Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Save the Harbor 2018 Summer Orientation

On June 29, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay officially dove into summer by gathering as a full staff - including our full time staff, 6 Senior Harbor Educators, 6 Lead Harbor Explorers and 23 Boston High School students as Junior Program Assistants - for the first day of summer orientation.

Before beginning their work connecting tens of thousands of youth, teens and families to the Harbor, the Islands and the region's public beaches, this remarkable group of young people will spend two days of intensive training to become ambassadors for this spectacular urban natural resource.

This year is particularly noteworthy as it marks the launch of Save the Harbor's Youth Jobs and Leadership Development Initiative. Though we have directed staff time and organizational resources to the training and development of the young people on our staff over the years, in 2018 Save the Harbor is introducing three new projects that will deepen and broaden this impact: the Boston Harbor Leaders Speaker Series, Haul Away Together, and the Seven Fishes Project.

And we wasted no time, hosting the first installment of the new Boston Harbor Leaders Speaker Series at 9am on day one with a visit from Captain Claudia Gelzer of the U.S. Coast Guard. Save the Harbor was especially fortunate to have this opportunity to spend an hour in conversation with Captain Gelzer just days before her retirement from her position as commander of Sector Boston.

Captain Gelzer talks with the Save the Harbor Staff at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

Captain Gelzer inspired our assembled young staff with the story of how she found her way to the Coast Guard following a career as a reporter, and what her work and service means to her. She was joined by Lieutenant Lucy Daghir, just one year into her Coast Guard career, who shared a story of an alternate path into service. By the end of the hour, and a lively Q&A, the Save the Harbor staff had a lot to think about and a new career opportunity to consider in the future.

With the Coast Guard's motto, Semper Paratus (Always Prepared) fresh in our minds, we jumped right into an afternoon of intensive curriculum training to prepare for the thousands of harbor visitors we'd be meeting beginning in just three days. Including Fishing 101, Crabs of Boston Harbor, Fish Printing, Flounder Anatomy, and the History of the Boston Harbor Cleanup, the lessons and activities that make up the Boston Harbor Explorers Guide and program provide a number of STEAM-based units to engage and inspire young visitors to the Harbor. Regardless of what they are teaching, however, we think it's important for our staff to be able to actively engage and connect with their audience, so we sat down with Norah Dooley for an intensive training in storytelling and public speaking.

 Storyteller Norah Dooley teaching teens tales of the sea

Norah's methods not only provide an introduction to strong storytelling and gave the staff the tools to be able to build a narrative and relate a tale in thirty seconds or thirty minutes, but also double as an activity in itself that the JPAs can take to the Islands and Boston Harbor Explorers sites to work with younger kids on their trip to the Harbor. The JPAs ultimately practiced their new skills by breaking into groups and learning one of the six stories that make up Save the Harbor's "Haul Away Together" curriculum: stories of young women and people of color like Eleanor Creasey, Robert Smalls, or the pirate Ching Shih, who were celebrated mariners during the Age of Sail.

Carrie and Imani fish for flounder and sea bass off of Deer Island

After talking about sailors all morning, we finally had a chance to get out on the water ourselves aboard the Belle, where our new fishing skills were put to the test out among the Boston Harbor Islands.

Captain Charlie shows us how to properly haul a lobster pot

After a long, hot couple of days of intensive orientation, we took a moment to celebrate with a taste of the sea (while still learning in the process). With a fresh catch on board the Belle, Chef Basil Freddura of the Daily Catch kicked off the Seven Fishes Project with a lesson on how to properly filet a striper, transforming the magnificent fish into an equally outstanding (and delicious) ceviche with just a few simple ingredients, while Save the Harbor's own Bruce Berman shared his own recipe for Striped Bass sashimi.

Chef Basil Freddura filets the bass

With the Seven Fishes Project, Save the Harbor is testing the idea that with available and affordable ingredients, and simple, delicious recipes, more Americans will eat healthy, sustainable seafood in alignment with HHS/USDA Dietary Guidelines, which can improve overall health outcomes.

Save the Harbor's staff samples the ceviche

There was no hesitation among our seafood-loving staff, as nearly everyone reached right in to get a taste of Basil's fresh ceviche. Within minutes it was as if there had never been a striped bass on board the Belle at all, all evidence having disappeared into our stomachs, and the recipe lodged in our memories.

Ashley and Aleena get a bite of the striped bass sashimi

This experience with our 2018 Summer Staff will go down as one of the greatest starts to our summer season in Save the Harbor's history - with orientation behind us, the real work is about to begin and the staff's education is just starting as they will spend the summer filling their minds with all the Harbor has to offer, while bringing their newfound skills and knowledge to over 30,000 youth, teens and families from around the region.

We hope you'll join us and our staff this summer on the water, at our public beaches or on the Harbor Islands and get a taste of Boston Harbor yourself. 

After all, Life's a Beach!

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