Hi there! My name is Jessie Thuma and I am a new Environmental/Policy intern with Save the Harbor/Save the Bay. I joined the team only a week ago so I’m still learning and reading all about the history, policies, achievements, and goals of the organization. I am blown away by the progress Save the Harbor has made in improving beach sanitation and accessibility for all of the 15 public beaches in the region, from Nahant all the way down to Nantasket. I have been interested in environmental advocacy for as long as I can remember so this summer I am excited to learn about the communication and policy dynamic of a non-profit advocacy group.
I am a rising junior at the University of Virginia—or as we say at UVA, a rising Third Year—where I am working towards a BS in Environmental Science as well as a BA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. In my search for summer internships, applying for a position at Save the Harbor was a natural choice. I have lived in Quincy my whole life, just a minute walk from Wollaston beach. Growing up, I spent much of my summer hanging out in the sand, taking sailing lessons at both Black’s Creek and Squantum Yacht Club, and going to the Clam Box for French fries and ice cream. Needless to say, I love the water and feel passionately that everyone should have the same access to a fun and safe beach that I was lucky enough to have. That is why I love Save the Harbor’s mission to not only clean up the region’s beaches, but to share the beaches with the local communities. With their free public programs, like Family Fun Day on Wollaston Beach which I went to a few years ago, and youth education programs, Save the Harbor is working to instill in all residents a love for the beach and an enthusiasm to keep the waters of the Boston Harbor clean.
Over the years, I have seen first hand the major improvements to the beaches driven by the staff and interns at Save the Harbor. When I was really young, I was not allowed to swim at Wollaston or go into the mud flats at low tide because of the polluted water and the broken glass and trash embedded in the sand. Now, when I go for a run along the shore or grab some lunch at the Clam Box, I see hundreds of people enjoying the beach as their kids play in the water or look for crabs in the mud at low tide. The sand is clean, the bathhouse is useable again, and people are finally respecting the beach rather than trashing it. I am so happy to have the chance to give back to my community and other beach communities like it as I work with Save the Harbor/Save the Bay to help share the beach.
Outside of environmental conservation, I love to run, cook, read, and watch whatever is popular on Netflix. I spend as much time with friends and family (including my two cats) as I can, and love using my free summer days to explore different neighborhoods of Boston, search out a new hiking trail or running path, or lounge by the pool or beach and have a cookout. As an intern this summer, I will be putting together case studies, helping with press releases and collecting news clips, and working with the Youth Environmental Education Program at Black’s Creek in Quincy. I can’t wait for all that I still have to learn and experience with Save the Harbor!