Earth Team Cancels All Program Events Due to Air Quality Conditions

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Dear Earth Team community,

We wanted to share with all our  2018-19 Sustainable Youth Program interns and friends some thoughts regarding our planned events and the air quality issues in the Bay Area as a result of the Camp Fire.  This unprecedented fire is having a profound impact on communities across Northern California.  Although the fire may not directly impact us in the Bay Area, we have all been experiencing here the harmful effects of poor air quality.

Due to current circumstances, Earth Team will be canceling all program events beginning on Saturday, November 17th through Monday, November 26th.  All weekend events will be rescheduled to a later date, and weekly afterschool meetings will reconvene after Thanksgiving break.

Our intention is always to provide consistent programs for our students, holding to our schedules and plans, but safety is always first.

Earth Team would like to thank all of our interns and supporters for working together to improve the environment.

Please reach out to Joelle Alley at with any questions or concerns, and Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Earth Team Staff .


Ralph J. Bunche Academy Officially has a 3-Bin System!

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We are excited and proud to announce the official implementation of Ralph J. Bunche Academy’s 3-Bin sorting system! Ms. Greenlands Earth Science classes have been working hard for the past few months getting trained on how to sort, conducting audits, educating their student’s body and more.


The system was announced at Ralph J. Bunches Academy Wednesday assemblies. The audience was receptive and expressed pride in having a new system on campus.

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Following the assembly, the class got to work on signing and distributing the bins! It was a team effort and it feels so great to have the project come to fruition.


Youth Work Together to Create a Sorting Slogan Video!

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Student Blog 

The sorting video was a video we made in order to offer a visual aid to the audience along with our examples of waste being sorted. The video also had slogans to make sorting easier for those that watch it. While the original video covered most of what needed to be said, the aesthetic of the video needed a lot of improvement.

We split into multiple working committees and began working on different sections such as updating slogans, designing an introduction, and recording footage. We followed the original order when putting the video back together but tried to re-edit and upgrade as much as we could. This included updating the introduction to make it simpler and applicable to any school, adding a voiceover, updating the slogans so they rhyme, and changing the music. 

Some of the challenges we faced while making this video was the struggle to get the right shot. We needed to go back and reshoot some clips several times. It was also a challenge to get the trash we used in the shoot. Although we had some challenges we worked well as a team to overcome them. 

We are hoping that this video will give the Oakland Tech Community a nice refresher on what trash can go in what can. Hopefully, this video will produce lower contamination results for our next waste audit.

Check out our video on our youtube page!


Interns Present at the Zero Waste Youth Convergence!


Student Blog

The Zero Waste Youth Convergence brought together over 150 students and young leaders to be informed, discuss, and take action on waste issues. The day was compiled of diversity sessions throughout the day. Oakland Tech Earth Team had the chance to presented their Replication Package and got lots of positive feedback. The presentation consisted of a Kahoot live quiz to engage the audience, a slideshow, and finally a video. Even though it was a short 15 minutes everyone got a chance to speak and gain experience talking in front of such a large audience.

Check out a play by play of the day from our interns themselves! 

Morning Session Debrief:

The morning session overviewed what the event was about, outlined the events that followed later throughout the day, as well as covered a lot of information about past events. Event leaders were speaking, particularly environmentalist leaders. The speakers were talking a lot about their personal lives in addition to their environmental accomplishments. I learned that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. There was a lot of encouragement to put yourself out there and to stand up for what you believe in, no matter your age or your influence.

Afternoon Session Debrief: 

I went to the afternoon session that had presentations from different people talking about repurposing and reusing materials to keep them from going to the landfill. The first presentation was from the man that runs the brand Sonoma USA and he takes old billboards, signs, clothing, and other such materials that would otherwise be thrown out and he turns them into different kinds of bags that he sells. I really liked his presentation because he talked about how he was already in the textiles industry and he saw the opportunity to keep some items out of the landfill and decided to make it happen with the resources he had. He also mentioned that he has other plans for the future to expand this idea. One example was how he wants to work with his local dry cleaner to replace the plastic covers that are on clothes before they are returned to their owners. He wants to create custom bags for people out of similar materials that he makes his bags from.

The other afternoon presentation that I saw was by people talking about “repair cafes” that they have where they set up tables with tools in a big gym and many people bring their broken electronics. The community of people works together and about 70% of the appliances are fixed by the end of the day. This was a cool concept because it encourages people to put effort into their electronics and not just buy a new one because it is broken. To me, this seems like a good way to keep things out of the landfills and become more independent people.


Earth Team’s Presentation Debrief: 

We presented about three bin system; specifically our replication package. We wanted to provide it as a resource for people from other schools and communities at the convergence who might be interested in implementing or improving their own three-bin systems. As a group, I think we communicated our message clearly and played our individual roles well. It felt like we were part of a movement bigger than just us, just tech, or just earth team.

Final Session Debrief: 

After we presented, there was the group of girl scouts and Alameda high school on boba straws. I liked seeing the Girl Scouts present because they knew so much and attacked such big goals at such a young age. Their PSA was so good! Then, they turned it around and was like “you can help” it was really cute and informational. I love seeing younger people involved in things like this and being aware of the things that happen in the world. Then there was Alameda High School with the boba straws. They made these kits for boba with a glass jar and a stainless steel straw. They got store owners to actually use the kits they’re selling. I loved seeing people my age doing so much good in the world and motivating to see what people can achieve when they’re committed and care. I hope they never stop!

The panel was also very informative and inspiring. I learned a lot about how to make a change in systems like schools, city government, etc. I definitely took away that it is possible to make a big difference, even when there is resistance to it.

