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Kids dive into ocean protection

Handy Elementary students pick up coastal trash

Diego de la Trinadad, 9, left, and Daniel Fernandez, 8, from Handy Elementary in Orange pick up and chart trash during the Orange County Coastkeeper’s annual Kids Ocean Day on June 2.

(Scott Smeltzer / Huntington Beach Independent)

More than 1,300 children learned the importance of taking care of the environment as they cleaned up Huntington State Beach on June 2 during the 23rd annual Kids Ocean Day event.

Students from inland and underserved schools — many of whom had never seen the ocean before — as well as 139 teachers and chaperones and 50 volunteers joined in picking up more than 500 pounds of trash.

The garbage was then used to create an aerial art piece featuring an octopus and the phrase “Sea Change,” according to a news release.

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Much of the rope used to outline the design was found in the ocean, officials said.

Orange County Coastkeeper’s annual Kids Ocean Day

Students from Handy Elementary in Orange picked up trash during the Orange County Coastkeeper’s annual Kids Ocean Day on June 2.

(Scott Smeltzer / Huntington Beach Independent)

“I love working with kids who have never been to the beach before,” Dyana Peña, the education director for Coastkeeper, said in the news release. The Costa Mesa-based organization, dedicated to protecting water resources, sponsored the event.

“A huge goal of this program is to remove any obstacles these kids may face when trying to experience their local natural environment. This includes removing the financial burden of transportation or equipment.”

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Similar cleanup events took place at five other beaches along the California coast. More than 8,000 children participated in all, the release said.

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Brittany Woolsey, brittany.woolsey@latimes.com

Twitter: @BrittanyWoolsey

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