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      Department of Public Works Bureau of Sanitation

The City of Los Angeles’ Stormwater Public Education Program has determined that the most effective method to outreach to elementary school-aged youth is while they’re at school. Consequently, the City designed a four-pronged solution:

  1. Inform students directly with an easy to understand stormwater message.
  2. Involve people who influence children in disseminating the message.
  3. Reinforce and expand the stormwater message with youths on different occasions.
  4. Engage students in actively accomplishing the goals of the stormwater message within the community.

The Adopt-A-Beach School Assembly Program

To address the first part of the solution, informing students directly with an easy to understand message, the City partnered with a community based non-profit organization: the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education. Together, the City and the Malibu Foundation implemented a school assembly program that concentrated on the stormwater message. The assemblies are sponsored by the City and are free of charge to the schools. The 45-minute presentations focus on:

  • An easy to understand explanation of the Los Angeles storm drain system;
  • Linking the storm drain system, urban environment, and beach and ocean pollution;
  • Connecting recycling as an easy way to make the stormwater message a reality;
  • A summary of facts describing the benefits of recycling;
  • A slide show illustrating how the increasing amount pollution kills plant and animals;
  • Challenging students to take personal action in their community by reducing their litter and recycling; and
  • Encouraging kids to pass on the recycling and stormwater message to family and friends.
Ocean Day is an annual event that buses thousands of children to the beach where they participate in a beach cleanup, listen to speakers and later, form an "aerial art" message for local media.

Teacher Workshops

As a supplement, the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education conducts teacher workshops at the schools which will be receiving an assembly program. In 2000-01, 185 Los Angeles teachers participated in these teacher workshops. The workshop "teaches the teachers" about the importance of keeping our oceans and waterways clean and shows them how to convey the message to their students as well.

Providing teacher workshops before the school assembly was vital to the second solution "involve[ing] people who influence children in disseminating the stormwater message," said Malibu Foudation Director Michael Kluboch.

The purpose of the workshop is to inform and build support for the assembly program while encouraging teachers to take the assembly’s message into the classroom before and after the assembly. The workshops provided the following information to teachers:

  • A summary of the school assembly program and Stormwater Program.
  • Daily lesson plans (handouts, quizzes, creative projects, and fun facts) for teachers to use throughout the school year that incorporate the stormwater message.

Teachers were encouraged to use stormwater lesson plans throughout the year, but specifically before and after the assembly. The lessons provided the third solution, to reinforce and expand the stormwater message with youths. As a result, the youths retain the message, even after the assemblies are over.

Ongoing School Education

This is the seventh year that the Stormwater Program has delivered an assembly program to elementary school students in the City. In past years, the program has sponsored the EcoTours and WaterCycle programs in a joint partnership with TreePeople. In the current permit cycle, the City is sponsoring the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education to present an interactive high-energy program to K-6 students.

The assembly is presented by a professional educator and invites several audience members to star in the show. Every school that receives an assembly is invited to participate in the year-end Beach Clean-Up.

Since the program’s inception in 1994, well over half a million LAUSD students have participated in an assembly program sponsored by the Stormwater Program. These have included