News Archive

Youth Initiatives on Microplastics

Youth Initiatives on Microplastics Research and Action Campaign in LA


TopSail Youth Crew members from the LA Maritime Institute microplastic research team presented their findings taken on board our tall ships to the National Association of Biology Teachers national conference in San Diego. With additional support from AltaSea, 5Gyres, and Algalita, the students are now hosting international video conferences with other groups in Honduras, China and Japan to promote two international Youth Conferences.


LAMI youth crew members, also members of the Ánimo high school Marine biology club, (a.k.a. the LA Microplastics Team), have been carrying out research for nearly 2 years off the Institute’s brigantines. 5 Gyres has donated a Manta Trawl to help students collect microplastic samples at sea, and their research extends to regional beaches to measure for microplastics. They are working to inspire other environmental clubs at Leuzinger HS, El Camino College, Environmental Charter, South East HS, and others.

They are helping to organize environmental clubs throughout LA gearing up to an international environmental conference in Cuba in early July 2019, as well as an international youth conference on microplastics and ocean plastic pollution in Japan late July, 2019.


The student’s research, education and action campaign seeks to pressure companies and governments to respond to this environmental crisis. Additionally, the students’ work and example, which includes their on-going collaboration with teachers and students in Japan, Honduras, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, India, England, Tunisia, Chile is important.


The club is a model for other youth and provides bilingual resources for other students to research microplastics and then develop their own action campaigns. Their website is:


For more information on these two international conferences and how you can help get LAMI Youth Crew members there, contact


“School is Where the Kids Are” 

LA Maritime Institute holds Tribute to founder and visionary Jim Gladson

By Mark L. Friedman, RL contributor

The tall ships of the LA Maritime Institute, Exy Johnson and Irving Johnson, were in full sail and fully loaded as the ashes of LAMI founder Jim Gladson were distributed at sea, on Sunday, August 12.

The cannons fired, carnations were thrown, and later at the Celebration of Life memorial more than 150 community residents, former students of Jim Gladson, family, Area D alternative school and long-time LAMI supporters honored his life and the traditions and mission that he developed to create the Los Angeles Maritime Institute and its tall ships. It was a fitting tribute to a man and his vision for giving hope and direction to young people.

The day began with the flotilla of LAMI’s two tall ships, the twin brigantines, Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson, other small craft Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club committee boat and the City2Sea Streamliner heading out to sea from the San Pedro harbor and Ports O’Call.

The memorial meeting, chaired by Jim’s son Richard, included at least 30 veteran sailors, volunteers, shipmates and former students who sailed with Jim on his ships, including his sails up and down the Pacific Coast and to the Galapagos.  Speakers reminisced about the founding of the “alternative school” on board in 1973 to the most current successes of LAMI in taking out more than 6,000 youth in this past year on the tall ships for science and math engagement, leadership development and recreational activities. Almost all of these were disadvantaged youth who came aboard thanks to the support of the Port of Los Angeles, and other sponsorships.

Jim taught science and geography at multiple grade levels in Los Angeles for more than 35 years.  He took students out on his ketch, the Dubloon and after retiring from LAUSD he started the LA Maritime Institute Topsail Youth program with a team of volunteers and former students.  In 2010, Jim received Tall Ships America’s highest honor, the lifetime achievement award for “A Lifetime of Dedication to Sail Training.”

Under his motto “school is where the kids are” the Topsail program grew on Swift of Ipswich, then Bill of Rights and now, Irving Johnson, and Exy Johnson. LAMI director Bruce Heyman told the crowd Jim’s “strong passion and commitment to his vision brought us together… you made LAMI, as volunteers and as financial supporters. This generation is honored to carry on the legacy, just think of the tens of thousands of youth whose lives were changed due to their experience on board our tall ship.”

In 1993 Jim and volunteers began sailing the Swift of Ipswich.  LAMI then built and launched the twin brigantines, Exy Johnson and Irving Johnson, in the port of LA under Jim’s leadership.  The vessels were designated as the Official Tall Ships and Maritime Ambassadors of the City of LA.

Sid Thompson, former superintendent of the LA schools and coordinator of an educational program that worked with Jim told the audience of their “close collaboration in insuring that thousands of LAUSD youth experienced onboard activities.”

