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Earth Day Celebration Is in the Bag

Environment: Dozens of volunteers comb Ventura beach for trash in one of several events in the county. San Buenaventura yields 500 pounds of garbage.


Toting a blue plastic bag that was bigger than her, 6-year-old Wynsum Kearns knew exactly why she was picking up garbage at wind-whipped San Buenaventura Beach Park on Saturday morning.

"I want to save the world," she said as she shuffled through blowing sand, scooping up paper, bottle caps and other trash either dumped by someone else or tossed ashore by the pounding surf.

"I can help keep our environment clean and help the animals on land and sea."

Wynsum said she will tell her friends about how she and her mother, grandmother and younger sister did their part to celebrate Earth Day.

Although strong winds and chilly morning temperatures after a night of rain kept some volunteers away, Ventura officials said that more than 150 people came out for the cleanup.

It was among several Earth Day events held in Ventura County on Saturday.

For Earth Day participants in Ventura, there were sunny skies after a night of rain. Expect more sunny weather today and into this week, said Curt Kaplan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. Temperatures should warm up today and into Monday and Tuesday, Kaplan said.

The latest storm dropped 0.23 of an inch of rain along the coast and 0.67 of an inch inland, he said. The spring showers also brought a fresh dusting of snow to Ventura County mountains, with snow levels dropping to 3,000 feet, Kaplan said. No rain is predicted for coming days.

At the city of Ventura's Earth Day headquarters, volunteers tried to keep warm behind card tables piled high with free bagels, juice and coffee for those combing the beach for garbage.

By the end of the two-hour cleanup, volunteers had collected nearly 500 pounds of trash, said Joncee Law Kohls, coordinator for the event, which was sponsored by Ventura's community services department.

"We want to honor the Earth and teach people to clean it up," Kohls said. "Trash on the beach gets stuck under the sand or goes in the water. Fish eat it and they die. So, you're also saving some animals."

Volunteers started lining up to pick up their equipment--blue bags for regular trash and green bags for recyclables--well before the 10 a.m. start time. By 10:30 a.m., some had already filled bags and left them on the beach for state and city maintenance crews.

A mosaic of the old, the discarded and the used-up was soon on display: a couple of tires, worn-out shoes, countless cigarette butts, shards of glass. One man trudged up to the garbage drop-off area dragging five white fishing buoys strung together by a worn rope in addition to the collection of junk in his blue bag.

Ventura resident John Golson said he brought his three young daughters to the cleanup to remind them "to be responsible for what they have been given."

"You make a mess and you pick it up," said Golson, 41, a prop builder for a movie studio in Los Angeles. "We told our daughters that we were going to do something special Saturday. We were going to pick up trash."

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