Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Area Companies Serve Our City With Corporate Service Days On The Beach

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is pleased to collaborate with our corporate partners to offer stewardship opportunities including beach cleanups, park maintenance and painting projects that support our program partners at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, City of Boston, and dozens of non-profit organizations throughout the Boston region.

With groups ranging in size from five volunteers to over 100, Save the Harbor works to identify interesting and purposeful projects that will benefit our environment, our public beaches, our community partners, as well as the individuals who join us to contribute their time and effort to this cause.

This year, we were excited to welcome 80 summer interns from Vertex Pharmaceuticals on June 26th to kick off the summer by getting Carson Beach in South Boston ready for the summer crowds. Volunteers combed through the tall grasses, under the boardwalk, and through the sands, removing over 2 tons of debris over the course of the morning and afternoon.
Vertex interns triumphantly hoist a muffler they pulled out of the grasses at Carson Beach
We bookended the summer on September 20th when we were happy to once again partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield’s annual company-wide service day. 55 employees descended on Carson Beach to remove invasive sumac, weeds and debris from the beach, paint shelters and the doors and trim of the McCormack Bathhouse, and clear sand-filled pathways along the Harbor Walk to improve ADA accessibility to the beaches. They also visited the South Boston Neighborhood House to do a deep cleaning of their preschool classrooms and kitchen and repaint their classrooms - projects that had long been needed, but were unable to be completed by a small non-profit staff running full-time programs. “We had our first Parent/Child Playgroup today,” said Cheryl Itri, Director of Early Education & Care Programs at SBNH. “The parents were so impressed with our nice fresh look, they kept complimenting on the newly painted walls. Thanks again for being a great partner with us.”

Blue cross Blue Shield faced 50 MPH winds to clean up South Boston Parks and Beaches
In an effort to help Save the Harbor improve water quality near Tenean Beach, a team from Boston Properties has undertaken a regular clean up Victory Road Park in Dorchester as part of their LEED-certification for the building at 200 Clarendon. The program will continue in this unofficial dog park with three stewardship days scheduled for 2018 at the start, middle and end of beach season.

As cute as they are, the critical mass of dogs in Victory Park is a problem for water quality.
Our beaches, parks and community centers are important recreational assets for the region’s residents, and effective stewardship requires a partnership between state, city, and local partners, and our friends and volunteer groups, who consistently bring their spirited approach to all park functions, including important clean-up efforts. One stewardship day can remove up to 3 or 4 tons of debris from the beach and is essential to maintaining these resources. The cleanups also provide an excellent opportunity for team building and colleague bonding, and contribute to the health and wellness of the participants. By the end of one day, volunteers had logged approximately 15,000 steps – over 7 miles!

As a part of this ongoing effort, Save the Harbor works to identify new corporate partners to pair with needed projects around our city and region – there is always more work to be done!

For more information on Stewardship with Save the Harbor, please contact Chris Mancini, Vice President of Operations & Programs at mancini@savetheharbor, and at 617-451-2860 x 1009.

Patty Foley Named Henry L. Shattuck City Champion

Each year the Boston Municipal Research Bureau honors city employees for outstanding public service and two dedicated individuals who exemplify integrity, initiative, leadership, and commitment to the public good.

This fall Save the Harbor/Save the Bay's President Patricia Foley was honored to receive the Henry L. Shattuck City Champion Award  for her service to our city its residents. (Save the Harbor also was also honored to receive the Gulf of Maine Council's Visionary Award, which you can read about here:

This year's City Champions Award recipients included Jay Hooley, Chairman and CEO of State Street, and Save the Harbor’s president Patty Foley, who was  honored for her excellence in leadership, her outstanding public service, and her commitment to improving Boston.

Here's the text of Patty's speech, which she delivered on September 19 at the Seaport Hotel.

"Thank you to Bill Kennedy, Keith Motley and the Shattuck Awards Dinner Committee for honoring me and recognizing Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s contributions to our city and all its residents, and Sam Tyler and the Boston Municipal Research Bureau for the work they do to strengthen our capital city.