Thank you to all the volunteers that made this year’s Zero Waste Youth Convergence happen! We had a great time!


Push to Purpose: Interns Engage with Adult Mentors

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Oakland Tech Earth Team participated in the first ever Push to Purpose Event where they heard from an adult mentor panel on how to get paid for social justice and environmental activism work. The group was from a wide range of backgrounds, from farmers to environmental lawyers.

The group listened as each of them told their story of how they arrived at their current line of work. After the scripted questions were completed, our student participants had a chance to ask more questions. The group enjoyed the panel and felt that it was very insightful.

The second portion of the event was reserved for students developing their elevator pitch. Each individual was guided on how to communicate their passions in a way that would advance their career opportunities. After having something written up, the group walked around and tested it on the adult mentors. A lot of these conversations resulted in students receiving business cards, contact info, internship opportunities and more.

The following meeting, the group reflected the event. Each individual shared what had them thinking during the event, what made them feel any sort of way, and what exactly they were going to take away from the day. Overall, the group had A LOT of positive things to say!


It was a great time learning about social justice and environmental careers. Thank you to all the coordinators who put on the event and for all the adult mentors that showed up to support our student’s youth development!


Rainy Day Litter Clean Ups!

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Our interns were adamant that they wanted to spend their rainy day after-school meeting cleaning up the shoreline. After learning about the drainage system in Oakland, the urgency to collect litter and stop it from entering the Bay was of high importance.

Interns collected over 1,000 pieces of litter in a short amount of time. Majority of the litter collected was plastic and styrofoam. The student group expressed feeling frustrated by the amount of trash that was along the shoreline. A lot of it was outside of their reach. While they did their part cleaning up, they engaged in lots of conversations of what else could be done.

Students suggested bringing out a machine to scoop out the vast amounts of trash, but they re-evaluated that idea acknowledging that that would mean putting a lot of organics in the landfill and potentially destroying the ecosystem for critters. The conversations continued with all individuals bouncing ideas back and forth.

While it was disappointing to clean up so much trash and still leave a lot behind, the conversations and passion left the group hopeful and motivated.


Peer to Peer Training: Interns Collaborate to Conduct a Contamination Waste Audit

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Our Earth Team programs have a diversity of service learning projects that we work on; this creates the perfect space for peer to peer training and project sharing.

Pinole Earth Team recently had a 3-Bin system implemented at their school and expressed interest in learning more about sorting and how their system was working so far. To kick things off, Oakland Tech Campus Coordinator joined in on a Pinole after-school meeting to train the students on how to properly sort and why it’s important. It was a fun day of hands-on activities and conversations about how to reduce waste in all aspects of life.

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After being trained on how to sort, Pinole Earth Team interns were eager to conduct a contamination waste audit of their school’s new system. Who better than to lead them through the process than our Oakland Tech Waste experts?

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Pinole interns backed in the van and headed to Oakland Tech campus, and their school waste joined them on their journey. Oakland Tech interns partnered up with Pinole interns and guided them through all the different components of the audit; collecting data, sorting into bins, analyzing data and of course how to have fun while doing it!

Pinole Earth Team expressed feeling grateful for the opportunity to explore more about the waste reduction field. Oakland Tech Earth Team expressed enjoying getting to share more about their project. Both teams really enjoyed meeting each other!

Overall, Pinoles data was decent given its still brand new. The team has received Tech’s “Implementation Package” as a resource for continuing to improve their system.



Oakland Tech Earth Team Supports Richmond High’s Wanlass Work

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This past week, Oakland Tech Earth Team headed to Wanlass Park to support the multi-year tree planting project that Richmond High Earth Team has been working so hard on.

Students worked with Ben, Urban Forestry Manager, and learned about the history of the project and the goals for the near future. Youth supported the project by assisting with some maintenance of trees that have already been planted. This included pulling weeds and invasives near the base of the tree and mulching the area to assist with water retention and weed suppression.

A couple of our repeaters were very happy to be out at Wanlass. Jade and Asha had planted a few trees last year and were excited to see that the trees were doing well.

Interested in learning how to plant a tree? Reach out to  to learn about events coming up in the near future!



Youth Conduct a Rainy Day Litter Assessment at Dimond Park

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To start of the year, interns from Oakland Tech braved the rainy weather and headed to their local park to clean up any litter before it entered our waterways.

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The group split up and covered the entire park very quickly, collecting over 500+ of litter. Students really enjoyed being back together again, and even though it was a little wet and rainy, being outside was a great way to start off the new semester.

Thanks for reading!



Youth lead 100+ Community Members in Data Collection for an Impactful MLK Day Celebration!

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To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., Oakland Tech Earth Team interns partnered with Save the Bay and over 100 community members to clean MLK Shoreline.

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Save the Bay kicked off the day by giving great insight into the area and the effects that litter has on our bay. After setting the foundation for the day, Earth Team interns gave a short presentation on citizen science, introduced the Marine Debris Tracker app, and invited community members to participate in collecting data on all the litter that was going to be collected for the day.

Our data collectors were a bit outnumbered by litter picker-uppers, but that didn’t stop them from categorizing and collecting data on over 4,760 litter items. Our interns were joined by a few high school folks from a College Prep school nearby as well as a few young participants that downloaded the app on their phone to help out with data collection.

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After the day was over, interns expressed feeling a sense of inspiration coupled with a bit of anger and disappointment. Over 1,000 lbs of litter were collected from the shoreline, to which they all agreed was WAY too much. Although the amount of litter was a bit disheartening, the number of people that showed up to give back to the Earth made for a very impactful day.

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Thank you to Save the Bay for putting on this incredible event! We love the work you do and can’t wait to join you again soon!