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    Earth Day at McGrath State Beach on Saturday, April 12


    VENTURA, CALIF. (March 20, 2014) – Friends of Channel Coast State Parks, the nonprofit cooperating association that serves the Channel Coast district of the California State Parks, will be joining with Ventura County Supervisor John Zaragoza and SoCal Gas to host a volunteer event in honor of Earth Day at McGrath State Beach on Saturday, April 12.

    McGrath State Beach, which narrowly escaped closure in 2011 due to a failing sewer line, has continued to be plagued by problems, suffering nearly continuous flooding since the fall of 2012. Supervisor Zaragoza has been a longtime supporter and key player in the effort to keep the park open to the public. 

    “I am very proud to be one of the leaders of a group that worked together to keep McGrath State Beach open,” said Zaragoza. “McGrath is a very important part of our community. I am gratified that we will have an opportunity to work for a third year with SoCal Gas, California State Parks officials, Friends of Channel Coast State Parks, and our other partners to clean up and beautify McGrath as a way to celebrate Earth Day.”

    The idea for the event was first hatched by Supervisor Zaragoza and Michele Pettes, the Public Affairs Manager for SoCal Gas, in 2012.  Pettes was seeking an environmental project to support for Earth Day, one that would bring SoCal Gas employees together and help fulfill the company’s mission of community partnership. Regarding this mission, Pettes remarked, “Our employees live and work in the communities we serve and we are proud to help support the preservation and beautification of a special spot to all of us in Ventura County, McGrath State Beach.”

    Based on turnout from previous events, organizers are expecting about 150 volunteers.  Due to the flooding endured by the park over the past two years, an abundance of cleanup projects are on tap.  Volunteers will be working to beautify the Park’s areas, to remove mud and dead vegetation, and to help get the Park ready for the summer season.

    Tyson Butzke, Sector Superintendent for California State Parks, will be overseeing the project, along with the maintenance staff for the district. “There is a lot of work that needs to be completed before McGrath State Beach is safe and clean and ready to be open to the public again.  We know that the volunteers that come to support this event will do a wonderful job in helping us clean up McGrath State Beach and get it ready for visitors.”

    This event is just one of many being hosted by Friends of Channel Coast State Parks in 2014, a year that marks not only the 30th anniversary of the organization, but also the 150th anniversary of the California State Parks system. “From volunteer service projects to our kayak program, from our new speaker series to the Ventura Beach Festival, we are in the midst of a very, very busy year!” laughed Melissa Baffa, the organization’s executive director.  “We are so honored by the support we have received from our local community, including Supervisor Zaragoza and other elected leaders,  and SoCal Gas and other corporate partners. Our parks are an important part of the landscape here along the coast, not just physically, but socially and economically as well.  People here have a real passion for our public spaces, something we are reminded of every day.”

    Volunteers of all ages are invited to participate, and groups are especially welcome. Check-in will begin at 8:30 am on April 12th, with the event kickoff starting shortly after 9:00 am.  Volunteers are encouraged to wear layers, a hat, and sunscreen, and to bring their own work gloves and gardening tools (clearly labeled). Lunch, water, coffee, and snacks will be provided for all volunteers, as well as a free day-use pass to any of the Channel Coast State Parks good for the rest of the weekend, and another small gift from Friends of Channel Coast State Parks.

    Pre-registration is requested; those interested in registering, can either send an email to [email protected] , or visit www.friendsofccsp.org/earth-day-at-mcgrath-sb, where more information and an online registration form can be found.


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