Last Saturday at a community coffee gathering at Mazzetti’s Bakery in Pacifica, Assemblyman Jerry Hill honored the Pacifica Beach Coalition with the 19th Assembly District’s Environmental Leadership Award for the organization’s many years of volunteer service in the community.
“San Mateo County is rich in natural beauty and some of its greatest treasures are here in Pacifica with its more than six miles of beaches and shoreline habitats,” Hill said.
“Much of it is staggeringly beautiful and were it not for some key organizations in the community and their members, those very beaches could well be a staggering mess. Today, I’d like to recognize an organization that has been a great environmental leader, working with the city and residents — that’s the Pacifica Beach Coalition.”
Pacifica Beach Coalition president Lynn Adams accepted the award with Pacifica Beach Coalition members Tom Whitaker and Steve Fairbairn on behalf of the organization.
“We’re very honored to receive this recognition,” she said.
Founded in 1997, the coalition expanded their annual Earth Day efforts in 2005 into a citywide event to remove litter from the streets before it reached the beaches.
The group points with pride to some of the larger events this year, including the Earth Day 2012 cleanup that brought more than 8,100 people to Pacifica beaches and creeks on a single Saturday in April to clear the areas of plastic bottles and other rubbish and the Coastal Cleanup Day projects in September that drew more than 1,100 volunteers.
Since 2005, almost 35,000 volunteers have participated in the group’s annual Earth Day and Coastal Cleanup Day projects and have removed more than 115,000 pounds of garbage from beaches, creeks, parks, parking lots and streets throughout the City of Pacifica during those efforts, according to the coalition.
Besides those giant events, the coalition holds five monthly cleanups at different Pacifica beaches and special activities throughout the year — both organized and ad hoc projects — like the gathering of 35 gallons of fireworks debris by two members on the Fourth of July, and the cleanup just this past week of more than 250 pounds of plastic bags and other trash from Pacifica’s “Secret Waterfall,” after the first heavy rain.
After receiving Hill’s thanks on behalf of the Legislature, Adams and the Pacifica Beach Coalition praised Hill for his support of efforts to reduce waste and preserve the imperiled Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle.
Hill was among the lawmakers who voted in favor of legislation by Assemblyman Paul Fong (AB 1776) that declares the Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle California’s official state marine reptile. Under the new law, October 15 will be Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day starting in 2012.