Marine Debris Ocean Stewardship Program- International Pilot Project

Scotts Valley Rotary Sustainability Committee

Keywords: Water, Oceans, Ecosystems, Environmenatal Education



This project is to educate students on the negative impacts of plastic pollution in the ocean, and allow them to see first-hand the connection between their activities on campus with the pollution in the ocean. Study of the local watershed is part of the program; they learn how all storm drains, creeks, and rivers are branches of the ocean.


Ultimate goal of the project is at least to “plant a seed” for the reduction of marine debris in the Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and in our Monterey Bay Sanctuary, CA, USA, via a hands-on education program at “sisters” high schools. The program is funded by the Scotts Valley Rotary (SVRSC) in partnership with the Tampa Bay Community Foundation, Florida (TBCF), and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The SVHS is the first school to participate in the pilot program. They will be renewing their grant this year.  See Press Release with photos of their 2016 program below.  A representative of the SV Rotary will be in Brazil between September 20 and October 1 to help potential “sister” schools and “parent” Rotary Clubs to fill out an Application.  This is a pilot program to be repeated/copied by many schools not only around the two bays listed above but in other bays of Brazil and/or in bays all over the world!


  1. The students conduct 2 field trips to the beach to collect marine debris per scientific protocols
  2. Back in class they catalog the info collected into the NOAA National Marine Debris data base; they analyze the data and develop an outreach program to share their findings with the rest of the students and with the community. The students exchange photos and compare info collected with their “sister school” abroad;
  3. Based on their evaluation of the marine debris collected the students use the remaining grant funds to make campus improvements to reduce plastic pollution and contamination of ocean waters. 

Projects may vary from installation of water fountains and distribution of metal canteens to reduce use of plastic water bottles, or change packaging in the cafeteria to reduce single use of disposable plastic; installation of organic gardens, recycling and composting stations, etc, depending on the needs of the school.


Click here for a PDF of the project, including the press release of the Scotts Valley High School Youth Project.

Click here to read about the project on Rotary Showcase (in Portuguese!)  Please note, you need to log in at  to access the project.