Each spring, the program engages students in California communities who learn about how their neighborhoods are connected to watersheds, beaches, and the ocean. The program includes school assemblies and classroom lessons that teach students how trash in neighborhoods travels to the coast and ways to reduce plastic pollution. Then there is a culminating event – a field trip to the beach.
The Kids Ocean Day annual field trip provides students a fun, handson opportunity to experience the beach, some for the first time. By bringing classroom lessons and the school assembly to life, the day helps enhance what students have learned by directly connecting kids to nature. At the same time, it allows kids to bask in the wonders of the ocean and the beach. Kids participate in a beach cleanup, create Aerial Art, and spend the afternoon playing in the sand. These field trips have been the most magical part of the environmental education program.
On the day of the beach event, kids gather together and form human aerial art designs that give them an opportunity to be artists and to be part of something larger than themselves. It is a way for them to express their love and concerns to the world.
John Quigley and Spectral Q created the Aerial Art Program so that students could send unified ocean protection messages. The program began in 1994 as part of the first Kids Ocean Day. Serving as the Statewide Aerial Art Director for the California Coastal Commission, John has overseen the massive displays of human art in eight California cities. His worldwide work of nearly 300 images, involving hundreds of thousands of people, includes more than 150,000 students for Kids Ocean Day (including programs in Hong Kong and Mexico).