Friends of the Dunes

Why did a bunch of Humboldt elementary school kids form a giant wave on the beach today? Well, for the 14th annual Kids Ocean Day, of course! What in the blue blazes is that? The press release below will shed some light:


On the morning of June 7, 1,000 local students spent their school day caring for the coast during the 14th Annual Kids Ocean Day event at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit of the Humboldt Bay. After spending the day restoring dune habitat and picking up trash, students, teachers, and volunteers formed a giant wave and cormorant with the message “Waves of Change.” Local pilot Mark Harris flew over while photographer J Patrick Cudahy captured the image.

Friends of the Dunes and the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office organized the Kids Ocean Day event locally, with help from the California Conservation Corps and the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The Humboldt County event was part of the statewide Kids Ocean Day program, a series of student cleanups and aerial art displays at five sites along the California Coast. Across the state, students received classroom presentations before the event focusing on the ocean, biodiversity, and the importance of keeping our coast clean and healthy. In Humboldt, students have the option to pick up trash or remove invasive plant species to create space for native biodiversity. Each site created an image of a wave, forming a swell across the state calling for action. On Ocean Day, students take an active role in protecting the coast and the aerial art message encourages the community to catch the wave of positive change. Statewide, Kids Ocean Day Cleanups are funded by the California Coastal Commission with events throughout late May and early June, leading up to World Oceans Day on June 8, a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future.

This year our image features a double-crested cormorant in celebration of the Year of the Bird. Friends of the Dunes and the participants of the 14th annual Kids Ocean Day want to protect and learn from all seabirds because they can teach us so much about the marine environment and ocean health. Seabirds act as indicators of our ocean health and are dependent on the marine environment and our coastal rocks to rest. In order to guarantee their future, students aim to make waves of change for them and all ocean life. To learn more about seabirds and how to protect them, please visit

“Children are the wave of the future,” said Jack Ainsworth, Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission. “And these kids understand that we need to change our consumption and disposal habits and reduce our reliance on single use plastics, so the beaches and ocean don’t keep suffering from plastic pollution. I’m proud of all these students for making some waves!” The Coastal Commission provides financial support to Kids Ocean Day efforts statewide with proceeds from the Whale Tail License Plate and voluntary donations on the state tax return to the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund.
Participating Schools included: Alice Birney Elementary, Grant Elementary, Trillium Charter School, Ferndale Elementary, Jacoby Creek School, Laurel Tree Learning Center, McKinleyville Middle School, Redway School, South Fortuna Elementary, Sunnybrae Middle School, Trinidad School, Winship Middle School, Zane Middle School, Coastal Grove Charter School.

Friends of the Dunes is dedicated to conserving the natural diversity of coastal environments through community supported education and stewardship programs. Projects include the Bay to Dunes school education program, Dune Ecosystem Restoration Team and the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. For more information visit

The Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office is responsible for the administration of natural resources, lands, and mineral programs on approximately 200,000 acres of public land in Northwestern California. The Area includes the 60,000 acres King Range National Conservation Area and the 7,472-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve.

This annual event was started by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education and the California Coastal Commission in Los Angeles in 1994. With funding from the Whale Tail License Plate, this program expanded to the North Coast in 2002. The program focuses on reaching children in underserved and inland schools.

The California Coastal Commission is the statewide coordinator of the Kids’ Ocean Day program, the year-round Adopt-A-Beach program, and Coastal Cleanup Day. All of these programs are funded by the generous support of the Whale Tail License Plate Fund. Over 220,000 plates have been sold since 1996, raising more than $22 million dollars for marine education and protection. For more information about the California Coastal Commission’s programs and how to buy a Whale Tail Plate, call (800) COAST-4U or visit