What do you do with a live sand dollar?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2024

Stewardship Outreach Program Pismo Beach

The Pismo Beach Stewardship & Educational Outreach has the answer

—Sand dollars, those crusty white disks with intriguing leaf patterns that are spread over California beaches, are shell collectors’ treasures, especially for kids. Did you know those treasured finds are really the skeletons of sand dollars that have washed up on the beach?

If you find a live sand dollar on the beach, rescue it and put it back in the ocean so it can return home.

According to an online lesson from Pismo Beach Stewardship & Educational Outreach, a live sand dollar (scientifically named Echinarachnius parma and related to sea urchins, cucumbers, and starfish), is “dark in color (brown, tan, gray, purple),” and soft. Sand dollars live on the bottom of the ocean in groups of up to 600 and feed on plankton.

Pismo Beach Stewardship & Educational Outreach is setting a new standard for fun and informative environmental education. Locals, visitors, and kids of every age can learn through online educational and hands-on activities that include:

  • What to do when you find a live clam or sand dollar.
  • Learning about local flora and fauna.
  • Beach and trail etiquette for everyone and their dogs.
  • The importance of sharks, butterflies and other pollinators, seabirds, whales, and more.

The learning experiences are available online and by downloading lessons and activity sheets. The program also distributes coloring placemats to restaurants for kids. Educational activities and information are available to schools, educators, parents, kids, and lifelong learners.

What better way to get ready for a family visit to the Central Coast, than starting with fun educational material and some colorful art supplies?

The program also participates in and hosts special events throughout the year that celebrate and promote the importance of protecting the natural environment. Watch for their booth at events like the annual Pismo Beach Clam Festival held in October.

Stewardship for everyone

The Pismo Beach Stewardship & Educational Outreach program is made possible by support and funding from the Pismo Beach Conference & Visitors Bureau (CVB). The program informs locals and visitors alike on how their actions can sustain and improve the coastal area for generations to come.

To download the activity sheets, volunteer, or for more information visit experiencepismobeach.com/plan/pismo-beach-stewardship-educational-outreach/ or email georgina@tjaadvertising.com. Follow the program on social media.

—Jackie Iddings


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