Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine won first prize at the 2008 QuikSCience Challenge.
The March 6 event was sponsored by USC, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, Quiksilver, and the Quiksilver Foundation. The Statewide competition required students to complete five tasks related to marine studies. In 2007, Samohi’s team, coached by marine biology teacher Benjamin Kay, won the Best Community Service award.
This year’s six-person team – featuring Craig Carcary, Daniel Farahdel, Daniel Hakhamzadeh, Caroline Knab, Yassaman Sarvian, and Evelina Weary – emphasized the effects of plastics in the ocean.
“We pretty much focused on rethinking sustainability particularly in Santa Monica because we really wanted to make this extremely local,” said Sarvian.
As part of the project, the students marched through Santa Monica carrying over one hundred pounds of plastic bags collected during a school-wide drive. They also spoke to the City Council on February 19 and 26 (see smmirror.com/MainPages/DisplayArchiveArticle.asp?eid=7275 and smmirror.com/MainPages/DisplayArchiveArticle.asp?eid=7321) to encourage the proposed citywide ban on plastic bags and worked with local business 1 Bag at a Time to sell reusable shopping bags for a dollar a piece.
Additionally, the students produced the 10-minute video “Danny Going Green,” which can be found on YouTube channel theteammarine. The video tells the story of a man overcoming his “addiction” to plastic bags and features footage from the students’ rally along with quick tips for living an eco-friendly life.
“We went around school to school trying to raise awareness by showing this film, trying to get the students inspired,” explained Farahdel, who starred in the clip. Creating a lesson plan was a portion of the requirements for QuikSCience Challenge.
As part of the first place prize for the Challenge, the students will travel to Cozumel, Mexico later this spring for a one-week stay.
“It’s going to be a research expedition where we look at animals and organisms and take them back to the lab and probably teach our lesson plans to the locals,” said Weary.
Although the competition has ended, Team Marine intends to continue its work in environmental awareness. The group was recently featured on Whole Foods’ Internet video program “Whole Earth Generation” and recently met with Long Beach-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation to volunteer on an upcoming project. Team Marine has also begun work on Earth Day presentations.
“The way I like to think of it is that Team Marine has just started,” Sarvian said. “Our agenda is endless.”
Both Sarvian and teammate Farahdel are strongly considering environmental studies as their college majors.
“[Team Marine] helped us pursue what we want to do later in life,” Sarvian added. “It’s been a source of inspiration and an eye-opening experience.”