Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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!

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