Students, community members honor MLK with Back Bay clean-up

Students and staff from OCDE’s Inside the Outdoors environmental education program honored Martin Luther King Jr. Day by helping clean their community.

volunteers stand next to trash bags

Over the MLK holiday earlier this month, more than 160 volunteers from local schools and representatives from 13 regional businesses joined the Inside the Outdoors Foundation to restore a native habitat at the OC Parks’ Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve.

Volunteers, including students from 13 local schools, removed more than 125 60-gallon bags of discarded trash and invasive plants, enabling native plants to re-establish. Items removed included a couch cushion, a bike tire, 23 tennis balls, basketballs, handballs, golf balls, shoes, gym bags, a trunk liner, lumber and bags full of plastic straws, bottle caps and drink bottles.

The preserve is ecologically significant as one of California’s last remaining coastal estuaries, and it’s also the site of frequent Inside the Outdoors field trips. Each year, hands-on science lessons are presented there to more than 4,000 second- and third-graders.