A mural depicting native wildlife and the importance of picking up trash is taking shape near Eureka Square.
The art is the work of Lauren Wu of San Carlos and Annie Phillips of Pacifica, who are seniors at Design Tech High School in Redwood Shores. Over the past seven months, they designed and planned the execution of an environmental advocacy mural in Pacifica that encourages people to protect the native wildlife and reminds them of their responsibility to the environment.
Their mural, called “Splash of Color,” at 1300 Oceana Blvd. near Eureka Square and the pedestrian overcrossing, earned approval from the city’s Beautification Advisory Committee. Painting is scheduled from Aug. 6 to 17 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony 1 to 3 p.m.on Aug. 21.
They worked with Dragon Kim Foundation Fellowship, a Southern California-based social entrepreneurship incubator for high school students. They were one of 28 teams selected for funding out of 250 applicants. That organization provided the students with leadership training, a mentor and $5,000 in grant money. At the end of the fellowship, a winner is chosen and will receive another $5,000. If they win, they hope to sponsor another mural somewhere across the country.
The mural will be 186 feet long and 13 feet high. The black squares represent QR codes a viewer can scan from a phone camera that will link to an educational website they are building. The site will have information about native flora and fauna and how people can help protect natives like the California poppy, blue-eyed grass, snowy plover, humpback whale and endangered mission blue butterfly. That website is splashofcolorproject.org and the duo plans to build it over next year.
The website will eventually show people what native plants to plant in their gardens. Another interactive idea was to have a raffle in which people send them a photo of a bag of trash they collected to win a gift card to a local business.
They came up with this idea by brainstorming last fall. Their charter school, sponsored by Oracle, encourages students to create a project that works toward one of the 17 United Nations sustainable development goals. They are working on Goal 14, life below water and Goal 15, life on land.
Wu said, “The school is focused on design thinking. It’s always evolving.” They will be in the fifth graduating class of their school.
They both participated in multiple cleanups sponsored by the Pacific Beach Coalition and Phillips serves on the junior coalition board. They said while beach cleanups are important, they do not address the root cause of littering on the beach and they don’t focus on the plants and animals,
“Protect what you love” is written on the mural design. They are bringing out community volunteers to work on the project in a paint-by-numbers type system having etched out the details ahead of time.
“We wanted to involve as many people as possible. Volunteers don’t have to have any artistic ability,” Wu said. “We can assign them a square.”
Phillips said working with the coalition inspired the project.
“We originally wanted it to be closer to the beach but we are protecting native life,” she said.
Outside their work on the mural, both play sports at school. Wu plays volleyball, basketball and softball and Phillips plays volleyball and soccer and softball. Phillips is a Girl Scout and head of the dance committee at school.
They are busy on two more Pacifica murals, one at North Coast County Water District and one at the pump house in Linda Mar.
“We have a few ideas,” said Phillips. “We want to create a resource list or a class for others to do the same thing.”
Both love Pacifica for its beauty and interesting natural features.
“We live in such an interesting place in the Bay Area. You shouldn’t be afraid to do something similar to us,” said Phillips.
“A big mission is to help educate people about the environment,” Wu said. “You should try to educate yourselves and others about as many subjects as possible.”