Crop from Evelyn Chuang's artwork showing fish swimming through a kelp forest

2023 Coastal Art & Poetry Contest Winners


Coastal Art & Poetry Contest Details









Harbor Seals

I went to the Aquarium of the Pacific, trust me you should go.
Harbor seals eat school fish, I bet you didn't know.

Harbor seals don't wear clothes because they have thick skin.
I bet you didn't know they have flippers and not a fin.

It's very cool harbor seals have front flippers to help them steer,
But back flippers help them balance but maybe you didn't hear.

I bet you didn't know that the harbor seals can't stand,
But it's really really funny when harbor seals bounce on land!

Madison Quan
Kindergarten, Redondo Beach


Down By the Ocean

In the beautiful ocean I go
Sending ripples upon the surface.
Deep down
I go into a world of beauty.

I watch the scene teeming with life.
I come up to the surface
I remember the beauty.
All along and into the car.
I can still hear and see the waves
the rocks.

Lana Babic
Grade 1, Mountain View


Two Waterfalls

There were two waterfalls
And they were going on
each other
And they stopped in the

Simon Litvinenko
Kindergarten, Mountain View


Oceans Waves

Ocean waves
crash on the sandy beach.
Corals wave
below the ocean waves.
Crabs scuttled
on the sandy shore of the beach.
Rainbow fish
swim below the surface.

Adeline West
Kindergarten, Menlo Park




Gliding to Natural Bridges
  Fluttering, dancing, spinning
A colorful poppy soaring through
      the bright blue and white sky
      Fairies of the forest
Perfectly symmetrical
      Fragile wings coming to life
Strong and tough
Egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly
The souls of my family's greatest friends and ancestors

Randie Byrd
Grade 2, Santa Cruz


Ocean Love

Glimmering blue life
Where all kelp forests grow tall
in every which way

The smell of seaweed
and the vibrant colors
of our huge ocean

all of our ocean
has served our planet of love
for many years

Leanora Bazar
Grade 3, North Hollywood


Oh What a Dream

My toes on the sand
Soft and sweet as my dreams float on
Makes life complete
Birds chirp as the palm trees sway
And the wind tickles my nose
On that tender day,
The calm sea-salty breeze
What a dream
But there is a monster
Everybody knows there is a monster
But nobody knows what,
California known for its pretty beaches
And gorgeous waves
But nobody wants to come on their days
We need it back
We need it clean
No birds can fly
No fish can swim
We all need to pitch in

Madelyn Dennis
Grade 3, Santa Barbara


My Home Beach

Roaring waves
crashing onto the

Soft warm sand
sifting between my

Up above, gulls
soaring over the

Down below sand crabs
digging in sand burrows

looking for the
Golden Gate
bridge hanging over
the bay

Savannah Liu
Grade 3, El Cerrito


By the Seaside

By the shore, on the beach,
I can see the seaside.
All the tree leaves gently sway,
and so does the tide.

The sun shines brightly,
and ocean water flows.
The sea water sparkles too,
and the wind swiftly blows.

By the shore, on the beach,
I can see the sea.
The coast is
as beautiful as can be.

Melody Ran
Grade 2, Brea


You Are the Thing I Love Most

Waves crashing
sounds like music
to my ears
the feeling
is sincere
it just wants
to come near
whenever I'm not
there a strong
feeling makes
me want to be
there because
you are the
thing I love

Kayla Brianna Zamora
Grade 3, Salinas



The Seaweed Life

Wavy, slimy, growing long,
Squishy, gloppy, green and strong.
Fish are swimming through its forest
All are crowding to explore it.

Their tendrils reaching towards the sun,
'Neath the crabs are having fun.
Shimmering forests and glowing leaf,
Sunlight won't reach it underneath.

Looking for warmth and light from above,
Then a wave comes the algae to shove,
Pushing and pulling it onto the beach,
Where the hot, dry sand its life does leach.

Maria Klaehn
Grade 5, Cerritos


Morning Tide

Whales dive deep as they wake from sleep
The sun rises slowly over dune shadows lowly
Birds soar overhead, always the first out of bed
Over the smooth soft sand, the gentle breeze plays like a band

Look what has washed ashore, rinsed and tumbled more and more
Strands of kelp, broken shell, polished stones and even bones
Salty spray as winds blow playfully, enjoy a day made so beautifully

Logen Duhem
Grade 6, Eureka


The Wonders of the Golden State

The sky is orange and violet, with clouds of painted white stained by bloodred.
Beneath, a crystal pond of rolling ocean waves as far as the eye can see.
Schools of fish splash in the depths, their slimy scales aglow in the dying sunlight.
The waters lap at tan sand where crabs scuttle.
Deep below, clams dig far with their shining milk-white pearls.
Seabirds flap under newfound stars, white wings like fire under the moon.
Over green trees they fly, their legs brushing the tips of the branches.
Grass twists and swishes in a midnight breeze, the chill of night air bringing frost.
Though the days are warm and sunny, the nights are damp and cold.
Gusts whoosh past hard enough to rip a tree trunk from the earth, roots and all.
But as the twinkling stars begin to fade, and the silver moon dips away,
The sunrise casts a magical glow over the land.
The poppies start to blossom, stretching under an azure-red sky with the new sun.
The world welcomes a new day in the golden state.

