Monday, July 22, 2019

InSEINE Week at Black's Creek and the Curley


It’s Maggie, and I’m back to report on our second full week with Save The Harbor. We had an exciting second week out at Black’s Creek and at the Curley Community Center in South Boston. Coincidentally, I worked at the Curley almost all of my summers in high school so I am very familiar with the environment, the staff, and the kids that continuously come back every summer for fun days in the sun! 

This week at Black’s Creek was similar to last, but my fellow Save The Harbor Educators are becoming more comfortable with the kids, and we are becoming more comfortable with each other. This week at Black’s Creek we got to use the Seine net which is something that the kids were very excited about. A Seine net is a large net with two posts that two of our educators walk through the water with in hopes of finding critters that our kids may not be able to just scoop out of the water at knee depth. I used the Seine net with Che, and I must say it is a gnarly process. Because Black’s Creek is a marsh, the seafloor is not so pleasant to be walking around on. Although we wore water shoes, the murky water and the mushy floor makes using the Seine net a little bit icky! Although sinking into the marsh floor is not something that sounds appealing, the look on the kids faces and the satisfaction of catching critters they have not seen before makes it all worth it. 

Che and I doing the Seine net at Black's Creek. 

A nice view of where we teach the kids how to fish at the Curley Commmunity
Center in South Boston! 
After our short days at Black’s Creek, we head right on over to the Curley to teach the kids about fishing and clamming. The first day was a little chaotic, with fishing lines being swung around and the kids not being familiar with the techniques, so we decided to come up with a system. We took two of the fishing rods and removed the hooks, so that way we would have a test system. We would let the kids cast their lines without the hooks and prove to us that they were capable of casting their lines in a safe manner! This system worked perfectly, and being able to see the progress of the kid’s skills in just one session was great! We have only been able to catch crabs at the Curley with the rods, but we are hoping to one day catch something bigger! 

Because we are on a marsh for most of the week, I thought it would be interesting to share some knowledge of the importance of marshes in our ecosystem and what they do for humans and the animals in the salt water. Wetlands are one of the most highly productive ecosystems in the world. Wetlands provide ecosystem services such as flood control, shoreline erosion control, and water quality improvement. Wetlands are also the home for many endangered species in the United States. It is important to preserve and take care of places like Black’s Creek and educate the public, more importantly the youth, about how important it is to respect these marshes and creeks. The issue of pollution in the world, but more specifically in the United States has been out of control for decades. If you haven’t heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch-- go take a look! It might make you think a little bit differently about what you are throwing away on a daily basis, what you aren’t recycling, and even what you are purchasing at the grocery store. So much of what we consume on an everyday basis ends up in landfills and in our oceans. If we can make an effort to recycle more of the plastics we buy, use reusable water bottle, buy a reusable straw, bring a mug to a coffee shop in the morning instead of using the plastic ones they give out, bringing reusable bags with you food shopping, or even looking more closely to the items you are buying in the grocery store to make sure you are buying compostable or recyclable plastic, you could make a huge difference. The average American takes home almost 1500 plastic shopping bags a year, and only 1% of those plastic bags are returned for recycling. All of this trash and pollution ends up somewhere else, and it takes at least 500 years for each one of those plastic bags to decompose. Our oceans and marshes are highly important to our ecosystem and the way the world’s environment works. The ecosystem services the water provides for us humans are crucial to our lifestyles. You could make a small difference and encourage your friends to do so, and that will be a big change in the direction our planet is headed! 

See you next week!
Maggie 

Harbor Things :)

What’s up guys,
    Jay here again with another blog! It has been 4 whole weeks, crazy how time flies it was like yesterday that I was terrified of boats. Well actually still working on that fear which was highly tested on Monday when the entire Save The Harbor team went kayaking in the Fort Point Channel to pick up floating trash. That was a surreal experience besides all the screaming and nearly sinking it was fun and made me feel accomplished. Nonetheless, the BCM crew succeeded through another week in the blazing sun bringing smiles and knowledge of our city’s harbor to families. 

