Nearly 3,000 Southland area students pitched in and helped clean up areas around Dockweiler State Beach as part of the annual “Kids Ocean Day” event, which resumed this year following two years of postponement due to the pandemic.

After months of Zoom meeting-style student assemblies hosted by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education on the impact of litter and pollution on beaches and oceans, participants from various campuses like Fair Avenue Elementary, Fenton Stem Academy, Mount Gleeson Middle School, Newcastle Elementary and Roy Romer Middle School in the San Fernando Valley arrived at Dockweiler Beach on May 26 to collect and remove trash and other refuse.

The students also spelled out the word “Joy” (with the letter “O” being in the shape of a heart) for an aerial photograph.

“My team and I along with students, teachers, parents and volunteers are excited that we were able to finally go back to the beach to celebrate our love for the ocean,” said Michael Klubock, founder of “Kids Ocean Day” and the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education, which co-sponsors the event with the California Coastal Commission.

“‘Kids Ocean Day’ has brought a lot of joy to area students over the decades and we’re glad that we can continue to educate young people about the importance of taking care of our environment through a hands-on learning experience.”

Added Los Angeles Board of Public Works President Aura Garcia,  “Young people are powerful and can make a huge difference even at an early age. Cleaning up the beach today means diverting trash from the ocean for a healthier ecosystem and marine life.”

Other cleanup events also took place on May 26 in San Diego, Orange County, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, and Humboldt County.

Since 1991, more than 770,000 kids have participated in the “Kids Ocean Day” events, according to foundation officials.