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News and Media

News and Media

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

We had one heckuva day cleaning up the shoreline of the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge!

The ODA volunteers and I met in the parking lot of the Simple Green building in Huntington Beach, California on Sunday, December 16th.  We had a total of nine people show up, and it couldn’t have turned out better.

ODA debris-removal volunteers

For this adventure we had: Laura Angelini, Mayra Gonzalez, Krista Lesa, James (didn’t catch his last name!), Dave Merrill, Jean Merrill, Kent Morris, and Linda Nicholes. All arrived with lots of energy and good intentions!  The best part of doing these cleanups is meeting like-minded people, and this time was no exception.  Fun crew to be around.

This area of the Refuge gets inundated with waterborne trash whenever it rains heavily here in Southern California.  If any of this trash gets back in the water, it is a very short ride out to the ocean and then onward into the Pacific Garbage Patch.  We’ll have none of that, thank you!

Birds on shoreline

Everyone grabbed a bucket, gloves, and a trash picker and took off along the shoreline.  We timed this event just right, as it was low tide and we could easily access all the plastics that accumulate here.

We found the usual culprits: straws galore, water bottle caps by the hundreds, bags of all sorts, syringes, aerosol cans, balls, more straws…but also one unusual package that fit the occasion: a 20-pound turkey.  Nice catch, Dave!

Trash in the refuge

We were there for roughly three-and-a-half hours, and successfully removed 525 pounds of debris! 

It’s hard to put into words how satisfying it feels to prevent this debris from getting in to the oceans, so I’ll let you see the before and after pictures to let you know how effective these cleanups can be.

ODA Crew with catch of the day

While we did a really good job, there is still plenty more to remove. 

Anybody up for another try this Sunday?  If so, drop me a line at and I’ll fill you in on the details.

Happy Holidays,

Captain Kurt