    So last week I left you guys off with a mission and that is to do your part whether small or big concerning the pollution on our mother Earth. We might be a small population here in Boston compared to the entire planet but having a clean city land and water is still a great goal and also achievable. Why don’t we dive into the history of the city’s now swimmable waters; For any long-time Boston resident you might remember how polluted the harbor was, with all the oils coming off huge tankers or plastic and the trash being a usual sight in the water. I mean the harbor even had a song called “Love that Dirty Water” by the Standells talking the dirty waters of Boston. 
    I for one love cleaner waters, which I was fortunate enough to enjoy growing up in Dorchester near Carson Beach during the summer. Before Save The Harbor I was never aware of the history of my city and the amazing change it has gone through, now being one of the cleanest urban beaches in America is a great title to have. However, that does not mean there's not work to still be done, during work the team and I are still reeling up trash and plastics that past by our fishing stations. We accidentally dropped one of our bait bags into the harbor and we went into action it took us a while but we pulled it from under the pier (as we should). As people let's be better and take care of our home planet! 
See you later,
Jay

Hello, Once again! Were Back it with another blog!
This week I was still at the Children's Museum. However, on Monday we weren't at the Children's Museum. Instead, we were kayaking on the 4 point channel which is right by the children's museum. That day, I must admit was a difficult one for me. I was partnered in a kayak with 2 other people and that experience was a bit rough only because the Kayak wouldn't hold our weight efficiently. I eventually had to get off and swap to a small boat that could hold three people. Other than that it was fun and we had picked up a lot of trash in the harbor, as our job name suggests. After Monday, my week at BCM was pretty much the same for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday we had to deal with Free Day at BCM and it was packed, but weirdly not as bad as I originally thought. There were a lot of people there, but it was pretty fun in my opinion.
While I am at it, I believe I should talk about a few things in terms of the Harbor. Believe it or not, Boston Harbor used to be one of the dirtiest harbors in history. Back in the 19th century, more and more people had moved or was born in Boston and as more people came here. The more trash started to go into the harbor due to carelessness. Eventually, it kept getting worse and worse because of the surrounding islands also known as Deer Island and Nut Island had sewage/trash problems. The residue from those islands had gone into the harbor making it repulsive and to the point where no one could swim or be on the harbor. Boston, with no incentive to clean it, eventually got sued by the city of Quincy and followed by a suit made by Conservation Law Foundation. That had told the city of Boston to get their act together and clean the harbor. The water was so polluted that even the Standells made a song about it called Dirty Water. Where they talk about Boston's dirty water while weirdly stating that no matter what Boston is going through, we still love Boston and its dirty water. Since this songs release and the lawsuits happened, Boston Harbor has looked significantly more and cleaner as the days go on by and remains one of the cleanest harbors in America Thank you for reading this fascinating history lesson! I hope you see what I sea and do your part!

Kamal

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Tea About The Harbor

Hello all!


Fishing for trash in the channel!
Identifying the sex of a Green Crab

Another busy week, another blog to tell you all about it! We started our week kayaking in the Harbor Channel collecting trash that we could see on the surface of the water. While we teach about the history of the harbor and those who vowed to environmental stewardship, I enjoyed my time manually picking trash from the harbor and bonding with my coworkers. We spent our week at Spectacle Island, catching three Skates this week and searching for intricate sea glass on its shore! To end our week the All Access Squad worked a Better Beaches event at Carson Beach in South Boston! The day consisted of crabbing and fishing, acrobats, music, sand raking, massive beach balls, splashing, and hot dogs upon hot dogs. It was a great (and free!) opportunity for any child in Boston to enjoy the harbor and services we provide.

Parts of plates found on the shore of Spectacle!

