Flagship Program Explained

Students participating in our Teach & Test Program monitor ocean water bacteria levels and trash pollution at our local beaches.

How it Works

Throughout the school year, students coordinate with dedicated Surfrider activists to collect bi-weekly water samples from 18 South Bay beach locations and the Ballona Wetlands. The water samples are analyzed at the SEA Lab in Redondo Beach with the oversight of an experienced lab technician.

At the same locations, trash is collected from in front of storm drain outlets. The collected trash is processed and then sorted into classes, counted, weighed and the resulting data is put into a database for use in our chapter’s efforts to reduce plastic trash on the beach and in the ocean. This is called the Waste Characterization Study.

Real World Impact

The goal of the program is to involve the local community and raise awareness of the real environmental challenges at our local beaches. By doing so we hope to reduce our environmental impacts and improve the quality of our community.

Data tables are created and Pie Charts are plotted for the current year and for all years back to the fall of 2010. These plots and the data are shown to the public at our events throughout the year and on special occasions to city leaders to address the problem of trash on the beach and in the ocean.

Volunteer Opportunities

  • Grant writers and funding-stream locators
  • Work with and supervise students in the lab – water testing and/or waste characterization (collect, sort, wash, sanitize, dry, sort)
  • Assist students in writing letters to local businesses and corporations to target them for source-point plastic trash mitigation
  • Clean lab
  • Talk with local politicians
  • Accept delivery of trash on the first flush and put in storage area
  • Distribute trash to schools
  • Data entry, graph and table generation, report generation
  • Assist students with presentations or publications

We’re currently searching for motivated individuals to join our Teach & Test committee. Interested or know someone who might be? Email our volunteer coordinator at volunteercoordinator@southbay.surfrider.org