Uma Fox
Grade 4, Portola Valley


The Beach

The roar of the waves
Calms the chaos in my mind
'Tis a lovely shore
The sea, being kind

Beautiful ocean waves hide a powerful roar
While they crash against gentle white shores

It is a beautiful evening, calm and free
With a full day of fun behind me
I reflect on the things I have done
All of the bad, and all of the fun

As I watch the sunset, I foresee
Another day of joy
And another day of glee

On a nighttime stroll
Don't see a soul tonight
As I think about days to come something catches my sight
A lighthouse guiding the ships to the shoreline
As I watch the lighthouse something comes to mind
Perhaps this is a sign that the future is bright

However we need to make it this way
By cleaning up the oceans and the bay
If we don't do this, I have to say
The ocean might suffer a coastal doomsday
But don't worry because we still have hope
If we clean up the oceans we won’t have to mope!

Nikita Pisharody
Grade 6, San Jose


The Reef

Down in the deep,
A shark swims in the water.
Right above him,
Is one little otter.

The sunlight zone
Is where the octopus roams.
It's catching fish
Right out of their homes.

The coral reef
Is home to so many.
But since overfishing,
It's rare to see any.

The oceans are waiting,
For us to discover
All the new species
It has uncovered.

Alice Zhang
Grade 4, San Diego



Hello California

Never before
     Has there been one like her
                               Kissed by the gold of the sun
                               Wild as a field of whispering reeds
                               Splashed with the clearness of the sky
She carries no fear
          Just Burning
When she enters my waters
                     I crash gently upon her
Everything Stills
I do not cradle a mere soul
                The heartbeat I listen to
                               Soft and rhythmic
                The skin pressed against me
                               Delicate as the petal of a flower
                The spirit that reaches out
                               To brush my very core with light
     What I hold
                Is pure living sunshine
     This child
          This shard of light
                     This piece of the sea
I will call her California
     Who I give my soul
                Who carries it upon her fragile shoulders
                                    Who could be my demise or my rebirth
Her name will be California
                A dazzling
                A Clear
                 I offer her a grin of my own
                 Hello California

Genevieve Watson
Grade 8, Hidden Hills


Morro Bay

As the wind blows past people walking
        along the beach,
    seagulls can be heard from above.
        In the distance,
below the undertone sky beholds
            Morro Rock.
A famous tourist site, where people
from far come to travel to see.
In shining blue water emerges adorable
sea otters, laying on backs and eating clams.
Sea lions swimming for mackerel,
    anchovies, and squid.
The beautiful hues of yellow, orange, and pinks
        paint the clouds
        of a magnificent sunset.

Mahala Colebrook
Grade 9, Atascadero


sky & sea

look at the vast sky
see the wispy clouds,
the deep, swaying blue

feel the sand between your toes
climb across the dune, a camel's hump,
watch the reeds & grasses waver

notice not only the infinite sea
but also the frothy bubbles in the waves,
the chirps of skittering plovers, wind-up toys

recognize the shiver that crawls through your body
when you approach the shore, tentative, & the tide tickles you
let your squeal of surprise reverberate

forget the difficulties & challenges of life
& breathe in time with the ocean & the
gulls crowing & the grainy crunch under your feet

gaze into the horizon, the twinkling sun,
observe how its golden arms stretch & transform
into humanity, the future, the universe

Sierra Elman
Grade 7, Mountain View


Sand Crab

The beach sand is warm
a sand crab scuttles along
searching, like us all

Dylan Feakins
Grade 9


...and the ocean

in the wave whispers
there is story
in whiskers of abalones
that slumber beneath shaded ocean boulders
there is story
in the clashing symphony of
waves but also petrels and cormorants perched
on Bird Rock that is dotted with
smatterings of white who
shout huskily

it is the sharpest of lightning, the loudest of thunder
the softest of velvet, the slowest of giants
the fierce, the gentle
the pretty, the ugly
the foam of whitecaps and the colors of a tapestry
with its story shaping land and cliffs and-

ceruleans, the streak of russet like a painter's brush gone wrong,
sea otter twisting, a brown barber pole spinning into the eternity that stretches both
above and below but not really because it is a metropolitan of giant kelp, brittle stars
and the California cone snails that inch so slowly
slowly along
the gravel seabed
like eternal dreamwalkers glazed in amber
the spire of his tooth and ridges of his back and-

and we can never say enough
to tell the story of our briny, littoral home
and you
yes, you, with fingers in currents and toes in sand
eclipsed in a hidden cove or shadowed beneath the Golden Gate
or crouching below gold-bathed palm trees, you sit only on a
minute beach that breathes with the ocean's power
in a 840 mile coastal line
fitted in a nine-and-a-half million square mile jut of land
that is yet again, enveloped by indigo
you are touching the waters
of the world

Crystal Zhu
Grade 9



A Beach of Unblown Glass

All are welcome
underneath this bleeding blue sky
above these rounded stones, wiser
every step toward the sea
amongst this cotton foam
hugging toes with bubbles blown by joy
and sorrow
born from Nature's simple truth

A black and white film

A kaleidoscope of rainbows

Sand dollars, crab shells,
periwinkles, barnacles

Anemones––giants of the rocks
dipped in green tea and dusted with heather

Sea urchins––abundant blackberry brambles
dark as night, sharp when disrespected

Life awaits in these sands
these rocks and tide pools
with wills stronger than stone
thriving amongst the waves.

