Cool School: Sunset Ridge Elementary In Pacifica

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PACIFICA (KPIX) – Pacifica has its fair share of fog but on a clear day you might be able to spot a whale. Almost a year ago, Sunset Ridge Elementary built a special observation deck to whale watch.

“We saw the whales one time when we were doing a schoolwide cleanup and the kids were so excited,” said Sunset Ridge principal Ellie Cundiff.

So the idea for a deck was born. After a student wrote a letter to Home Depot, the store granted the school $9,000. The PTA matched the amount and construction began with the help of the community, parents and even students.

“There are not many places on the California coast where you can actually see the grey whale so this is a prime location,” said Steve Johnson, a science teacher.

The grey whale is California’s state mammal and can grow to 60 feet in length and weigh 35 tons.

Every year, they travel along the coast from Alaska to Mexico to give birth.

“After their babies are old enough, they make their way back to Alaska,” Johnson said. “It’s a 6,000-mile, one-way trip.”

Whales are typically seen along the coast in the fall, so on off season, the students use the deck for other activities including a slam poetry class.

The deck is used for teaching and connects students with nature in their own backyard.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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