In the face of drastic state cutbacks, Santa Monica based-Heal the Bay announced Dec. 27 a new fundraising initiative dubbed “Get On the Bus” to provide ongoing marine education resources to underserved teachers and Title I schools in Los Angeles County.

Many children living in Los Angeles have never smelled salt air, felt the wash of the ocean, or heard the sound of waves crashing, said a Heal the Bay spokesman. School field trips are in danger due to budget difficulties for many strapped districts.

Heal the Bay, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to making Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean, has historically helped fill this gap by facilitating marine science-based field trips, bus transportation, teacher training and curriculum development for dozens of Title 1 schools in Los Angeles County each year.

The “Get on the Bus” campaign seeks direct community financial support to offset government cutbacks to its award-winning education programs that assist schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families.

The initiative hopes to raise at least $30,000 by the end of the traditional school year.

In order to sustain these impactful programs, Heal the Bay is asking supporters to contribute to the “Get on the Bus” campaign by visiting http://www.healthebay.org/secure/donate-now.

Heal the Bay’s educational programs are consistent with California science standards and result in students gaining an understanding of watersheds, aquatic biodiversity and habitats, marine conservation, and pollution prevention.

Information, www.healthebay.org/educators.

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