Bellingham third graders clean up Squalicum Beach

April 26, 2019

Columbia Elementary class partners with RE Sources and Whatcom Audubon for a cleanup to celebrate World Migratory Bird Day.

Bellingham third graders clean up Squalicum Beach May 2 to protect birds and animals from eating trash

Media Contact: Serena Auriemma, Green Classrooms Coordinator,, (360) 733-8307

BELLINGHAM, WA — Columbia Elementary third graders have planned a beach cleanup at Squalicum Beach in Bellingham from 9:00-11:00am on Thursday, May 2, with support from RE Sources’ Sustainable Schools education coordinators and volunteers from North Cascades Audubon Society, in honor of World Migratory Bird Day.

As an outcome of RE Sources’ Green Classrooms curriculum, Susie Davis’ 8 to 9-year-old students will put their learning to action and do something about the growing problem of trash being ingested by marine animals, including birds.

“The problem of plastic waste — nearly 8 million tons in oceans each year — is a problem our children will inherit,” said Green Classrooms Coordinator Serena Auriemma. “Getting students out of the classrooms and into their environment is key to developing an empowered response to issues like these.”

This “action project” is a final component of the Green Classrooms curriculum that gives students the opportunity to bring their learning out of the classroom, and make their ideas applicable to the larger community — accomplishing the twofold goal of introducing service-learning and applied learning.

“While the subject of plastic pollution is something we discuss regularly at home, having this issue addressed at school — and particularly through a hands-on activity like a beach cleanup — has been very impactful for my son,” said Darrah Blanton, a Columbia Elementary parent. “I love that he and his classmates are learning that they can take personal action to lessen these effects and increase the chances of survival for animals.”

Davis’ students are focused on an Orinthology unit, researching migratory birds and the challenges they face. Students will also participate in Bellingham’s Procession of the Species Parade on May 4, dressed in bird costumes.

World Migratory Bird Day on May 11 highlights trash and plastic issues and provides a chance for communities to make a difference by conducting local projects aimed at environmental habitats. Studies show that small trash management efforts can make a lasting impact, especially with education supplementing the issues, like the Sustainable Schools program offers.

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RE Sources is a local nonprofit organization in Bellingham, WA dedicated to protecting the health of northwest Washington’s people and ecosystems through the application of science, education, advocacy, and action. For more information, visit