Thanks as well to Jay Hooley, Henry Vitale, and all the men and women honored here tonight and thanks to all of you in this room for your commitment to our city and its success. There is no question in my mind that Boston is stronger today than ever before, thanks to your individual and institutional commitments.

I’d like to thank retired Chief Justice Albert Kramer of the Quincy District Court for the role he played in pointing me towards a career in public service, and the late great Congressman Joe Moakley and US District Court Judge A. David Mazzone and the men and women of the MWRA and BWSC for their commitment to clean water and our community.

For nearly half a century Boston has been led by mayors who envisioned a world class city with a world class waterfront. Mayor Marty Walsh and the Boston Planning and Development Agency have a bold vision for Boston’s future. I’d like to thank him and the City Council and the Boston legislative delegation for their support for Boston Harbor.

I’d also like to thank House Speaker Bob DeLeo, Senate President Stan Rosenberg and the legislative leaders and members of the Metropolitan Beaches Commission for their support for our advocacy on behalf of the metropolitan region’s public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket. Thanks to EEA Secretary Matt Beaton and to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for their support as well.

My late mother and aunt Patricia Powers Foley and Bridget Powers Holland were two strong and capable women and my earliest role models. My brother Tom, who is here this evening, our brother Michael, sister Lynne and I will always be grateful for their love and guidance.

In my career in politics, government and public service I have been privileged to have worked for leaders like former Secretary of State John Kerry, whom I served in the Lieutenant Governor’s office and the United States Senate.

Early in my career, I was also privileged to work for Paul Grogan, who made me a part of LISC’s leadership team as we worked to transform the community development movement into an industry that has strengthened American cities from coast to coast. Thanks as well for all you do at The Boston Foundation to improve the quality of life for Bostonians from every neighborhood in the city.

I would also like to thank Save the Harbor’s Board of Directors and our Executive Committee for their leadership, guidance and commitment, and our staff, who are passionate and effective in advancing our organization’s mission.

Finally, I would like to thank Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s founding Chair Beth Nicholson, whose vision and dedication have made all that we have accomplished possible. I would also like to thank my partner in crime, our board chair Joe Newman of National Grid, who is smart, strategic and simply the best. I also want to thank my partner in life, my husband Bruce Berman who has helped lead Save the Harbor for 30 years, and loves this city and the sea almost as much as he loves me.

I was born in South Boston, and learned to swim at the Girls L, which is now the BCYF Curley Community Center.

As a young girl, the ocean and the beach were a source of joy to me as they are today as I tackle the challenges that come with my job, which is to restore, protect and share Boston’s extraordinary harbor with Bostonians from every neighborhood and the region’s residents and visitors alike.

Rather than a policy speech or a fundraising pitch, tonight I’d like to close with a short story about the work we do at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay.

I became president of Save the Harbor in 2000 as Boston Harbor and Mass Bay began to recover from generations of neglect. Since then, Save the Harbor has raised and invested more than ten million dollars to connect our neighborhoods and nearly 200,000 kids to the harbor we have worked so hard to restore and protect.

I am particularly proud of the impact we have had on the more than 200 Boston high school students who have worked for us in our free Youth Environmental Education Programs.

I am proud that so many of them spend two, three or even more summers working for us, and I am glad to keep in touch with them as they find jobs or go off to college.

Each year we invite them to bring their friends and families on our free fall cruises with Bay State Cruise Company. On a recent trip one of our summer staffers from Dorchester took a moment to thank me for inviting him on the cruise, and introduced me to his eight guests.

"I wanted them all to see why I love our harbor so much," he said with pride. "Thanks for teaching me that it belongs to all of us, and helping me share it with them today."

When we were founded in 1986, the thought that Boston’s filthy harbor, our decaying waterfront and neglected beaches would ever be seen as civic assets was a distant dream.

Thanks for sharing our dreams for Boston Harbor, and for helping to make them come true, and for honoring me and the organization that I have been privileged to lead for nearly 20 years."

