College Eight students clean a beach, restore a lagoon and help the homeless

College Eight students will clean up Natural Bridges State Beach as part of a community-wide Day of Service on Saturday.

More than 100 UC Santa Cruz College Eight students will demonstrate their strong commitment to sustainability, conservation, social justice, and public service this Saturday when they take part in a community-wide Day of Service.

Among their projects: an organic farm harvest, a visit to the Homeless Garden Project, a beach clean-up, and some down-and-dirty habitat restoration.

The students will participate at various locations including UCSC Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), the Santa Cruz Younger Lagoon Reserve, the Santa Cruz Homeless Garden Project, and Natural Bridges State Beach.  The projects are learning opportunities for students who want to link their intellectual work at UCSC with hands-on practical experience.

Incoming College Eight students are required to take part in service projects. This year, 375 frosh are learning about food systems, agroecology, institutional sustainability, restoration, and conservation.  The Day of Service is a chance for them to reach beyond the classroom and find practical ways to expand their learning through partnerships and public projects.

Among the highlights of this Day of Service:

- A visit to the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems farm on campus at 9:30 a.m. Students will explore the history and ecology of organic farming practices. They will also take part in an organic food harvest.

- A visit to the Homeless Garden Project farm in Santa Cruz at 10 a.m. Students meet and watch the volunteers and staff working there.  They will learn about sustainable farming, organic agriculture and gardening while relating the work to the larger issues of social and environmental justice championed by the Homeless Garden.

- A clean-up at Natural Bridges State Beach at 10  a.m. Sponsored by Save Our Shores,  a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit marine conservation organization, this intensive clean-up day will give students a chance to learn about the impact of waste and a deeper understanding of waste cycles. In addition, they will participate in trash collection and removal from the adopted beach.

- A trip to the Santa Cruz Younger Lagoon Reserve at 2 p.m. Students will learn about and participate in restoration ecology for 6 different habitat types and over 100 endangered species of birds and fish. Students will learn about ongoing conservation at the reserve, and will also be able to get their hands dirty with the leaders of UCSC Natural Reserves.