It was more than just a gorgeous day at the Bolsa Chica State Beach on April 26, when about 75 people came out to support a “Save the Beach” event, which senior Troy Doolittle coordinated as his senior project.
Doolittle, a public relations major and beach enthusiast, spends most of his free time at their family’s Newport Beach, beach house surfing and spending time with his friends.
“My advisor suggested the idea, and then I ran with it.” Doolittle said. “It was stressful but fun to plan, and I knew it was for a good cause.”
Residence and visitors formally knew Bolsa Chica State Beach, which is located on Pacific Coast Highway between Warner and Sea Point in Huntington Beach, as Tin Can Beach, due to the trash situation.
The first three hours of the event were focused on cleaning-up the beach.
Participants were each given a trash bag and had about a two-mile stretch where they could pick up trash.
“There was a beach clean-up earlier in the week hosted by Quicksilver, but there was still a lot of trash,” Doolittle said.
Many supporters were junior high students from Sonrise School, meeting the requirements of their community service hours.
“I found a lot plastic and a lot of little pieces,” Janie Darling, a seventh grade student said. “The coolest thing I found was a ring, and the most disgusting thing I found was probably cigarette butts.”
For years Huntington Beach has been cleaning-up their reputation on this beach.
Bolsa Chica is one of four beaches in Huntington.
To take action first they decreased the number of fire-pits they had, then they banned smoking, and now they have trash cans that line the beach, some of which are not even 30 feet apart.
“I don’t think people respect what they have, so they don’t care if they leave their mess behind,” Doolittle said.
The event coordinated with the Earth Day activities and by the end of the clean-up, they had collected at least 50 bags.
“I’ve never had anyone come to me and do this for their senior project, but I’m glad that he asked,” Bill Burhans, a Park Ranger for the beach, said. “We can always use the help, and I’m glad to say it was successful.”
After cleaning it was time for some free lunch and the much-awaited raffle.
Each participant had a raffle ticket in the bucket and a chance to win some cool prizes (donated by local surf shops) like a body board, skin board, wet suit, kites and more.
Doolittle and his family provided hot dogs, chips, drinks and cookies.
After lunch Doolittle and a few of his friends gave out free surf lessons.
Despite the cold water many of the participants took part in the lessons, primarily the middle school girls and a few of the younger kids.
“I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf,” Darling said. “My brother surfs and it always seems like he’s having fun.”
Jennifer Gilderman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org