Inside the Outdoors Foundation, in partnership with the City of Newport Beach, is providing an opportunity for local residents to give back to the community while honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The foundation will host an MLK Day of Service on Saturday, Jan. 15 at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center in the Upper Newport Bay. The trash clean-up event, which kicks off at 10 a.m., is open to families and children of all ages and is free to attend. Volunteers can register via this link.
Inside the Outdoors was established in 1974 to nurture student knowledge and promote stewardship of the natural environment. Today’s award-winning program aligns with the state’s instructional standards — including the Next Generation Science Standards — and offers more than a dozen field trip sites throughout Orange County.
“Over 10,000 students each year visit Upper Newport Bay as part of an Inside the Outdoors field trip program.,” said ITO Coordinator Lori Kiesser.” “The MLK Day of Service project is our way to engage the community in the care of such an important ecological and educational resource.”
But how does this day of service help the community?
The Upper Newport Bay is one of California’s last remaining coastal wetlands and serves as home to several endangered species. The Bay sits within the California Floristic Province, one of the top 36 global hotspots for biodiversity.
“For an area to qualify as a hotspot, it must have at least 1,500 vascular plants as endemic — which is to say, it must have a high percentage of plant life found nowhere else on the planet, ” Kiesser explains. “A hotspot is irreplaceable and knowing that garbage finds its way to our preserves is not ideal. But volunteer events like this can help us continue to intercept garbage and keep our bay and ocean clean.”
ITO staff will be there to assist with the trash clean-up and encourage volunteers to bring a camera and reusable water bottle and wear close-toed shoes to the event.