Former teacher Elizabeth Neat, explained how Jim taught responsibility to youth, that youth had to work out their own issues in student centered education and activities.

Jim’s granddaughter, Sareta, explained how “he wanted you to do it yourself.  He wanted us to figure it out ourselves.”

In a special issue of Random Lengths, the harbor independent newspaper, celebrating the 2005 Tall Ships LA Festival and the Los Angeles Maritime Institute, Jim and the Institute were featured throughout.

The cover photo is Jim and youth with the headline “Topsail Kids at the Helm … Youth Sailing Program Trains Children for Life.”

The issue includes inspiring articles with such titles as: “We Use the Sea to Train for Life… In the Wake of LAMI, Troubled Kids Can, Do Blossom.”

The memorial program includes excerpts from Capt. Jim Gladson’s writings:
“Real science consists of personal investigations followed by two questions: what did you find out?  And what do you think about it?  Obviously the only way to get a wrong answer would be to lie.”

In Launching the Twin Brigantines, Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson on April 27, 2002, he wrote “During the time we have been crafting these vessels another significant project has been just as busy.  There is a factory or an assembly line somewhere in the region that is producing “at risk” kids at a prodigious rate… There is one endangered species we cannot possibly afford to turn our backs on and that’s our next generation… These vessels are designed to being built as warships for the 21st century.  Our enemies are ignorance, fear and ineptitude; and above all, lack of confidence.  I thank you for your support.  But we still need your help to complete the ships to fit them out so that they can go forth and do battle with the conditions that produce so many kids whose personal visions do not yet include the expectation of a future with personal success.” (2002)

Random Lengths and LAMI urges the public to continue this legacy.   Please visit the website ( and consider supporting and volunteering to re-furbish the Swift of Ipswich or be volunteer crew to work with youth on-board.

LA Youth Energized by Algalita Innovators Conference

By Mark Friedman,  Los Angeles Maritime Institute Marine Science Educator

More than 50 youth from the South Bay attended the Algalita Innovation Forum on the weekend of Aug. 3 featuring youth-developed innovations to reduce ocean plastic pollution.

The three-day conference featured panel discussions and presentations about the latest commercial innovations as substitutes for plastic bottles, straws, bags and fishing nets (into skateboards). The teenage participants worked on innovations of their own and short video presentations.

Algalita bridges real-world science with real-time solutions to inspire teachers and students to find their place within the movement to combat plastic pollution, primarily through educating, and equipping local and global influencers to prevent plastic pollution.

Students like Los Angeles Maritime Institute Marine youth crew member Marlen Bautista, of the bilingual the Explora la Costa program exuded excitement about the future in combating plastic pollution.

“I really felt inspired that young people care about plastic in the ocean,” said the student, who serves an interpreter for LAMI. “I felt a sense of solidarity and community. What mostly impacted me was that I realized that everything I use has plastic. I feel guilty yet inspired to make a difference.”

“The reason why I take time out of my life to help other people’s problems is because I want to be the change,” added Jose Velasquez, an Animo High School student. “I want to see in the world.”

Algalita’s chief youth officer, Anushka Bhaskar, said she came away from the forum feeling renewed and inspired.

“Serving on a panel at the forum and leading a design workshop filled with participatory and engaged and passionate youth thinkers allowed me to share and learn from all parties in attendance,” Bhaskar said. “I plan to take my heightened understanding of the problem and possible solutions to Harvard in the fall.”

Over three days, youth heard presentations about the latest cutting-edge commercial innovations as substitutes for plastic bottles, straws, bags, fishing nets (into skateboards), etc.

Algalita Education Director Anika Ballent was pleased with the outcome of the forum.

“It was incredible to see the event come together and to share the depth of knowledge on the complexities of plastic pollution with these driven and passionate youth leaders,” Ballent said. “We hope we’ve prepared them and inspired them to find their unique place in making our world plastic-smart.”

They left the conference inspired to go back to their organizations and schools to educate their peers and advance conservation measures to reduce ocean plastic pollution.

Some of these youth will be participating in next year’s Algalita POPS Forum and helping to lead and organize the international youth conference on marine science and ocean plastic and microplastic pollution in China, August 2019.  Visit for teacher and youth resources.