Harbor History

Having hands on experience with the harbor has unearthed a whole aspect of Boston's history that I wasn't fully familiar with previously. I've learned about the trash mountain on Spectacle, the Civil War fort on George's, and the water treatment facility on Deer. On my days at The Children's Museum, I watched hundreds of children throw over "bags of tea" into the channel standing next to colonially-dressed men imitating the most iconic Boston Harbor story: the Boston Tea Party. On December 17, 1773, threw chests of tea into the harbor to protest the British parliament's taxation without representation, escalating the camaraderie for the American Revolution. That one night almost 250 still sends shockwaves through the Boston Harbor, as skyscrapers have gone up, technology has advanced, and thousands of of people walk by every day.  The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum floats on the harbor channel, enriching passerby's and museum-goers about the revolution and the role the harbor played in the journey for freedom.

The Harbor's rich history emulates acts of progression. From the revolutionary war to the environmental revolution to clean up the harbor, you are never running out of new things to learn more about. In my research about the harbor's history, I came across a UMASS Archives video of the harbor in the 1960's. Check it out to see the true transformation of the water and the surrounding areas! https://vimeo.com/174398217

Catch ya later!
Kathleen












From Harbor of Shame to Harbor of Fame!

Dee with a nice striper!
CHV has had another great week! We continued our streak of catching striped bass with one caught by our very own JPA, Dee! We didn’t have a first period for fishing, so we all decided to try our luck with Dee being the only one to come up with a fish. Fishing club’s first trip with Captain Charlie on the Belle happened this week. Weather threatened to cancel the trip, but luckily it lessened enough to allow for some fishing! We stuck to calmer waters and landed a few skate. Other than that, it was business as usual at Camp Harborview!
            “Harbor of Shame”. This was the name given to Boston Harbor by many, including former President of the United States,George H.W. Bush. Boston Harbor was considered the dirtiest harbor in America, but due to a 30 yearlong cleanup effort, it is now one of the cleanest urban harbors in the US. 
            I’d like to focus on the harbor island I have been to the most and is the location of the state-of-the-art sewage treatment facility that keeps Boston Harbor clean; Deer Island. I don’t remember the first time I visited Deer Island, but it was probably with my dad and brothers on our way to fish an early tide for striped bass. This would usually involve stories of what had happened in the place we were about to cast our lines. 
            Deer Island has long history and my dad would start his stories with one of the Native Americans. In the Late 1600’s, a war between colonists and Native Americans occurred, called the King Phillip’s War. During this war, hundreds of Native Americans were removed from their homes and were interned on Deer Island. The island did not have very many resources and provided harsh living conditions for those on the island. Many of those forced to live there succumbed to starvation, disease, and exposure to the elements. It is not a bright moment in Deer Island’s past, but it is one that deserves remembering. 
            He would jump forward over a hundred years to mention the islands involvement with Irish immigrationin the 19thcentury. During the famine in Ireland, many Irish fled the country and ended up in Boston. Deer Island served as a hospital that was often a first stop for these immigrants. They would be treated here before entering the city. 
            With both of my grandfathers serving in World War II and my paternal grandmother a war bride from France, my father would describe the island’s involvement in the war as well. Deer Island was part of Boston’s harbor defense along with some of the other Boston Harbor Islands. During WWII, there was a real fear of German U-boats entering our domestic waters so coastal defenses were set up throughout the US. Boston set up many defenses around its harbor to help intercept any enemies that may threaten US citizens at home. These defenses included lookouts, forts, and gun batteries. 
            My dad would then talk about the prison that was there. He would usually just talk about how he knew someone who had a pass onto the grounds and would fish there when the prison was still active. The House of Corrections on Deer Island stood for nearly 100 years, being established in the late 1800’s, later being moved in 1991. The prisoners held here served short sentences up to 2.5 years, and thousands of people would have been held on Deer Island over the years. 
            He would end with the story about Deer Island that most of us are familiar with, the sewage treatment facility. Pointing our heads towards the massive egg-shaped structures that call the island home, my dad would tell the tale of a harbor so dirty that it was once regarded as a “Harbor of Shame”. He would explain that back in the day sewage would be “barely treated” before being dumped into the harbor. Bottom dwelling fish would often be caught with visible tumors, and some would claim you would need a tetanus shot after jumping into the harbor. However, a great clean-up effort starting in the 1980’s was determined to change this. One of the most important aspects of this clean-up was the construction of the MWRA wastewater treatment facility on Deer Island. These “eggs” are digestors that help to thoroughly treat sewage from the Greater Boston area. Once treated, the solids are made into pellets for fertilizer and the effluent is pumped 9.5 miles out into the Massachusetts Bay. Deer Island stands as a symbol of pride and redemption for the people of the Boston and it helps us enjoy the beautiful environmental resources we have at our disposal.
A lobsterman checks traps in front of Deer Island
            This week at CHV we are looking forward to enjoying the harbor, while having great views of Deer Island. Everyone is excited for our next fishing trip on Wednesday, which I know is going to be a good one!

