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Many businesses, neighbors and community organizations will fan out from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 to clean up Pacifica in an Earth Day celebration organized by the Pacific Beach Coalition.

“Grab a bucket and clean up an area. Recology of the Coast will be taking care of the litter,” said Lynn Adams, president of the Pacific Beach Coalition.

Groups are encouraged to register their “happy places,” Adams said. PBC will support them with supplies, litter removal and gifts. There are 75 to 100 site captains in Pacifica helping to clean 40 to 45 sites from Daly City to Pescadero and a site in Foster City. They expect 1,000 or more volunteers.

A virtual talk on March 31 with Hannah Ormshaw, San Mateo County Parks Assistant Director and mission blue butterfly expert, kicked off Earth Month. This year’s “Earth Hero” to honor and learn about is the endangered mission blue butterfly. 

Amaelia Bringas, a member of the Junior Mission Blue Crew and a PBC member, came up with the idea to honor the butterfly. 

From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Pacific Coast Television will be streaming mission blue butterfly information, and the PBC Earth Day celebration is in the main Linda Mar parking lot on the south end near the sea wall along the Taco Bell edge. Adams said this is a learning event.

“We are going to have distinguished guest speakers and booths,” Adams said. Pacifica Mayor Mary Bier will be speaking about Pacifica’s reusable food ware ordinance and Pacifica banning the sale of cigarettes in pharmacies.

Speakers who are expected include Bringas, Kirsten Andrews-Shwind of Peninsula Clean Energy, a representative of North Coast County Water District, Matt and Alejandra Warren to talk about sustainability and a youth engagement speaker.

PBC is getting volunteers from all over the Bay Area to clean. Everyone from Boy Scouts to businesses are coordinating their actions to help clean the beach sites, San Pedro Creek and their neighborhoods. PBC will have volunteers working from Thornton Vista to Pescadero.

There is a new site in Foster City where 50 PBC volunteers rotate among a few sites every month.

“We offered some help and supplies and insurance,” Adams said.

PBC worked with biologist Chloe Van Loon to develop education modules for teachers to use in their classrooms to teach about the mission blue butterfly.

“The mission blue is endangered,” Adams said. “They can be found at Milagra Ridge and Sweeney Ridge. They need the lupine plant and a host of pollinator plants they can get nectar from to survive. They take a year to develop but are only alive seven days. Now is the perfect time to find them on Milagra Ridge and Sweeney Ridge. You can find their eggs if you know what they look like. We have also learned how climate change is affecting them.”

Fran Quartini, a retired Ocean Shore School teacher, described the teaching activities she did to celebrate Earth Day the whole month of April. Both she and retired Ocean Shore teacher Sheila Gamble Dorn raised Monarch butterflies for years. They helped PBC develop activities for students.

“We would go up to Milagra Ridge and pull the invasive plants where the lupine grows. We were lucky enough to see the mission blue butterfly. I was working with the ranger there. It’s important to have the habitat there,” Quartini said.

Gamble Dorn said she gave her class lots of interesting butterfly activities. 

“We gave them some activities to adapt to the mission blue butterfly,” Dorn said. “Parents can go on the PBC website any time to get these activities. The website is good for all grades through 12th grade and for parents to learn more about pollinators in general.”

Quartini and Dorn offered some practical teaching tips to present material in a classroom for Van Loon, whose experience as a biologist does not include classrooms.

“She interviewed a lot of people as to what we learned from our teaching experiences,” Quartini said.

Longtime PBC volunteer Jim Pocket, a native Pacifican, said he has been involved with Earth Day from the beginning. As a Boy Scout, he planted trees near San Andreas School and the Fairmont Shopping Center. For his PBC work, he cleans the Manor Shopping Center and the Esplanade bluffs, the area where he was raised and still lives. With the Masonic Lodge, he does a weekly cleanup along the highway.

“I bring in different groups to help clean — the Masonic Lodge, the Association of Mentors and the Coven of the Winged Toes, a pagan group,” he said. “I wear an ecology hat. This is something I have always done.”

Sign up to participate in the cleanup or learn more at www.pacificbeachcoalition.org.


Jane Northrop has covered Pacifica for the Pacifica Tribune since 1996. She has won first place John Swett Awards from the California Teachers Association for her coverage of education.

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