Ocean Blue News Blog
Student groups from Oregon are seeking ways to give back to local communities and our one world Ocean. By Karisa Boyce
Willamette University office of Community Service Learning and Outdoor Program are teaming up with Ocean Blue on March 16th 2019 to protect oceans through coastal cleanup efforts.
Bullards Beach State Park in Bandon, Oregon is welcoming students and community volunteers on March 16th. We will conduct microplastic research and make impact to save the ocean. MIcroplastic pollution plagues the shores of the west coast. Plastic is also being found in cold water bodies inland, the Atlantic ocean, and marine environments all over the globe.
Global fish and marine life are all being impacted by plastic pollution in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Is there any body of water left on the planet that is not being affected by plastic waste?
Scientists take water samples to learn more about the tons of plastic found in water from the gulf stream to the north Atlantic. Fish populations are also tested for plastics to see how the human food chain is impacted and the outlook is not good.
Ocean conservation is essential for the 3 billion people who rely on seafood as their main source of protein. This is why Ocean Blue and students of Willamette U are eager to help clean it up. Together, we are working to protect our precious resource. Ocean current maps are contributing in the efforts too.
Plastic is delivered to beaches by way of ocean currents and high tides. As the tide goes back out to sea, floating plastic fragments are left deposited on the beach. Thermohaline circulation accounts for deep ocean currents driven by water density differences. Deep ocean conveyor belts are created by cold water temperatures caused by polar ice.
However, wind drives the currents on the top 100 meters or so of the ocean surface. This makes it easy to remove the floating plastics, especially when groups like Willamette U’s Community Service Learning Program and Outdoor Program are willing to clean it up.
The Community Service Learning program provides students with opportunities to give back in their communities. The group works with local, statewide, and national organizations or initiatives. Several courses are linked with service learning projects, integrating civic engagement with curricula.
During the 2016-17 school year, students provided 77,655 hours in community service learning projects. This is a $1.8 million private-sector value based on standards set by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
A big way that Willamette U students give back is through Service Saturdays. Students are exposed to a variety of projects and gain diverse knowledge and skill set. During spring break, students Take a Break through the TaB program. Through Language in Motion or LiM, study abroad returnees and international students provide presentations for school classrooms throughout Salem and Keizer in Oregon.
Willamette University’s Office of Community Service Learning offerings are an excellent example for other universities. Willamette U has received several Presidential awards for the example they have set. Now, Ocean Blue cannot wait to be part of their efforts through Volunteer Beach Cleanups.
Become an Annual Member of Ocean Blue to support Volunteer Beach Cleanups. Sign up for this event here.
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