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December 31

Save Our Shores


Organization Mission

Save Our Shores mission is to care for the marine environment through ocean, awareness, advocacy, action and access.

We focus on educating youth about our watersheds, tackling plastic pollution on our beaches and in our rivers, advocating for plastic-free communities, managing Annual Coastal Cleanup Day in Santa Cruz and Monterey County, running our nationally renowned Dockwalker program, and providing our community with educated and inspired Sanctuary Stewards.

The Big Idea:
Summer of Clean Beaches

Through our Summer of Clean Beaches program we keep the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary clean and healthy for all to enjoy. We activate nearly 5,000 volunteers to educate beachgoers, hand out trash bags, and encourage everyone to do their part to leave our beaches clean in their wake. We also run more than 50 cleanups throughout the summer months to ensure debris that visitors failed to pack out is removed before the tides wash it into our Sanctuary. Additionally, we run weekly cleanups on our most visited shores and on days after holidays. The Summer of Clean Beaches culminates with our Annual Coastal Cleanup each September which includes 80 sites (sloughs, levees, river watersheds and beaches) where more than 3,500 volunteers pick up trash from Waddell Creek to Big Sur!

This year, we are developing stewardship strategies so that coastal cleanups can become a thing of past. As a community, in partnership with local businesses, neighborhoods, and governments, we’ll address the root cause of trash on our beaches, develop tailored programs for each beach, and inspire behavior change so our shores are the cleanest and healthiest along the California coast.

When I prioritized volunteering last year and began researching local nonprofit organizations, Save Our Shores was a natural fit. After a full year on the team, beach clean-ups are only part of what I’ve done with Save Our Shores, but so far it’s been the most fulfilling. Seeing the smiles, community spirit and watching bag after bag, pound after pound of trash and recyclables removed from my playground is the best feeling there is.

—Nancy Connelly, Sanctuary Steward