and removing litter in school yards and neighborhoods is stopping marine debris before it happens! You may not have the sound of the surf in your ears, but you are taking very important action to protect our coast and ocean and the creatures that depend on a healthy ecosystem to survive.

What is a watershed?

Marine debris and nonpoint source pollution:

Recommended books for classroom read-aloud or student reading:

  • This is the Ocean, by Kersten Hamilton, Illustrated by Lorianne Siomades
  • All the Way to the Ocean, by Joel Harper (Also pubished in Spanish.)
  • Plastic, Ahoy! Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, by Patricia Newman


Find a broad range of recommended streaming videos on marine debris and other topics here.


  • A few slides about marine debris and where it comes from (PowerPoint)
  • A PowerPoint from Gilroy High School teacher Jeff Manker, reflecting on his experience visiting Midway Island. Shows the impact of plastic pollution on the Laysan albatross that nest there, and how choices that students make on the mainland can have an impact. Why Plastic Bottle Caps Matter

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