Learning About Life During The Age of Sail At The International Tall Ships Festival

The International Tall Ships Festival 2017 brought the Fish Pier and the Seaport district to life as tens of thousands of people came from across the region and around the world  to view ships from all over the world. Watching sailors operate the ships and climb up the masts was an enlightening visual into what it would have been like to live during the Age of Sail.

Every morning of the festival, members of our youth staff fish ran free gyotaku fish printing out on the Fish Pier. Hundreds of kids and families not only had the chance to make an amazing, one-of-a-kind piece of art using a real flounder, but also received a unique and memorable lesson about the very unusual life cycle of flatfish. While waiting in line for their turn to make a print, kids were kept entertained by our resident pirate Tony, who told great pirate stories and helped us share our new All Hands on Deck curriculum, which tells the stories of young people and pirates in the Age of Sail.

After a few hours of fish printing and storytelling, we took festival-goers of all ages out on free cruises around the harbor provided by Mass Bay Lines and Bay State Cruises to see the newly arrived ships. On board, the pirate and maritime stories continued, and there were plenty of chances to sing many renditions of Haul Away Joe, the official sea shanty of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, which also serves as a lesson on the benefits of working or 'hauling' together towards a common goal. 

Over the course of the week, Save the Harbor was able to share Boston’s maritime history and Boston Harbor with more than 2,500 kids and their families. Young people from all over the region were able to travel back in time and imagine what life was like during the Age of Sail, and what opportunities would be available to young people like them at that time. In just a few days, the International Tall Ships Festival helped a generation of kids, families and young adults make memories that will last a lifetime.

Youth and Family Programs That Share the Harbor And Free the Harbor

In 2017. Save the Harbor/Save the Bay demonstrated once again that there is an unquenchable demand for free access to the spectacular natural resources we have in Boston Harbor, the Harbor Islands and our public beaches.

Summer JPAs and friends show off their catch at the 2017 Fan Pier Fishing Derby

This year 31,451 youth, teens, and families from 43 communities said yes to free trips, free programs and free education, as we extended our season with free All Access Boston Harbor excursions for the families of the kids we served in the summer. Our unrelenting commitment to bringing Boston's kids and families to our waterfront parks even caught the eye of the Boston Globe, who published an excellent article about the importance of our work and increasing access to the Harbor Islands.

We are proud to say that 2017 has been our best year yet. Save the Harbor/Save the Bay was able to share Boston's maritime history and our extraordinary Harbor with more than 2,500 kids and families during the international Tall Ships Festival, with 750 free tickets on Tall Ships tours in the inner harbor, and dockside programs on the Fish Pier and Charlestown Navy Yard.

In just a few days, the festival helped a generation of young people make memories that will last a lifetime. For many of them, including the 20 teenagers who came to work for us this year, this was a unique opportunity to imagine what it was like for young people like them during the Age of Sail, and some of the opportunities available to them today on the Harbor. Eight of our summer youth staff returned for their 2nd, 3rd and 4th summer with Save the Harbor - and five more former youth program staffed returned as Lead Harbor Explorers or Senior Harbor Educators, taking on more responsibility and leading their own teams of young people.

Summer staff take their first steps int the Lovell's Island tidepools
In addition to our regularly scheduled programming, Save the Harbor’s youth program had the chance to take two exciting staff trips aboard The Belle with Boston Fun Cruises. We took a fishing trip in June during staff orientation, during which all participants had the chance to catch a fish OR a lobster, and discover the treasures hidden beneath the sands on Spectacle Island. Later, in August, our now seasoned staffers took a "day off" to not only enjoy the wonders of the less frequented Lovells Island, but add to their growing experience and knowledge through the exploration of the island's tidepools full of sea stars, fish and crabs. Some of the more adventurous staff members tasted wild limpets right out of the shell, while others searched the inland trails for blueberries and raspberries. It's incredible to see how, even after nearly a full summer spent on the water there is always more that can amaze and astound us.

