Hundreds of third- to fifth-grade students from Title I schools in Los Angeles County visited Santa Monica Beach Tuesday, Sept. 21 to take part in Heal the Bay’s Coastal Cleanup Education Day.

The event took place south of the Santa Monica Pier just days before thousands of volunteers are expected to help remove trash from county beaches and waterways as part of the environmental organization’s annual Coastal Cleanup Day Saturday, Sept. 25.

During the event, the students visited integrated education stations to learn about pollution prevention and beach exploration, and they also toured Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. The day included a group beach clean-up.

Heal the Bay organized Education Day as part of its coordination of Coastal Cleanup Day in Los Angeles County on Sept. 25, in conjunction with the California Coastal Commission.

Heal the Bay representatives noted that because many of the visiting students had never been to the beach, the program teaches them about the importance of the ocean and their connection to it. The effort enables students to become environmental stewards in their schools, neighborhoods and homes, according to Heal the Bay.