Tight Lines!
Michael

Pirate Posting! (Warning: Spooky)

Ahoy ye mateys! 

Gather ‘round youngins, and hear the story of one of ye olde Boston’s famous rum drinkin, cannonballing privateers, Captain William Kidd -Argh!

…[ahem] So if you follow Save the Harbor bloggers keenly, you might have noticed we all write with a weekly theme in mind. To step away from the physicality of the Harbor, this week we want to focus on the history of the Boston Harbor, and what all is hidden in the years of one of America’s oldest settlements. I’ve decided to focus on a particular man, a man of interest, the infamous pirate, Captain Kidd. His story is one of adventure and romance, and I am sure you will find his connection to the Boston Harbor to be quite an interesting one. So strap yourselves in, you scallywags, and get ready for one swash bucklin’ of a good ol’ time!

Even the beginning of William Kidd’s life is shrouded in legend and mystery. Thought to have been born in Greenock, Scotland, during his trial and execution, they found no evidence or documentation of this being his birthplace. He eventually settled in what would later become New York City as an apprentice on a pirate ship. He made friendly with local politicians there and eventually set off for the Caribbean under Captain Jean Fantin. The ship eventually succumbed to mutiny, and Kidd was appointed captain. He changed the ship’s name to The Blessed William and sailed to the British colony of Nelvis. There, he was granted the right to privateer all French ships, as an aid to the ongoing war between France and England. He plundered over 2,000 pounds sterling, and this became his rise in fame. He quickly became a popular target, having his ship stolen while in the West Indies in 1690. Kidd grew in reputation as having a small, but strong crew. His political connections led him to undergo direct missions from high government officials, obtaining a better ship and larger crew, all while having legal permission to privateer in the new england seas. 
Though his close ties with politicians, Kidd was quite rebellious towards the government. His refusal to salute the flag, and even go so far as mooning an officers ship, the Navy removed parts of his crew in order to short staff Kidd’s boat. His response? He sailed to the City, while capturing an enemy French ship just to show off his skill and prowess. To make up for his lack of crew, Kidd recruited replacements from harsh prisons. While his crew quickly began to be regarded as violent due to their bloodthirsty nature, Kidd often disproved of their savage behavior, and had to work hard to maintain leadership. 
Throughout the years, Captain Kidd continued to build fame, he continued to plunder both legally and illegally. He eventually met his fate after being betrayed by a political connection, who turned Kidd in for immunity. Sensing his capture, Kidd decided to bury his treasure by a nearby island in order to use it as a bargaining chip. Kidd was tried and convicted of murder and piracy, and was publically hanged in May of 1701. On his first attempt, the hangman's rope broke. At this time, rope snapping during an execution was often thought of as a sign from God and called for the release of the criminal. Kidd, however, was hanged again minutes later. 
Kidd’s secret location to his buried treasure was revealed later on, and was rumored to have the riches of “Two hundred bars of gold”. The location of the treasure, is what ties the famous Captain Kidd to the Boston Harbor. It is rumored that he buried his loot in the shores of Long Island, home to our very own Camp Harbor View! So next time your exploring the beaches, make sure you keep a careful eye out for any sunken treasure…

I hope you guys enjoyed this little storytime session, it was a lot of fun to research. I look forward to sharing this information with the kids at CHV, and searching for treasure myself. I will see you all next week!
Your pal, your best friend, your First Mate,

Xavier Hayden

Week 2 - Where plastic waste goes (Piers Park)

Welcome back!