LAMI Youth Learn, Expand Outreach on Reducing Ocean Plastic Pollution

By Mark Friedman, RL Correspondent, Marine educator LA Maritime Institute, San Pedro LA Maritime youth crew members, interpreters and educators on the Explore the Coast monthly sails, and others from the Animo HS marine Biology Club in Lennox, have been busy expanding their educational and action campaign, regionally and nationally. They have participated in the LA Science fair, as well as at Animo HS, presented to a teacher’s workshop hosted by USC Sea Grant and NOAA and Skyped with students and scientists nationally and internationally.

In mid-May, they visited the most advanced state-of-the-art recycling plant, CarbonLite, near Riverside. They received a tour of the plant and saw the process of recycling plastic bottles firsthand. The process includes sorting, cleaning, shredding, melting and reforming into pellets, and finally packaging of the resin pellets for sale to companies seeking to incorporate recycled plastic in their products. With proposed California Laws that require a percentage of recycled plastic in new plastic products, many companies are seeking this new product.

They were hosted and toured thru the plant by Jose and Jeff, explaining each step of the process. For these twenty students, who’ve been engaged for the entire school year in research and action campaigns to reduce ocean plastic, this was a vivid example that the potential exists to recycle a higher percentage of plastic that is currently reused.

The students have produced a website and uploaded their research projects and their bilingual materials to educate others throughout the world about much-needed efforts to recycle and reuse plastic products and prevent their introduction into landfills and the ocean. In this effort, they have collaborated with other students in Japan, around the US, and most recently a delegation of two Latinas participated in student and teacher workshops for a week in Chile.

They work closely with local organizations such as Algalita, 5Gyres, City2Sea, AltaSea, LA Maritime Institute, USC Wrigley Marine center, etc.

For those students and others interested in following these efforts, supporting the students and joining in their action campaign, please visit their website.

Photos by Erika DeleMarre


LAMI hits Chile with Youth Crew student presentations on Microplastics

Two Animo HS students, Briceida Montes and Melissa Zepeda, educators on the LAMI & Coastal Conservancy sponsored Explore the Coast sails have been educating scores of middle and high school students on microplastics. Teachers workshop will advance microplastic education and reduce ocean plastic pollution. Research done from aboard LAMI tall ships is featured in their studies and PPT presentations.

They are joined by LAMI science educator Mark Friedman, also a mentor of their HS marine Biology/environmental club.

Saturday Muster Weekly Post

Hi everyone,
This is Captain Patterson here…
SWIFT Saturdays begin this Saturday, May 26, 2018, at 9 AM.
Please come join the fun as we clean and organize SWIFT parts. We will also be doing light
sanding, general maintenance of the deck, and bilge cleaning.
You must arrive in time for the 9 AM safety meeting and to be issued a hard hat (or bring your
We will be continuing SWIFT Saturday Musters for June 2nd and June 9th to join us for one or all three!
Looking forward to seeing you.
Captain Patterson

Ocean plastic pollution: under the magnifying glass in Chile

Workshops held for science teachers and students in Valdivia by LAMI Youth Crew members

Professors and teachers had the opportunity to be part of the Workshop “Microplásticos: the oceanic trip of garbage”, in the Coastal Laboratory of Aquatic Resources Calfuco just outside of Valdivia, Chile.

The workshops were led by Mark Friedman, science teacher at the LA Maritime Institute, former science teacher at the Animo High School in Los Angeles California and mentor of the Marine Biology Club of the same school and two Animo students This training, which ended on Friday, May 11, was the end of a cycle of activities related to the care of the oceans and their environmental protection.

The PAR Explora of CONICYT Los Ríos, joined this final initiative aimed at teachers in the area of science, with the aim of providing methodological tools to stimulate students in scientific research. In addition to motivating them to care for the environment, especially that of the oceans and the entire ecosystem that it comprises.

All this was possible thanks to a scholarship given by the United States Embassy to the Faculty of Sciences of the Austral University of Chile, who with it managed to invite the Los Angeles residents to teach students and teachers about the consequences of throwing plastic waste at schools and home that end up in the ocean. Coordinating this effort in Chile were Carla Christie and Paula Marin.

The workshops were also guided by the students, members of the Marine Biology Club of Animo High School, Briceida Montes and Melissa Zepeda, who mentioned the great experience he has lived these days and how surprised he is to see the interest of schoolchildren and teachers to participate in the activities. “Many of them were amazed to see that the plastic was a problem in the world, and the teachers showed a lot of interest in us, they were very focused, they were like students and that is not seen much in the teachers”.

