My name is Anil Gurcan, and I was born in Ankara, the capital of Turkey. Ankara is inland city surrounded by mountains with no body of water. Coming from an inland city with no access to water I have always been drawn to cities with waterfronts. Growing up I spent my summers in Izmir, a coastal city on the west coast of Turkey, where I learned to appreciate the harbor and having a body of water nearby. It is in Izmir, getting on to ferries to cross the harbor, hanging out in parks with the smell of the sea that I grew to like being near the water. That is why I fell in love with Boston when I first arrived 22 years ago. Being near the water is good but having it clean and accessible is very important. I feel that in Boston we don’t always think about the harbor. While the Charles River is always prominent, Boston Harbor seems to get lost in the sea of buildings in downtown. Even when I went to UMass Boston as an undergraduate, I rarely remember seeing the ocean.
I learned a great deal about cleanup efforts of rivers in various American cities by working in collaboration with Charles River Conservancy (CRC) during the Spring 2017 semester. As a part of a class project, we created a report highlighting six urban river initiatives in the United States. During the process, I also learned about the history of Charles River and how it used to have public beaches in the 1930s. Through the efforts of many organizations like the Charles River Conservancy, the old dirty water is swimmable again and is the cleanest urban river in the United States.
Non-profits like CRC and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay play an important role by being advocates for a clean water and clean environment. By being an intern at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay I would like further my education on being a change agent and make a difference. During our research on urban rivers we found that the advocacy groups and non-profits were key to creating clean up initiatives in the cities we studied. They were critical in moving the government agencies in a direction towards the cleanup efforts.
In the past I worked in an academic setting, in a small business, and in a large corporation, and I can say my experience is a little different than my peers in my program and I can easily adapt to different work environments. In my time at the Tufts Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy Program I’ve learned a great deal research, policy, and analysis. Additional course work on Non-Profit Finance, Philanthropy and Fundraising, and Negotiation and Conflict Resolution prepared me for the type of work that maybe necessary in non-profits. I am eager to further my education and learn more about non-profits as well as environmental advocacy and hope that working at Save the Harbor/ Save the Bay will give me that opportunity.