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Author: Subject: Giving Back...A restoration effort in Bahia de Las Animas
OCEANUS
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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 07:48 PM
Giving Back...A restoration effort in Bahia de Las Animas


For over 45 years, Marine Ecology students from Dana Hills High School have been making educational expeditions down to Bahia de Las Animas to apply their knowledge over a 9 day field study. Over the years, our group sizes have ranged from around 40 to 140 people on the beach. We make considerable efforts to minimize our impacts to this pristine area, but one aspect that had grown into a sizable problem was the area where we burn our trash.
What was once an abandoned well had been repurposed as a burn pit for trash by our group and decades of campers, fish camp residents, military, etc. Over the past several years, we have become increasingly frustrated with the size of this persistent mess, and were conflicted by our impacts to a protected habitat.
So, in an effort to give back to an area that has given us so much, I headed down with my son to LA Bay and Animas for a 6 day trip over the week of the New Year with the intent of cleaning up the dump.
We were joined by several friends and neighbors from town, representatives of Pro Natura, and had the blessing and help of supplies by CONANP to clean out the dump and literally move the debris Animas to the municipal dump outside LA Bay.

Here are some of our pics of the area upon arrival:

The dump area (left side)



...and the right side. We spent a half day on our 2018 trip to move trash from the periphery so that it was more centralized for this effort.



We first removed the bulky items (old cots, derelict fish traps, etc.) to the side so that we could access and start bagging up the smaller items



We filled several truckloads of bags and staged them in an area to load up at a later time.



[Edited on 1-12-2019 by OCEANUS]

[Edited on 1-12-2019 by OCEANUS]

[Edited on 1-13-2019 by OCEANUS]
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OCEANUS
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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 07:59 PM


Here is a pic of our bulky item collection...


By the end of the first afternoon, we had filled around 80, 50-gallon trash bags and had excavated down into an ashen dome which was an stratified combination of glass bottles, rusted metal, and remnants of who knows what.

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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 08:14 PM


Nice job, so much better after the clean up. Trash is always a problem in Baja, some areas seem to be doing a better job then others..
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OCEANUS
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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 08:26 PM


At the end of work on the first day...



Morgan and Malibu had joined us for all the fun, but were ready to call it a day too...


We camped out in Las Animas that evening and returned to the dump the following morning after breakfast with the goal of excavating the ashen dome and bagging up as much as we could carry.

I was digging into a pile of broken glass when my shovel unveiled an unexpected resident...a rosy boa! Luckily, the shovel blade did not damage it as it exposed it's hibernation den of rubbish.

Beautiful and docile, the boa allowed us to handle it for several minutes before we placed it in the sun to warm up and go find a new home that was not made of human trash.

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Because of the amount of broken glass and sharp metal, we utilized the woven mesh potato sack-like bags that were provided by the people at CONANP and by local merchants from LA Bay. We could fill about 60 lbs of material into these bags before they began to reach their limits.





Like the first day, we trucked the mesh bags over to a loading zone where they were staged for our trip back to town.
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We ended up filling around another 70-80 mesh bags before we ran out and focused our energy to the staging area where we loaded up the beds of 6 full-size trucks.


One final group picture of those who helped in this effort before we hit the road for the 40 mile trek back to LA Bay, and to off load our cargo...
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OCEANUS
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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 08:34 PM


A big THANK YOU goes out to all who donated their time, sweat, vehicles and heart to pull off this restoration effort. Your actions speak volumes, and I know we all felt a level of satisfaction to give back to a place that we had all gotten so much from.
From this point forward, we plan to haul out all of our metal, glass and plastic trash that we generate back to town, and to limit our incineration to paper goods like cardboard, plates towels, etc.
Our new trash protocols will be much more aligned with LNT practices, will honor the protections established for this area, and will serve as a positive model for my future students to be exposed to before venturing out on to their own Baja journeys in the future.
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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 08:43 PM


Very cool. Thanks.
Keep Baja beautiful. Take a bag of trash when you leave;)




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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 08:53 PM


good job guys!
I remember when this spot was clean - about 1986




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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 08:56 PM


Dana High has been around 45 yrs.? I can remember, as a
San Clemente High student in the '60's, gathering on or near the
spot where DH High stands on a Fri. nite, it was just an open field. Thanks for the
cleanup effort, everyone should leave it cleaner than they
found it




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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 09:49 PM


Good job!



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[*] posted on 1-11-2019 at 11:53 PM


Thank you for doing that!
The Dana Hills High biology teacher who was a big part of this field trip is a Baja Nomad. The Baja calendars he made to raise money so all the kids could go were epic.




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OCEANUS
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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 12:37 AM


That's right, DK.
Marv was right along with us on this clean up effort, he's the last guy on the right in the last posted picture.

[Edited on 1-12-2019 by OCEANUS]
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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 12:53 AM


Yes, Sancho. It's hard to believe, but DHHS opened in the Spring of 1973, and the Marine Ecology course that had previously been at San Clemente, moved to Dana as well. Up until that time, the students of the Baja Field Study went to Gonzaga Bay.
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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 08:36 AM


Quote: Originally posted by OCEANUS  
That's right, DK.
Marv was right along with us on this clean up effort, he's the last guy on the right in the last posted picture.

[Edited on 1-12-2019 by OCEANUS]


That's great!
Yes, Marv is a neat guy to know. When he was producing the calendars I had my Viva Baja events and Marv or Gail shared them and the story of the field trips to Las Animas...

2003 VIVA BAJA, Capistrano Beach

Marv Sherrill is a marine biology teacher at Dana Hills High School who (with wife Gail) produces the beautiful Baja Calendar. Sales of it help cover costs for students who go on his annual field trip to Bahia Las Animas. http://www.bajacalendar.com/

2002 VIVA BAJA, Oceanside

Gail of the beautiful Baja 2002 Calendars. Gail brought us a great film of Marv's school field trip to Bahia Las Animas. Calendar sales help the field trip. http://www.bajacalendar.com/





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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 08:54 AM


Very cool, I've never seen a rosy boa that big, I thought they stayed small because that's all I've seen. Good on you and you and your group.
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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 08:55 AM


Awesome post and effort!



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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 01:04 PM


Thank you OCEANUS!!

We just missed you by a few days. Wish we were there to help.
Guess I've never seen the dump there. Thankfully it will look much nicer if I ever do!

Let's do the fish camp next!! That will be a big job.

TT
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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 02:12 PM


Awesome work, folks.....
You resonate what is great about Nomads!!

Next time down I may stick my head in to Animas, promised last time it would be the last.
Pretty creepy folks about and lots of trash.

Interesting how all the junk cars that were along the carreterra disappeared a few years back. The steel market went way up, and steel scrap prices went through the roof,
so enterprising guys took flat beds down and hauled it all back.
A junk car could be worth as much as $400 or so (US)
Not so great on that market now, but back then it was a real cleansing deal for the landscape.
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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 03:28 PM


Have Roberto or Mike shoot us a fb message next time you have a project going on and need volunteers. If we're in town we're happy to help.

P>*)))>{




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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 05:04 PM


Wow what an epic cleanup you guys did....so proud of you!!!!!



for info & pics of our little paradise & whale watching info
http://www.bahiaasuncion.com/
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[*] posted on 1-12-2019 at 06:32 PM


Holy tamales! Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssireeeeeee

Very wonderful post! My 84 year old Mom and I cleaned up in La Bocana today and 3 middle schoolers appeared and helped out.

Your project was huge - 80 trash bags??? We filled 2 today.

Mother Earth smiled a little bit wider.




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