Home News Brief EEB Graduate Students Make a Difference at Newport Beach Clean-Up

EEB Graduate Students Make a Difference at Newport Beach Clean-Up

Written by Jasmine Osei-Enin
Edited by: Kristin Barbour, Samantha Borruso, Andrea Hernandez, Kevin Garcia

On March 20th, 2023, graduate students from the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) department came together to clean Newport Beach, making a significant impact on the local community and environment.

During the clean-up, students discovered a black substance tangled in seaweed and sand. After picking up numerous pieces of this substance, they realized that the substance was black tar, likely originating from a recent oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach on March 9.

black tar on a red glove at the beach
seaweed and black tar on a red glove at the beach
looking at tangled sea weed.

As the students wrapped up, a local mother approached them, inquiring about the black substance her children had been playing with and throwing back into the sea. The students were able to inform her about the true nature of the substance and raise awareness of a local event that flew under the radar.

dead ladybugs on the sand along the shore.

Along with the black tar, the students recognized another environmental concern. There was a significant number of dead ladybugs along the shore, with mainly intact bodies. This finding raised questions among the students about the cause of the ladybugs’ deaths and the reasons behind their unusual abundance.

What began as a mandatory EEB graduate student meeting in a unique setting turned into a response to environmental disaster and a moment for community engagement. The students’ presence and actions had a meaningful impact on the local community, highlighting the importance of the EEB department’s involvement in the surrounding environmental spaces. This occurrence was so striking, and calls for reason to believe that the EEB department should spend more time in the environmental spaces of our surroundings. 

Thank you to all of the students who attended, and helped keep our beaches clean!

eeb grad students at the beach.
(From left to right: Evan Fiorenza, Emily Martin, Kevin Garcia, Ryan Beshai, Kristin Barbour, Samantha Borruso, Abby Simpson, Jasmine Osei-Enin, Andrea Hernandez)


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