The skate! Gloves help with the sharp ridges.
   This past week I worked at the Harbor Explorers camp at Piers Park, and because this week wasn't cut short by July 4th, we had plenty of time to catch some really exciting animals. The beginning of the week started off slow, with Asian green crabs comprising most of our haul, and the occasional small fish that wandered into our crab trap (we caught a pipefish on Monday, and cunners the rest of the week). Something funny I've noticed about our catches is that we catch most of our crabs with fishing poles and most of our fish in the crab trap. Go figure. Catches started to pick up on Wednesday when we found a sea star! One of the counselors found it while paddling some kids around on a kayak. We thought that was our big catch for the week, but just the next day one of the kids caught a skate on the hook! After getting the skate off the hook, the kids spent the rest of fishing time admiring and (carefully) petting the skate.
Sea star! This one had only 4 arms.



Cunner fish! Also known as a chogee.

















     In addition to finding animals like sea stars, one of the kids' favorite things to do on the kayak is to pick up trash they found in the ocean, which was mostly plastic. Like most people, the kids know that plastic in the ocean is bad for the animals and that they should clean it up, but don't know the details past "it's bad" and "it hurts animals". It occurred to me that I didn't know how to explain to the kids how a plastic water bottle goes from useful to deadly throughout its lifespan, so I did some research. Here's what I found:

What happens to plastic after we use it


     Let's get an important bit of information out of the way that is the main cause of our problems with plastic: 91% of all plastic is not recycled.[1] That means that 91% of all plastic finds its way into landfills to last several lifetimes, and some of that goes into the ocean. All of the problems detailed below that plastic waste creates could be lessened by just recycling. That being said, plastic production has its own negative environmental impact due to the oil needed to make the plastic the gas required to transport everything.[2]

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, covering 1.6 million
kilometers and roughly twice the size of Texas.[5]
     Beyond the environmental impact of just the production of plastics, plastic waste poses an immediate threat to marine life. Animals can become entangled in larger plastics, and the smaller waste is eaten by other animals and kills them.[3] Marine plastic pollution has affected 86% of sea turtle species and 44% of all seabird species, for example.[4] Most of the plastic in the Pacific Ocean is found in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, one of two major waste patches in the Pacific Ocean. Here, if a given piece of plastic is buoyant enough, it gets sucked into a current vortex, along with roughly 2 million tonnes of other waste. Here it circles, slowly eroded by the sun, waves, and various marine life until it turns into microplastic, which is even more dangerous in the ocean than its larger counterpart.[5]

     Microplastic waste is the quiet but enormous problem with marine plastic. These tiny plastic beads and fibers are smaller than 5mm in diameter, and are mistaken as food by birds and smaller animals (such as lugworms).[6] These microplastics either choke the animals, or stay in their system for a while, which brings its own hazards. Plastics that aren't used for food transport often have chemicals like flame retardants, which are commonly carcinogenic or toxic.[3] These chemicals work their way up the food chain: the smaller animals that eat the microplastics, and each successive animal in the food chain ingests these particles until it makes its way onto our dinner plates. Marine plastic waste doesn't just generate pictures of cute animals tangled up in nets: it's actually harming through our food.
Visualization of plastic debris in the ocean. Each white dot is 20kg of plastic.
Full and interactive visualization found at Sailing the Seas of Plastic
     The best solution to this problem would be to minimize and eventually eliminate plastic waste, but on an individual level there are plenty of things we can do. Replacing single-use plastic bags is an easy start, as reusable replacements are easily accessible, and most groceries provide small discounts for customers with reusable bags. Beyond that, people can cut down on single-use plastic items such as plastic coffee cups, straws, and disposable cutlery to lessen their impact on marine waste. Personally, I have a set of reusable cutlery and a reusable straw that I bring to work and use every day with lunch. Even on an individual level, every effort counts.