Kaylia Roark-Hernandez
Grade 12, Fairfax


El Eco de Mil Corazones  |  The Echo of A Thousand Hearts

Trembling with treble
The beast roils and groans
Stirring in its wake a storm of stones
El eco de mil corazones

Grey-red painted cloud
Uneasy yet still
Shattered silence so loud
Roar of the heavens shrieking and shrill

Forcefully carved new veins
Run up and down, a globe of clay
Cut like grain, Earth a castaway
Triumph of civilization, swept away

Landon Amavero
Grade 11, Monterey


Tide Pools

It is quiet
With not a sound but the rain beating down
Falling in dense droplets,
That land on the rocky shore
Upon taking a closer look you will see
Tidepools freckled where cliff meets sea
Little galaxies of their own
With unmoving stars painted along rocks
Crabs scurrying across the shallows of the tide
And algae dancing beneath the surface of the pool
A sense of undisturbed peace

        Until a wave pummels against the shoreline

                              Its quick arrival comes as a shock

                                Crystalline waters disrupt all serenity

           Filling the hollow trenches of the coast

      Submerging all life in a clear, salty cloak

Then it is quiet
Can life resume as normal?
Creatures hold their breath in anticipation

                  With a startling crash, another wave soon follows

                                                          Stronger this time,

                                     Swirling into motion the formerly still water

              As clouds of bubbles rise to the surface...

For an instant - all life is disoriented
Their peaceful morning had taken an eventful turn
But then they carry on with their tasks for the day
And all is quiet once more

Audrey Goddard
Grade 11, San Ramon


The Beach at Night

Picture the beach.
There, right there
Let me guess
Blue skies
Bluer oceans
White sand
Baked by the sun
Faces red with sunburn
Air filled with the metallic smell of sunscreen
Hot ground, cold water
Maybe a sunset or sunrise
Shrieks of joy
Packed with families
And surfers
And seagulls
That is the beach in the light of day
But days end and light diminishes
Brightness fades and night takes over
So what of the beach then?
When the fire pits are far away
And the ocean is a dark, opaque abyss
When the sand is cold
And freezing water bites at the ankles
Friends still laugh together
The joy is still there
But there's no one to hear it
Except the ocean air
Secrets swallowed by the sea
Bared souls retreating with the tide
Friendships forged under darkness
Who knew the beach could be the best
When it was quiet
The coast as the backdrop and witness
For euphoria in the dead of night
What of that beach?

Carissa Kelly
Grade 11, Aliso Viejo


Waters, Infinite

the sun is laid to rest in its glittering grave,
swallowed by a sea that has encompassed all else.

those shipwrecked strain to stand on their tiptoes, keeping
their drowning prides a seal whisker's width above the point

of no return. despairing eyes pillaging the clouds with a final
plea while cities swell with schools of fish descending

upon the limits like nets of stardust scattered across
impossibly glasslike skies, the bridges overhead twisting into

monoliths. civilization's shadow lengthens into steel and
stone. the emerald green of signposts just barely there

beneath midnight shades of kelp, revealing that highway one leads not
to a destination, but to a state of purgatory where the crag of the coast is merely

a fleeting silhouette tumbling from cliff to slivering crest, mouth agape,
gurgling muted by a wash of white noise. rivulets spill into alleys,

unheeding, bursting the veins of the ocean's arrhythmia-
plagued heart. waves unravel into tongues lapping into outstretched

hands. starfish, resisting the will of nature in all of their luminous
resplendence, cling to window panes for their dear lives as they

peer at turtles who wander wide-eyed down the avenue and float
weightlessly past barnacle-adorned meters and abandoned ghosts of cars,

past the world that has never given them a second thought—
—forgotten them, even.

perhaps we could have seen this coming before it was
too late, our lungs excavated from the cavities of our chests

as our hands and feet became arrows rupturing the surface for a stolen
breath of forgiveness. instead we have developed a reputation for dismantling

ourselves, our people, our home;
we are promising, yet we also brim with broken promises.

one day, earth will be smeared with watercolors of blue.
one day, you will wake up to salt on your tongue.
one day, there will be no horizon—

just the bubbles drifting languidly,
a half-visible spattering of tears
between you

and an infinite expanse of sea.

Angelyn Liu
Grade 11, Burlingame