Inspired by the success and demand on our Tall Ships cruises this past June, we reached out to our partners to "Extend the Summer" so we could open up more free trips to the Harbor Islands aboard Bay State Cruise Company's Provincetown II in August, September and October 2017. In short, we were overwhelmed by the response. In two cases, the reservations exceeded ethe Provincetown II's 1,000 person capacity! 

Record breaking crowds joined our free cruises this year, inspiring us to Share the Harbor in a whole new way in 2018
In response, Save the Harbor is excited to launch our new SHARE THE HARBOR initiative in 2018 to host 10 additional free public excursions for youth and families from the more than 100 community partners, our members and supporters, and the general public.

These free trips will begin with three free Marine Mammal Safaris during Boston Public School spring vacation and conclude with our "Treasures of Spectacle Island" and George's Island trips in the Fall. In between, we will open up two trips per month in June, July and August for families and friends to experience the harbor through cruises and island trips that highlight Harbor History, our historic lighthouses, tell stories of African American, Latino and Asian mariners and seafaring women during the Age of Sail from our new Haul Away Together curriculum unit and to spread the benefits of eating more healthy, sustainably sourced and delicious fish through our new Feast of the Seven Fishes Project.

2017 will be a tough year to beat, but we know that if we All Haul Together, we can get anything done. See you down on the waterfront, out on the beach, and in the Harbor next year!

Another Spectacular Summer Of Free Programs On Your Beach

Since 2008, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s Better Beaches Program has shared Boston Harbor, the harbor islands, and our region’s public beaches with the region’s underserved youth, teens and families who pay their share of the $5 billion cost of the Boston Harbor cleanup, but often don’t have the opportunity to enjoy the spectacular natural resources right outside their doors. Every year, the Better Beaches Program funds free events like concerts, beach festivals and more on our region’s public beaches that are free to the public and fun for everyone.

In June, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay awarded more than $55,000 in Better Beaches Program small grants and additional organizational support to 27 organizations in 9 beachfront communities and waterfront neighborhoods. These groups in turn leveraged our funds with $434,492 in cash and in-kind support from local government and businesses and more than 9000 volunteer hours to support 93 free concerts, fitness boot camps, beach festivals, sand raking demonstrations, sand sculpting competitions, and circus performances on our region’s public beaches.

Over the past 8 years, our community partners in Nahant, Lynn, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and Hull have leveraged $683,956 in small grants received from Save the Harbor/Save the Bay with $2,352,557 in cash and in-kind contributions from local government and small businesses for a total investment of $3,036,513 in 484 free events and programs for the region's residents and visitors alike.

Funds for the 2017 Better Beaches Program were raised entirely at Save the Harbor's annual Harpoon Shamrock Splash-- an event where brave beachlovers plunged into the chilly water at the BCYF Curley Community Center on March 5th to raise money for these important free events and programs in their community.

From the International Sand Sculpting Festival in Revere to the Harbor Illumination Festival in Hull and everything in between, these free events and programs were the highlight of the summer. Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s summer staff of Boston area teens helped staff 23 of these events, providing kids and families with the opportunity to make fish prints and hear stories from the Save the Harbor pirates.

These events and programs provide unique opportunities for the public to enjoy the region's fantastic beaches and harbor. Thanks to all of our grant recipients for their hard work in making this one of the best summers yet. You can read more about the Better Beaches Program grants here.

Thanks to our partners at the Department of Conservation and Recreation and our foundation funding partners, The Boston Foundation, the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation, and the Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust for their support.

Thanks as well to Metropolitan Beaches Commission Co-Chairs Senator Tom McGee and Representative RoseLee Vincent and the legislative and community members of the Commission for all they do for our beaches. 

Thanks as well to corporate sponsors Harpoon Brewery, JetBlue, P&G Gillette, National Grid, Beacon Capital Partners, LLC, Airbrush Unlimited, Inc., Comcast, Google and the hundreds of individual participants and donors to the Harpoon Shamrock Splash, and a special thanks to Syam Buradagunta and the Blue Sky Collaborative, whose fundraising platform has helped make the Better Beaches Program a success since its inception in 2008.

