Terra Nova student makes commitment to the Earth

pacifica tribuneTerra Nova student makes commitment to the Earth

  • By Jean Bartlett Features Correspondent

Pacifican Chloe Jefford, 17, began doing beach cleanups when she was in sixth grade. It wasn’t until relatively recently that the Terra Nova High School senior realized the Pacific Beach Coalition (PBC) was behind those cleanups.

“I went to a Sharp Park beach cleanup and overheard a conversation about the Beach Coalition’s weekly cleanups,” the Terra Nova senior said. “It was only then I realized the PBC’s involvement.”

With that knowledge, Chloe immediately made volunteering with the PBC a priority. Every second Saturday of the month, the PBC does a monthly cleanup at Sharp Park and Chloe goes to almost every single one. She also participated in the PBC’s September 19 Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) and spent time before the event posting CCD signs and announcements at her high school. On CCD, Chloe worked at the garbage/recycling dump site where all the trash is collected and tallied. She was also part of the creative art crew which completely renewed the old PBC signs, which note the locations of the nonprofit’s Pacifica cleanup areas and are carried annually in the Fog Fest Parade. She walked with the PBC in the parade and the volunteer additionally helped “man” the PBC’s Fog Fest booth. She recently attended her first PBC meeting.

The youngest of three sisters, Chloe and her family moved to Pacifica from Australia when she was in second grade. She attended second grade at Ortega Elementary and third through eighth grade at Vallemar Elementary. She plans to study animal science in college.

Along with PBC volunteerism, the high school senior has developed a substantial résumé, which includes playing basketball her freshman year (post position) and currently being a Peer Health Educator with the Sex Ed Squad. There are a total of five squads from the five high schools in the Jefferson Union High School District: Terra Nova, Oceana, Westmoor, Jefferson and Thornton. The Sex Ed Squad’s mission is to “attain a mastery of reproductive health sufficient to pass knowledge on to their peers in an accurate, non-judgmental, and compassionate manner.” The Terra Nova Sex Ed Squad works with Terra Nova freshmen.

“We also get involved with the other squads at other schools and have a competition for who’s the ‘best’ squad,” Chloe said. “It is really fun for me and everyone makes me feel comfortable which is what I really enjoy about it.”

Since participating in the monthly Sharp Park cleanups, the senior has been clearly surprised by the amount of cigarette litter.

“It is very surprising to me how many cigarette butts people just throw on the ground like it is nothing,” Chloe said. “I went on the Pier once and collected 1,100 cigarette butts. Crazy when it is illegal to smoke on the Pier.”

Watching how some of her fellow students give little regard to littering, has also instilled in the high school senior the knowledge that for her, helping to keep the Earth clean will be a lifelong commitment.

“I see the way some of the people from my school just disregard how harmful littering is and it is really disgusting,” Chloe said.

“It’s not a hard thing to do to help save the Earth that we all live on,” Chloe went on to say. “And it is gratifying to clean up locally because you know that you are not only helping clean the environment to help it sustain life better, but you are also making it cleaner for all of us who have to live around it.”

The high school senior has been surprised by the number of people who stop to thank her for her efforts when she is picking up litter.

“It is a nice feeling to be appreciated for such small things,” Chloe noted. Chloe would like to see more people take part in the PBC cleanups.

“It is only two hours of your life every Saturday and every little bit counts.”

Pacifica Tribune correspondent Jean Bartlett can be reached at editor@jeansmagazines.org.