Over the next three years, Clark Magnet High School students will document the debris plaguing the marine life off the California coast with help from a $99,767 grant they recently received from State Farm.

Clark Magnet teacher Dominique Evans-Bye, who will advise the students on the project, has traveled with them to the Pacific Ocean three times over the summer where they documented debris such as fishing lines, plastics and nets that pose a hazard to birds, fish, whales and dolphins.

The funds will also help pay for a new remotely operated vehicle for the team, capable of recording video and coordinates of the debris in the ocean. The rover that Evans-Bye plans to purchase with the grant funds will have sonar capabilities that will enable the students to see hundreds of feet below the water’s surface.

Evans-Bye and her students plan to return to the ocean in the winter, when visibility below the ocean’s surface is best, she said.

The students will also create public-service announcements about the hazards of littering, and how pieces of plastic such as bottle caps, cigarette lighters or plastic bags slowly kill the animals who unknowingly consume them, unable to digest the plastic.

“Living here in Glendale, when the kids eat lunch at school, and they don’t pick up their trash, they’re not thinking it can get to the ocean,” she said.

The grant was awarded by car insurance company State Farm, which has a youth advisory board of 30 college and high school students who chose to support Clark’s project because of its environmental goals, according to Brianna Pang, a Stanford student who is on the board.

Clark Magnet was one of 64 groups to receive a grant from State Farm.

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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