12 • 17 • 2019

Student Activists: Meet The New Kids on the Porch

This fall, four elementary school students in Decatur, Georgia, used the occasion of their neighborhood ‘Porchfest’ event to raise money for the Surfrider Foundation. The 4th and 6th graders from the neighborhood of Oakhurst include Martha Boudreau, Maddie Pearson, Adele Boudreau and Tessa Cannon (and an honorable mention to 1st grader, Teddy Pearson).

The students worked tirelessly to raise $650 for the Surfrider Foundation by selling hotdogs, popcorn, and cookies for donations during Oakhurst's Porchfest. The girls are studying plastic pollution in our oceans and wanted to benefit an organization that is working to address the issue on the ground.

The students, led by Martha Boudreau, share how they got involved: 

How did you first learn about the Surfrider Foundation?

We were looking at different foundations that help clean the oceans.

Why did you choose to raise money to support the Surfrider Foundation?

We have an event in our neighborhood every year, called Porchfest, and during Porchfest we raise money for a different organization every year to help solve a problem. This year, when we were looking at organizations to help clean the oceans, we came across the Surfrider Foundation, so we looked into it and decided it would be the organization we wanted to help.

How did your neighbors at Porchfest react to your efforts to raise money to help fight plastic pollution?

Everyone was supportive of the idea of making an effort to help raise awareness of plastic pollution and find a possible way of solving it.

What item that you sold did the best?

Since we've been doing this for a few years, people are aware that there are freshly cooked hotdogs at our station and enjoy them as a snack or meal, we even have a neighbor that always is really excited about them! But cookies definitely come in second place.

Decatur, GA isn’t near the ocean. Why are you concerned about our ocean, waves and beaches when you live far from it?

Adele, Maddie, Tessa, and I all enjoy going to the beach and it's just heartbreaking to see all the plastic pollution. Also, Maddie and I had been learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and plastic pollution around the time when we were deciding what to support and we decided to help get rid of plastic pollution.

Do you have a favorite beach to visit? What beach activity do you enjoy the most?

Some of our favorite beaches are Seaside and St. George Island, and some of our favorite activities to do at the beach are swimming, playing games, and just relaxing on the warm sand.

Have you observed harmful impacts of plastic pollution on the beach and elsewhere?

We've observed plastic impacts on the beach, in the ocean and when Maddie and I were learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Have you taken steps to reduce your own use of plastics? How?

We've reduced our amount of plastic by using reusable bags, reusing plastic bags and not using plastic straws whenever we can. 

Do you have any advice for other young people who might want to help protect the environment as you have?

Some advice we have is to help spread awareness of what plastic is doing to our environment and try to reduce the amount of plastic you use on a daily basis.