School groups: Paying one can at a time
Providing as many people as possible access to learning about the ocean and Southern California’s marine life has always been a core philosophy at CMA. This is one of the reasons the Aquarium requests donations in lieu of an entrance fee and instead of requiring school groups to pay for tours, each class is asked to bring one bag of aluminum cans. But as with all things at the Aquarium, there’s a story behind the cans.
Many years ago when John Olguin was Director of CMA, he started receiving pressure from leadership within the City of Los Angeles’ Recreation and Parks Department to charge school groups for tours. Olguin diplomatically refused, he was adamant that school tours remain free to give all children in the greater Los Angeles area an opportunity to visit the Aquarium. He didn’t want a fee to prevent teachers from scheduling field trips; the cost of hiring buses was already more than enough to deal with.
Then eureka! He came up with a compromise: Ask each class to bring one large bag of aluminum cans. “John came up with this idea to help defray costs and to give kids a sense of empowerment,” said CMA Programs Director Larry Fukuhara. “He thought it was important to give children a role in having the opportunity to visit the Aquarium. By paying with aluminum cans, children realize the value of their visit and it keeps them connected to the Aquarium’s mission.”
The aluminum can proposal appeased people within the Recreation and Parks Department and had the added benefit of getting kids to think about recycling. A new tradition was born. CMA still asks school groups to bring one bag of aluminum cans for each class.
The money received from recycling is invested back into Aquarium programs and children still have access to free field trips while learning about recycling. But it’s really much more than about the money, having children bring aluminum cans achieves the Aquarium’s broader goal to promote knowledge, appreciation and conservation of Southern California’s marine life. It’s a win-win all around.
Save some of your aluminum cans for the next field trip to CMA and find out how to recycle a wide variety of other materials by visiting the CalRecycle website
Post Date: Monday, November 05, 2012