Link to buy a reusable straw for anyone who is interested.

Song of the week: Alrighty Aphrodite by Peach Pit

Until next time,
     ~Colin McRae

Sources

[1]
Parker, L. (2018, December 20). A whopping 91% of plastic isn't recycled. Retrieved from https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/07/plastic-produced-recycling-waste-ocean-trash-debris-environment/

[2]
Angel Water. (2017, September 13). The Life Cycle of a Plastic Water Bottle. Retrieved from https://angelwater.com/blog/life-cycle-plastic-water-bottle/

[3]
Fuhr, L. (2017, May 23). Why a global treaty is needed to tackle our plastics problem. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/05/we-need-a-global-treaty-to-tackle-the-worlds-plastics-problem-heres-why

[4]
The Problem of Marine Plastic Pollution. (2017, December 20). Retrieved from https://www.cleanwater.org/problem-marine-plastic-pollution

[5]
Snowden, S. (2019, May 31). 300-Mile Swim Through The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Will Collect Data On Plastic Pollution. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottsnowden/2019/05/30/300-mile-swim-through-the-great-pacific-garbage-patch-will-collect-data-on-plastic-pollution/#1addec23489f

[6]
The impact of microplastics on marine life. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/feature/microplastics/

Something Fishy About That Fish

Hello fish friends!

This week was a great week to catch fish! And, as I'm sure many of you know, it was quite a hot week outside. Boy, did our frozen squid (which we use as bait) get stinky from the sweltering hot sun!

Not a fan of the fish he caught...
On Tuesday, it was a special day for our friends at Courageous Sailing because we had our first off-land fishing trip with Captain Charlie aboard the Belle! It was a beautiful day on the water. We started off by checking Charlie's lobster traps, and turns out we caught a lobster, some huge spider crabs, and even a rock crab. This was possibly the first time I've seen a rock crab caught in the Harbor, so I was extremely excited when we pulled it up. On the trip, the kids were excited to be fishing. We caught just under a dozen fish, but unfortunately none of them were keepers. We caught a handful of bass, some chogee, a skate, and some other small fish that I was unable to identify. One young boy, who started the day unenthusiastic about fishing, caught FOUR fish. Needless to say, he was VERY happy with himself by the time we returned to the mainland.

big fish!
Back at Piers Park, every day we caught about 2-5 small cunner in our crab trap! The kids were extremely excited. If you ask me, I have a slight suspicion that the fish we caught each day were the same fish from the day before... smart little guys eating our bait! OR not so smart little fish for getting caught every day... On Thursday, we got a new type of small fish in our touch tank. It was so small and cute, and I excitedly picked it up to take a picture of it. However, when asking someone else who is more familiar with fish species, we were told that it was a toad fish--a type of fish that can sometimes be venomous! Oops! Luckily, both Jasmine and I (who had touched the fish), seemed to be fine. Now we know what to touch and what not to touch!
toadfish!

On both Wednesday and Friday, we taught our biweekly lessons to the kids at Piers. This Wednesday, I asked two of our JPAs to teach a lesson, so Colin and Ambri did a 45 minute lesson on the tides. They went over why we have tides (high and low) and what types of animals are affected by the intertidal zone. Ambri even made up a game about crabs in a crab trap, which the kids absolutely loved! I was very impressed by their creativity and teaching, so kudos to both of them for their planning and hard work!