To learn more about the Better Beaches Program visit Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s blog, Sea, Sand & Sky at, or follow savetheharbor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The South Bay Harbor Trail Will Connect the City To The Sea

This fall Mayor Walsh announced that construction will begin next year on the long awaited South Bay Harbor Trail, a 3.5 mile long pedestrian friendly bike trail that will connect South Boston, Roxbury, and the South End to the waterfront, and South Boston and Fort Point to the Emerald Necklace and beyond.

When it is finished, the South Bay Harbor Trail will serve as a critical new connection between home and jobs, public transportation, cultural institutions, and the harbor. The construction of the trail will include a replacement of the bike trail along the Melnea Cass Boulevard, which has fallen into disrepair.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay has advocated for the Harbor Trail since it was conceived in 2001, 
raising more than $1 million in cash and in-kind engineering work for the planning and design of the project.

Patty Foley, our president, firmly believes that the path will be a great opportunity for Boston and its residents, despite its late start, stating that “it will play a very important role in both connecting people to the harbor and alleviating some of the transportation challenges that face the Seaport and other Boston neighborhoods as well”. 

The construction of the Harbor Trail will be completed in stages, with the first phase is set to begin in the Spring of 2018. This first phase will be built underneath the Southeast Expressway to connect Albany Street to the Harborwalk. As longtime advocates of the South Bay Harbor Trail, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is extremely excited for the benefits this important development will bring to the region. 

To learn more about the South Bay Harbor Trail, read this recent piece in the Boston Globe.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New Intern - Kate Oetheimer

Once upon a time, a girl from Massachusetts graduated from college (Skidmore College in upstate New York with a double major in International Affairs and German, and a minor in Environmental Studies, to be specific) and moved to the landlocked state of Colorado to work as a naturalist.  She learned all about the local ecology and spent the summer giving guided nature walks, trying to convince kids the rubber scat in the nature center was real, camping, and hiking whenever possible.  It was all she could ask for in a summer job.
Not much sea here.  Plenty of sky though.

But what to do, now that her summer job was over?  She had toyed briefly with the idea of staying in Colorado and becoming a ski bum, but missed her cats (and her family) too much to spend the winter away from home.   And although she loved hiking and exploring in the enormous mountains she was now surrounded by, something wasn’t quite right.  The air didn’t smell like salt, the people there talked about their hatred for magpies, not seagulls, and the nearest ocean was a fourteen-hour drive (frigid alpine lakes, while beautiful, just didn’t compare).

Besides, she wanted to do something a bit more purposeful than becoming a ski bum.  After all, the two landscapes she had come to love, the ocean and the mountains, were particularly vulnerable to environmental threats, and just being a ski bum wouldn’t help protect these ecosystems.  So, when the summer ended, she packed up her possessions and headed back east to be reunited with her cats and her beloved Atlantic Ocean (and her family). 

Although she had studied international affairs in school, she had become fed up with her fellow political science students who didn’t want to go hiking with her and often overlooked environmental problems when thinking about global politics.  It was with these experiences in mind that she set her sights on the nonprofit sector, hoping to find both colleagues equally as invested in environmental problems and policies (who would maybe explore the outdoors with her) and an experience that would allow her to help make a substantial difference while helping her figure out future education and career decisions. 
This is better. 

When she found the position with Save the Harbor, she knew it was a perfect fit.  A chance to work on environmental policy issues with like-minded environmentalists and the opportunity to explore nonprofit operation were exactly the kind of situations she had envisioned to help her find the clarity she wanted, and to do that while working to protect and improve a body of water she grew up enjoying made the opportunity even better.  And so she started working for Save the Harbor as an environmental policy intern and, (for the short-term, at least), lived happily ever after.

Back at George's Island!

