Voices

Heal Our Planet: Girl Up USA Day of Action

This Earth Day, receive $250 from Girl Up USA & Ocean Wise to help clean up our shorelines & create a sustainable future!

  1. Story

Plastic pollution is a problem that affects us all. Over 11 million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year – and that number is expected to triple by 2040! The only way to effectively tackle this critical issue is by working together.  

Girl Up USA and Ocean Wise are teaming up, and we would love to take action with you for Earth Day 2024! Our Heal Our Planet Campaign is a collaborative initiative designed to encourage you to make a positive impact on the environment. 

Learn, Train, and Act.

By investing in girls, Ocean Wise is investing in our shared future.  

Girls between the ages of 13-24 have a unique opportunity to receive a $250 award to host a Shoreline Cleanup and make a difference for the ocean and other bodies of water, and for their communities.  

Interested in leading or joining a Shoreline Cleanup? You won’t be alone! 20 different leaders will participate in the collective impact of that action.  Join us in creating a sustainable future, one shoreline clean-up at a time!

Apply now!

Why Lead a Shoreline Cleanup? 

Leading or joining a Shoreline Cleanup is a simple and tangible way for you to meaningfully contribute to ocean conservation!  

By participating in a Shoreline Cleanup, you not only prevent plastic pollution from harming marine wildlife, but you also contribute to a collective action effort to track how much and what kind of trash is showing up on shorelines. This data is aggregated and used in plastic reduction advocacy to government and businesses, amplifying the impact of your ocean conservation efforts!  

Application Overview 
  • Fulfill Application Criteria:
    1. Age 13-24
    2. Must identify as a girl, young woman, or gender non-conforming youth
    3. From/located in the United States.  
    4. Ability to lead clean-up efforts on a shoreline (river, ocean, stream, etc.)
    5. A shoreline is wherever water meets land” which could be lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, brooks, estuaries, or the ocean – you name it!  
  • Attend Mandatory Action Training Webinar on March 6, 2024 at 8:00 PM ET 
  • Submit Application by March 10th at 11:59 PM ET  
  • Take action for our Heal Our Planet Day of Action between April 19-28
  • Submit Action Report by May 10, 2024, including:
    • Data compiled from the clean-up using Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup Data Card  
    • A 2-minute video and collection of photos 
Let the Journey Begin! 

Apply now!

LEARN

Girl Up’s Heal Our Planet Course
Ready to take your climate IQ to the next level? Heal Our Planet is THE course to level up your knowledge and turn it into real change. Girl Up’s new go-to learning resource for climate-savvy advocates who know the basics but crave a deeper dive. Let’s go beyond the basics and fight for our planet!

TRAIN

Action Training Webinar, Wednesday, March 6th from 8:00-9:00 PM ET
Thinking about leading a Shoreline Cleanup and unsure where to start? Register here, and join Girl Up and Ocean Wise, sponsored by TE Connectivity for an. The Action Training Webinar on Wednesday, March 6 at 8:00 PM ET covering:  

  • The value of individual action and its role in collective impact on the ocean 
  • How to talk about and advocate for ocean conservation 
  • Why Shoreline Cleanups are impactful and how to apply for a Heal Our Planet Award

This training is mandatory to receive the financial Heal Our Planet Award. 

ACT

Host a Shoreline Cleanup for our Heal our Planet Day of Action

In honor of Earth Day on April 22nd, we will be asking Girl Up youth to host their Shoreline Cleanups between April 19th and April 26th.  On the day of your Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup, you’ll gather your clean up team to: 1) collect waste, 2) measure your impact, and 3) collect your story. Be sure to note that your Action Reports will be due May 10th at 11:59 PM EST. 

Application Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have a deadline extension?

Unfortunately, due to the high number of applications we receive, we cannot offer application extensions. 

What tips do you have for applicants?

  • Be passionate about climate change
  • Apply within the application window
  • Attend our mandatory action training webinar
  • Be precise about the body of water you’ve selected as your clean-up site 

How will the application be evaluated?

Girl Up USA is looking for campaign participants who demonstrate:

  • Climate Knowledge: Demonstrated understanding of climate concepts and passion for environmental sustainability. 
  • Campaign Enthusiasm: Eagerness to engage in the Girl Up Heal Our Planet Course and Ocean Wise campaign.
  • Action Plan Creativity: Innovative and feasible shoreline clean-up proposal.
  • Community Engagement: Thoughtful approach to involving the community in clean-up efforts.
  • Outcome Measurement: Clear strategy for measuring and reporting clean-up outcomes.
  • Storytelling Skills: Ability to share and inspire through storytelling. 

Do I need to be a member of the Girl Up community to apply?  

No, you do not need prior involvement with Girl Up to apply.  However, you do need to be someone between the ages of 13 and 24 and who identifies as a girl, young woman, or gender non-conforming youth

I am experiencing technical difficulties with the application (e.g. I can’t log in to my application, etc.)?

For all technical questions and support please email awards@girlup.org.  

What if I have more questions?

Please email awards@girlup.org.

“Before starting our monthly Shoreline Cleanups I was quite upset by the amount of litter, especially styrofoam, that I would see in our local parks and around my neighborhood. Ducks swimming around and dodging styrofoam was my breaking point. So, I got my friends together and we cleaned up our first shoreline. We have been hooked ever since! 2 weeks ago, we completed our 17th clean-up and retrieved over 40 pounds of litter otherwise headed back into the Fraser River and then the Pacific Ocean. As a small group, our cleanup club is the most rewarding contribution to our planet we can make on a regular basis.”

Nikki, Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup Leader, @itsnaturallynikki & @fraserrivercleanupclub

About Ocean Wise 

Ocean Wise is a global conservation organization on a mission to build communities that take meaningful action to protect and restore our ocean. Through research, education, public engagement, and international collaborations, Ocean Wise empowers communities to fight three major ocean challenges: ocean pollution, overfishing and climate change. By equipping and empowering individuals, communities, industries, and governments, we can create a future where people and our ocean can thrive.  

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