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Whale Fest is latest community event for stewards of Pacifica beaches

Whale Fest in Pacifica created to get children involved with ocean life
Whale Fest in Pacifica created to get children involved with ocean life 03:32

A trio who's led the way in keeping San Mateo County beaches clean is launching a whale of an idea for Earth Day.

Lynn Adams shows students a giant skull displayed outside Ocean Shore School in Pacifica. It's a heads-up for the excitement to come.

"What's coming together is just simply magic," Adams said.

We first met Adams - along with fellow Jefferson Award winners Jim Fithian and his wife Ana Garcia - two years ago. They're leaders of the Pacific Beach Coalition, whose volunteers cleared more than 44,000 pounds of trash and recyclables last year off San Mateo County beaches.

Now they're diving into Whale Fest, a new Earth Day event celebrating the whales that migrate along the California coast.

"It calls attention to the biggest mammal in the whole world that's threatened," Adams explained. "Even though we've had protections, they're still challenged by a lot of things."

The West Coast has seen an unusually high number of gray whale deaths. Hundreds of whale carcasses have washed up on shores in the last five years because there wasn't enough food on their migratory route.

An investigation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently concluded that deadly trend is over. Whale Fest hopes to do its part: teaching people how to protect the whales and their environment.

Children will get to do hands-on activities demonstrating how whales look, feel and live. A long rope shows their enormous size, dipping a covered hand into water mimics their insulating blubber.

"We have someone doing whale poetry, which is unusual. What?! We have poetry!" Adams smiled.
There's even a special dance in keeping with the theme, "Shake your tail, save a whale." One of the dancers, second-grader Nova Martin, is already making her contribution.

"I do big beach cleanups," said Martin. "Sometimes I have to go back for another bucket or two because there's a lot of trash."

"I want people to love whales. I want people to think about whales," said Adams. "I want people to take the next step. What are we going to do?" 

Pacific Beach Coalition leaders like Adams, Fithian and Garcia hope people will leave Whale Fest ready to share their own tale of how to save the whales and their home.

Whale Fest will be held Earth Day, Saturday, April 20th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the North lot of Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica.

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