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A Poem For Our Ocean

ocean off Dana Point.heic

Beneath the azure waves, a world of wonder lies,

A realm of creatures, beneath the open skies.

But a shadow looms, a perilous, looming theme,

The danger of pollution, of trash in the marine.


In the ocean’s depths, where coral gardens thrive,

Plastic waste drifts, where marine life strives.

Turtles and dolphins, whales so grand,

Deserve a home free of the debris on the sand.


The ocean’s vast beauty, a treasure to behold,

Yet our thoughtless actions tarnish, and stories untold,

Of seagulls tangled in plastic, of dolphins in distress,

Remind us of the urgency, to clean up this mess.


Let’s unite as stewards, beacons of the shore,

With every piece we rescue, with every call to restore.

For the oceans hold mysteries, so ancient and profound,

We must protect their magic, keep their waters safe and sound.


Educate and inspire, let compassion take its role,

In keeping trash out of the ocean, our collective goal.

Together, we can make a difference, let the message scream,

Preserve the deep blue, and keep our oceans clean.


Dana Point, California

Founded in 2020 Stand Up To Trash is on a mission to protect and conserve our ocean by raising awareness of the negative effects of plastic pollution through environmental education. Our goal is to inspire sustainable changes and offer resources to be a part of the solution.

Our Vision - We believe in caring for the community and the planet. We’re here to inspire and educate. Nourishing the importance of responsible ocean stewardship by adopting and embracing new sustainable habits.

Our program, Beach Cleanup w/ Lunch & Learn teaches awareness to the global plastic pollution problem, giving alternatives (31 Ways To Be An Ocean Steward) to single use items with Lunch & Learn offering monthly guest speakers on various environmental topics as inspired solutions. 

While, The Ocean Starts At Your Front Door teaches about the water cycle, watersheds, the gyres, our MPA (Marine Protected Area) and has participants take The Ocean Pledge.   


We’ve worked with the Capistrano Unified School District and hosted San Juan Elementary School, as well as special needs classes of Shorecliffs Middle School and Dana Hills High School. We’ve also partnered with UC Irvine Global Sustainability Classes, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County and The Inland Empire and Boys & Girls Club of Capistrano Valley. Our most recent partnership is with UC Riverside Sustainability Classes and the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians Acjachemen Nation.



We're recruiting an army of ocean defenders! 

Meet us at the beach for an organized beach

clean up! Help us rid the ocean and our

beautiful beaches from trash pollution. Your

hands-on effort makes all the difference! Just

bring your positive spirit and smile. Trash bags

and gloves will be provided. 

Protect and conserve our ocean by raising

awareness of the negative effects caused by

plastic pollution through environmental education

for future generations.


Reports sat that around 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed each year due to plastic ingestion. Unfortunately, several marine species are on the verge of extinction because of the such type of ocean pollution. 

Meet The 


Vicki Patterson


Vicki Patterson Stand Up To Trash

As Founder and Program Director, I'm passionately committed to the ocean. I love bringing the community together and with over 20 years of nonprofit experience, I'm excited to make a difference in the world for the next generation. 

Annabelle Miller

Vice President

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As a mermaid at heart, I have a love and gratitude for the ocean. I am an elementary educator and passionate about our youth. I believe in the power of education, and love working with Stand Up To Trash in order to inspire and educate our future generations on how to protect our Earth, and be an active part of their community. After school, you can find me on the boat dock, or a sunset walk on with my dog, Sunni. 

“Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly.” -Van Morrison

Milena Rumak

Business & Strategy Advisor

Milkena Rumak of Stand Up To Trash

As an educated Environmental Biologist, and an experienced Project Manager with over 14 years in the financial services industry, Milena is excited to join the Stand Up To Trash team, and help make some significant waves!  


Milena is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and ScrumMaster (CSM), and committed to serving the environment (especially the ocean), she loves and enjoys so much.

When she's not working, you can find her paddle-boarding, swimming, hiking, cycling, or somewhere outdoors with her dog.

SECRETARY and Education Specialist

Tanya Torres


Tanya Torres is currently working at California Sea Grant Extension supporting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program. She holds a Master of Science Degree in Natural Resources and Environmental Management from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Born and raised on the island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi , Tanya grew up with a natural connection to the ocean and land around her. Before making the move across the Pacific, Tanya spent six years volunteering and working with one of Hawaiʻi's largest local beach cleanup nonprofit organizations, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi. Her passion for clean beaches, waste reduction, and empowering communities to take action has led her to the Stand Up To Trash team! When she's not cleaning up trash, Tanya enjoys surfing, hiking, being on the water, being outdoors, cooking, and eating! 

Dee Carroll

Advisory Board

Dee Carroll.heic

A committed life long sailor, Dee has seen her share of trash at sea and knows the importance to keeping it out!


She spends her free time picking up trash, giving or sailing wherever and whenever she can!

Sea Turtle


Help protect our beloved oceans and the beautiful animals that dwell in it.


Plastic is forever. Every single piece of plastic ever made still exists. 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled. Every day around 8 million pieces of plastic makes their way into our oceans. Up to 80% of marine debris is plastic and comes from runoff, creating a steady stream of plastic into the ocean. In the marine environment, plastics do not biodegrade, they photo-degrade, breaking up from recognizable items of all sizes and shapes into tiny particles.


There are five gyres in the ocean. One in the Indian Ocean, two in the Atlantic Ocean, and two in the Pacific Ocean. Garbage patches of varying sizes are located in each gyre. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is a floating mass of plastic twice the size of Texas. It is located in the North Pacific Gyre (between Hawaii and California), and is the most famous. 



Production of the most common plastic, polyethylene, is on track to jump more than 40 percent by 2028 in the U.S. Fossil fuel companies such as Exxon, Mobil and Dow have invested more than $180 billion into building 17 new plastic production facilities.

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