  Today I went to George’s Island once again and it was great! I missed the beautiful view of the city over one of the cleanest waters in the city. In the summer we were mostly surround by kids but today was different--I saw a lot of adults getting on the boat and excited to get to the island. I talked to a couple of people and the majority of them have previously been here before but the people that have not were very excited and full of questions. One of the sites on the island that the majority of the people were mostly excited about was the dark tunnel with the Lady in Black. I told them how pitch black the tunnel was and how it is not considered a “dark” tunnel when you use your flashlight from your phone to walk through it and they laughed saying that they would not use their phone to go through it but soon enough I saw a couple of them use their phone inside the tunnel. Also they were very fascinated to find out that the island used to be a prison but it was not hard to believe because then when you walk through the buildings you can kind of tell there used to be prison cells. This also relates to the Lady in Black story about the lady coming to the island to help her husband escape from jail but ended up killing her husband which for some reason made the people want to explore the island more and a couple of people even asked me if I know what cell he used to be in.

This is a picture of us in front of one side of the former prison

But anyways, it was a very great day even though it did not feel the same without David being there to scare people and do the hand thing in the light in the tunnel pretending to be the Lady in Black but overall I had fun and hope to come back soon!

Vince Vila

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friends of Fort Point Channel Pumpkin Pageant & Fall Fling

On Thursday, October 19th, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay was proud to support our close friends over at the Friends of the Fort Point Channel at their 13th Annual Pumpkin Pageant and Fall Fling afterparty.

Local businesses and organizations displayed their carved pumpkins for judgement on the Harborwalk.

The Pumpkin Pageant started off at 12pm on the Harborwalk in front of the Boston Children's Museum. Local businesses creatively carved, decorated and displayed their pumpkins with the hopes of winning in one of the four categories: Scariest Pumpkin, Funniest Pumpkin, Most Creative Pumpkin, and Crowd Favorite Pumpkin.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay intern Lanique Dawson demonstrates how to make delicious cider.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay interns, Lanique Dawson, Will Cullen, Kate Oetheimer, and Maggie Kavanagh were there to help collect ballots as the crowds voted for their favorite pumpkins. Our interns also assisted local children in operating the old-fashioned apple cider press, where fresh local apples were cut up and crushed into delicious cider for the public to enjoy.

Interns Will Cullen and Kate Oetheimer help operate the apple cider press.

Lanique Dawson, Will Cullen, and Kate Oetheimer were instrumental in demonstrating how to press apples in order to achieve the perfect fresh fall cider. Children excitedly gathered to take turns cranking the handle on the press to see their apple slices turn into flavorful and sweet handmade cider that they drank while painting pumpkins and enjoying our other activities. Pumpkin designs ranged from adorable to terrifying and everywhere in between, each showing the amazing creativity and diversity of our local businesses.

The Envoy Hotel's delicious-looking entry.

After all votes were collected, the crowd headed over to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum for the Fall Fling that evening, where Save the Harbor/Save the Bay interns Will and Maggie helped to transport pumpkins and decorations, set up Abigail's Tea Room, greet and check-in party-goers, and sell tickets at the door. 

The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum's historically-themed pumpkin.

At the Fall Fling, party attendants sipped festive fall cocktails by Michael Ray and enjoyed small bites while listening to music by The Country Hits. Later on, the winners were announced for each category of the pumpkin carving contest:

Scariest Pumpkin - Capital One
Most Original Pumpkin - Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Funniest Pumpkin - Fort Point Legal Powered by Casner & Edwards
Crowd Favorite - Boston Properties

The Crowd Favorite Pumpkin by Boston Properties.

Save the Harbor/Save the Bay was excited to see the Crowd Favorite Pumpkin awarded to our great friends and supporters over at Boston Properties, who are long time partners in our youth programs.

Overall, the night was a great success! Save the Harbor/Save the Bay was happy to be so involved with the 13th Annual Pumpkin Pageant and Fall Fling and to support the Friends of the Fort Point Channel, who we have been delighted to see grow and progress over the years.