Swedish fish for overfishing lesson!
On Friday, I led a lesson that is often used in various environmental science classes. I had never done it before, but, with the help of Colin, who was at Piers last year, led the lesson on overfishing. We used Swedish fish and coffee stirrers to be our fishing rods, and played a game that compared fishing an unlimited amount of fish to fishing a controlled amount of fish. The kids were really into the activity--quite possibly because we told them they could eat the Swedish fish after they participated... We went over concepts of overfishing, bycatch, and trawling, which, for a bunch of 6-8 year olds, is very hard to understand! However, the kids were very quick to pick up everything, and I left feeling satisfied and happy with their curiosity and knowledge.

Can't wait to CATCH you later!

Kaya





Fishy-Fishy Clean My Ocean

Hello!

At my site, Piers Park, we caught way more fish than expected in the crab trap. We also caught a skate! They have faces and lips just like humans. On Tuesdays, we always go to Courageous Sailing in Charlestown. At Courageous this week we caught a lobster! Not large enough to be kept and eaten, though. The kids at Piers Park also had a snack & ice cream party. It was fun participating because the kids are so funny and full of energy.

  During my days being on the Harbor, sadly, I have seen many plastic bottles as an example of plastic pollution. Plastic pollution affects marine life because it’s harming the environment where these creatures' habitats are. Plastic is being consumed and killing off species when doing so. It’s like if our air quality was polluted. We would start dying off one by one because the quality of air is poor. The same thing with marine life--plastic isn't a part of their habitat and it can be pretty invasive. Being invasive starts with being unwanted. When this pollution is taking over and invading these areas, any life around it will be affected negatively.

  Plastic pollution can affect humans indirectly because lots of marine life is being consumed by a human on a daily basis. If there’s plastic in something we consume, then we consume plastic as well. Eating plastic is not something anyBODY or THING should be doing. I can help reduce pollution by not littering anymore and cleaning up after myself. I can pick up trash when I see it and clean up if something looks overpowered by junk. I would encourage my family to be more aware of their plastic disposal by simply getting them to understand this is where we live: we need it in good condition. If our rooms are dirty most people get uncomfortable, so how can we be comfortable in our environment without keeping up with it? The change starts within you.


See ya next week,
Ambri




The Ghost Island

Hey all! It’s Stephanie and welcome back to my blog! This week started off on a very high note. I went kayaking (for the first time) on the Fort Point Channel! I would’ve never thought that I would ever be in a kayak and not be scared to death, but it was actually very calming and fun. While I was there I saw more trash than I expected too. The trash isn’t as visible when you’re just walking across the bridge, but it was definitely there. I found chip bags, water bottles, cigarette butts, and even styrofoam. We need to understand that the planet doesn’t clean itself and won’t be here forever if we don’t take care of it.

Fort strong (civil war)
What this summer has taught me so far is that I live in a city with a lot of history. Long Island, which Camp Harbor View now resides at, used to be inhabited by Native Americans before colonization took effect. In 1768, during the American Revolutionary War, British forces used Long Island to take care of their sheep, cattle, and swine. They also harvested hay from the island to feed their horses in Boston. Years later in 1893, during the Civil War, a huge construction project began, to build massive concrete gun emplacements for the large guns used to defend the Boston Harbor. Later on in 1928, a former hotel building was used to house homeless people, The Almshouse, alongside a chronic disease hospital. In the beginning the poor were housed with no kind of separation, such as gender, age, marital status, or children. Around 1400 patients and inmates were on the island. Twenty years later, there was more construction done on the island in order to create a housing unit designed to rehabilitate homeless alcoholics. 

Long Island Viaduct
Until the 1950s the only way to get to the island was through water. Then the “Long Island Viaduct” was built, which was a bridge connecting the island to the city of Boston. In 2014 Mayor Walsh made the decision to shut and tear down the bridge, due to lack and neglect of maintenance. Instead of going back to the basics of boats and ferries, the mayor decided to shut down the island as a whole. That includes any programs that were running at the time. Anybody that was living on the island was sent off to “try their luck” somewhere else. 
Stay Haunted, Stephanie

P.S. Long Island also served as the inspiration for Dennis Lehane’s, Shutter Island!

