Stephanie Lee, 2014 intern, comes from Los Angeles and studies Marine Biology at the University of California San Diego.
You don’t experience much nature in a big city like Los Angeles. One of the beautiful things about California, however, is that all types of terrain are a car’s ride away from the metropolis. The mountains are my neighbors, the desert is my backyard, and the ocean is a stone's throw away. When you tire of the hustle and bustle of the city, you have many options for getaways. My particular favorite is the beach. Nothing is more relaxing than the push and pull of the waves, the white noise of crashing surfs, and the ocean spray kissing your face. I can stare off into the horizon for hours on end, taking in the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Ocean. It is the perfect pastime for me, except when the thought of marine organisms dying from the pollution crosses my mind. Instead of letting it bother me every time I step onto a sandy beach, I decided to become more familiar with this subject by expanding my horizons. I was not aware of just how much trash gets dumped into the ocean until I volunteered at the Santa Monica Aquarium. It was saddening and enraging to discover that people can get sick from swimming in the ocean after rain falls in Los Angeles due to the chemicals and debris that wash in from the storm drains. If people are negatively affected by the rubbish that flows from the cities, how would the animals feel? There are so many people helping people already, but who helps the organisms that live beneath the waters? The ocean is their home and it’s getting destroyed as a consequence of human development. I hope to gain the knowledge and experience I need to combat this issue through my internship with Rozalia Project this summer. I have a vision of a cleaner ocean in the near future, and I am determined to reach it.