Friday, October 7, 2016


Tickled pink about another beautiful day on
the fish pier
Hi everyone! My name is Melissa, and I am very excited to be one of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s new environmental policy interns. I graduated this May from Clark University, where I studied Environmental Science and Policy and clarinet performance. When I wasn’t studying Brahms and Beethoven, I was coming to understand the close but complicated relationship between environmental policies, sustainability, water quality, and public health. My time at Clark allowed me to foster my passion for water; I was able to study water quality and water contaminants, while also working closely with the university to promote campus water sustainability by upgrading the irrigation system.
Enjoying the views next to Portage Glacier,
 which is right outside my hometown of
Anchorage, Alaska!

Since my start at Save the Harbor just a few weeks ago, I have hit the ground running. My fellow intern Alicia and I were tasked with finding out everything there is to know about the smelly, brown algae that plagues beachgoers in the North Shore. The algae, formally known as Pilayella littoralis, are an algae that naturally grows on rocks in the water, but can detach and float freely with the waves. When the decomposes on the shore, it releases sulfur gas, which smells an awful lot like rotten eggs. The algae in the Nahant Bay poses a peculiar dilemma; unlike the Pilayella in other parts of the world, this Pilayella has learned to multiply on its own, so it can double its body weight in just six to ten days. While this is fascinating from a biological standpoint, it makes the algae-smell problem particularly difficult to manage.

In addition to my research, I was also recently able to a beach cleanup of Tenean Beach and Savin Hills Beach with Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Despite the looming threat of rain and the blustery winds, we worked all day to improve the beaches, ultimately removing 80 bags of debris from the beaches. It was so fun to have the opportunity to get my hands dirty and contribute to the community! I have enjoyed being able to become so involved so quickly, not only by supporting policy initiatives in the office, but also getting out into the community and helping with my hands.

I am so excited to be a part of this amazing organization, and I can’t wait for the experiences to come!

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