Coastal Fund Project Feature:
Environmental Defense Fund's Goleta Watershed Education and Cleanup Program
The Environmental Defense Center
(EDC) is a local non-profit organization who works to protect the local environmental through education, advocacy, and legal action. EDC's programs focus on a wide range of environmental issues, one of them being watershed preservation and restoration. EDC understands that protecting our region's creeks and rivers is essential for safeguarding our coast's clean water and wildlife habitat. EDC's Goleta Watershed Education and Cleanup Program seeks to protect water quality and reduce pollution by organizing creek and watershed cleanups.
The Goleta Watershed Education and Cleanup Program is run by EDC Environmental Analyst and Watershed Program Coordinator Brian Trautwein. With the help of a Coastal Fund grant, Brian has been able to hire UCSB student, Sarika Kathuria, as EDC's Goleta Watershed Intern. Sarika shared with us her experiences working as an EDC intern and the program's role in protecting the environment. Sarika's main tasks have revolved around organizing EDC's creek cleanups. This includes obtaining permits and necessary materials for the cleanups, engaging in community outreach to gather volunteers for the events, and leading volunteers during events alongside Brian. So far, Sarika and Brian have conducted 9 creek cleanups in the City of Goleta and Santa Barbara County. Collectively, these cleanups have collected 3,121 pounds of trash and have gathered 102 volunteers (anywhere between 8-20 volunteers per cleanup). While most trash collected consists of plastic wrappers, bottles, etc., Sarika recalls coming across bizarre items such as mattresses, couches, and even a bike!
Sarika has told us that she has found this internship extremely rewarding as she has prevented over 3,000 pounds of trash from entering the Pacific ocean and the Goleta Slough and has gotten the change to work alongside some of Santa Barbara's community environmental leaders. She said:
"I have learned so much about the nonprofit world, as well as gotten a glimpse into the intricacies of environmental policy making. I feel that I have a more intimate understanding of the political system, and it was a blessing to see some of the concepts I was learning in my classes come to life in the real world."
The Coastal Fund is very proud and happy to be able to help EDC's efforts and help a UCSB student access new experiences and work alongside one of Santa Barbara's most active environmental non-profits. Thank you Brian and Sarika for all your hard work in helping keep our watershed and beautiful coastline clean!
The next creek cleanup will be Saturday November 19th. If you would like to volunteer for this event, email Sarika at email@example.com!