Carolina Rodríguez, the environmental education educator in schools from North Patagonia to Southern South, pointed out how interesting it is to be able to apply practical activities with students to guide them to discover the effects of human beings in the oceans, “I think it is very important to teach schoolchildren how to identify the different types of plastics and fight them. In addition to learning the methodologies, it is essential to see how to prevent the entry of this material into the ecosystem. It is important to see the ecology in another way, not only in a way that the human being uses it and how it affects us but also to value it for itself and see that the other organisms that live on the planet have the right to live in a healthy and free environment. of our trash.”

The educational activities began on Monday, May 7 to elementary and middle school students of various educational establishments. in the Valdivia region, teaching on microplastic pollution and their research, with the aim of galvanizing new recycling programs and greater consciousness of the plastic impact on marine organisms and humans thru ingestion of marine shellfish and fish.

The emphasis in these workshops was to complement the learning objectives of subjects such as Natural Sciences, History and Geography, Mathematics, Language and Communication and Visual Arts, which point to the critical and reflective thinking of scientific research. Teachers and students physically examined local beach sand with plastic particles and dissected boluses (stomach contents) of Albatross chicks who died from plastic consumption. (see photos below)

Support for this educational effort also came from the US with a grant from LA Supervisor Janice Hahn and materials supplied for the workshops from Algalita, Ocean Conservancy, 5Gyres, LA Maritime Institute, HHMI Medical Institute Winged Ambassadors and City2Sea. Photos and article by Mark Friedman.


Love that Cioppino. BEST IN THE SOUTH BAY

Hello Fellow Sea Lover,

A reminder that the Celebration of the Sea 2018 will take place at the Port Royal Marina and Yacht club on May 26, 2018, starting at  3 p.m. Click here for the flyer. This event is a fundraiser for the Animo Marine Biology Club.  Many in the Marine Biology Club go on to study marine science and become our future Ocean scientists.  You may view a short video of the Marine Biology club in action by clicking here.  This year we hope to help fund 25 inner-city students for a trip to Montana del Oro Tidepools, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay Area Research Institute, Elk Horn Slough, Kayaking, Camping and Ed Ricketts Museum.

Not only that, but we will once again be serving seafood Cioppino prepared by one of the best chefs in the South Bay (Robert Bell from Chez Mélange Restaurant), Lobster donated by our own Port Royal lobster divers (Lobsterdon and Urchin Cathy). Also, a program featuring underwater videos and students Briceida and Melissa from the club who will have just returned with Mark Friedman from a Microplastics conference in Chile.

If you plan to attend and haven’t already RSVPed, please RSVP to the event by replying to this e-mail and saying yes so we know how many to expect and have enough food.

This will be our 8th year of doing this and we have raised thousands of dollars for this cause. It is really a grassroots effort and many in the Yacht Club and supporters have donated time and food to compliment Robert’s outstanding Cioppino. We can be proud as a club for what we have done in the past. If you would like to help this year, please let me know. At this point, we could use some help on set up and take down, club bartenders, and could use some food donations (appetizers, French bread, salads, side dishes).

Thanks for your interest and if you have any question, just reply to this e-mail and ask me. I’ll send out an e-mail a few days before the event with the details and a timeline of events for the day

As always, if you would not like to receive these e-mails, simply reply to this e-mail with REMOVE in the title.

Thanks, and looking forward to another fun and worthwhile event again this year.

Barbara Smith

LA Waterfront Town Hall 2018

On March 20, 2018, the Port of Los Angeles hosted a community town hall to update stakeholders with the latest information about current and planned projects in development on the LA Waterfront, with presentations by the Port’s Executive Director Gene Seroka on the San Pedro Public Market and the Port’s Director of Waterfront and Commercial Real Estate Mike Galvin on the Wilmington Waterfront Promenade. The town hall also featured presentations by Councilmember Joe Buscaino, LA Waterfront Alliance (developers of the San Pedro Public Market) AltaSea, Los Angeles Maritime Institute (LAMI), CRAFTED at the Port of Los Angeles, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, International Trade Education Programs (ITEP), San Pedro Chamber of Commerce, and Battleship IOWA.