Fifth Grade’s Call to Action: Protect Humpback Whales and No Offshore Oil Drilling

Each year the Mount Madonna School fifth grade class works on a cross-curricular environmental project. This year the students are focusing on Pacific humpback whales. As part of their multi-faceted project, the students are working to gather public comment to prevent the opening of our local coastline (and anywhere along the Pacific coast) to oil drilling.

The United States Department of the Interior recently announced its intent to offer leases along 90% of the U.S. coastline and some of those leases are along California’s Central Coast.

There is a public comment period open until March 9 and fifth grade students are hoping to gather as many public comments as possible in support of preventing oil drilling along the coast to help protect the whales and the ocean ecosystem.

Fifth graders have worked in groups to compose a letter of appeal to share with friends and family, a video and flyers to post publicly, which they hope will inspire others to comment and share on their social media and email, ultimately encouraging more people to post make their voices heard before the March 9 deadline.

Following is the student-written appeal to share with  family and friends.

Dear Friends and Family:

In 2010 there was an oil spill called the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico near Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana. More than 200 million gallons of oil was spilled and it lasted 87 days. This was the biggest oil spill in U.S. history, so far. It took three years and $20 billion to fix it… and we are still seeing the effects on wildlife from this spill. Even more recently, in 2015, over 143,000 gallons of oil was spilled along the coast of California near Santa Barbara.

 We don’t want this to happen again!

 After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, citizens and businesses became uncertain if oil drilling was safe, and so they passed a law saying it was illegal to oil drill in most areas. Even now people in Santa Barbara have to carry around paint thinners to scrape off tar balls after going to the beach because of the oil drilling off the coast.

The current administration plans to open up oil drilling along almost all U.S. coastlines endangering ocean wildlife and destroying our pristine beaches. We, as citizens, can protect our beaches from the dangers of oil drilling. The government is giving us a chance to stand up and comment against oil drilling along our coastlines. It is important to let the government know that oil drilling will destroy our beaches, harm wildlife, hurt our jobs and make the value of our homes go down. Tourism, which brings a lot of jobs to many areas, will be hurt badly because you don’t want to look out your beach-side hotel window and see oil rigs.  

Let the government know you want to protect our coastlines and comment “NO OIL DRILLING” along U.S. coastlines by going to and search for docket number BOEM-2017-0074.

Click on the first link, “NOA of the 2019-2024 Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program.”

It doesn’t matter your political party, it’s about protecting beaches, jobs, homes and wildlife. It’s about having a nice day at the beach with your family. This is a brief opportunity to use your voice to help keep the oceans the way our ancestors left them for us and the way we should leave them for generations to come.


The Mount Madonna School Fifth Grade Class

Students’ video (please share)

Students’ flyers (please share and post):

Students’ email appeal to share (Adobe pdf)


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Director of Marketing & Communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.