Plastic Pollution Doesn't Exist with Flo Around!


         Hey y’all, I’m back with an update on the "Save the Harbor, Save the Bay” summer program. This week my crew and I were still installed at the Boston Children’s Museum where we raised awareness of the nonprofit organization and prompted people to explore fishing and touch crabs to get a feel of the Marine life and excitement. Throughout the week, we caught an abundance of green crabs, a few perches and striped bass, and a few maturing spider crabs. One thing that was exciting this week was during break; my SHE and I were sitting at the table when I looked over and saw a fishing rod in the water, bouncing up and down and it almost got lurched into the harbor. I ran over and grabbed it, calling out to my SHE to grab the net. We ended up catching a huge striped bass within a few seconds.  Another weird thing that happened this week was that the Boston Harbor's cleaning crew was driving around and we told them that there was something in the water because we kept losing our fishing hooks and weights. They ended up going far into the harbor just to come back and bring us a rusty chair full of seaweed, barnacles and other aquatic life. And there was another time where the job became really slow, since we had no visitors, and we resorted to picking up trash from the bay with our hooks and nets we ended up taking out plastic wrappers and bags, containers and other weird objects. That’s where plastic pollution comes into this blog about and that will never happen as long as I’m around.
       In summary, plastic pollution is a "global problem that is growing exponentially due to an increase in both consumerism and manufacturing of certain products"(Griffin and Wilkins, 1). Much of this comes from the ease of disposing plastic products in the water and it has greatly contributed to its amount of plastic pollution. Specifically in the Boston Harbor, plastic pollution is not high in numbers but it’s enough to alert the public about how serious the problem is. Over dues time, plastic products can seep toxic chemicals and waste into the water, and as we know water is recycled and purified for consumption, so humans would have a greater risk of retrieving cancer, organ damage and abnormalities from contaminated water. “Save the Harbor, Save the Bay” can help reduce plastic pollution by advertising to avoid dropping trash in the water, exposing people to the dangers and consequences of polluting the water, and always being on the lookout for trash and picking it up on site.
      The proper and most popular way of disposing of plastic bags is to REUSE and RECYCLE!! Taking used items such as plastics bags and turning them into something new wou
ld positively impact the environments' future (Krishna, 3). Recycling the bags in the correct bin also helps reduce the pollution. And I bet there are countless more methods to save the Earth but we do what we can to do our part. Come on guys, let's be 'plastical' about this.
Until next time, Flo!



Save the Harbors’s History

             Sunday, July 21,2019
Heyyyy, I’m back again with a PSA about the Harbor and how it got to be how it is today. So for this week my crew and I were installed again at the Boston’s Children’s Museum where we explained to the public who were and allowed them to participate in fishing and a touch tank to get a feel of the marine life and how fun it is to be part of why it’s still striving. “Save the Harbor, Save the Bay” is there to serve as an educational outlet for people all over to learn about the harbor and everything that there is to know about it. We discuss how the harbor was an under water landfill for decades and once the problem became serious, the city invested 30 million dollars to clean it out and we, as Bostonians, must continue to keep the harbor safe from endangerment of becoming dirty again. For example, on Monday, the whole Save the Harbor, Save the Bay team went out on the Four Point Chanel to kayak and pick up trash in the water. My partners and I retrieved many plastic bottles, styrofoam cups, and containers. It was fun and all but sad to see the amount of trash we got as a whole and how there are ignorant people still after all this time.

Overall, the Harbor has been through soooo much in the past 50 years. From being featured in a song, to having a fire burn on its island for a decade and sewage plant treatments being installed at Deer Island to keep the water clear of filth. To elaborate, “Love that Dirty Water” by the Standells exaggerated the dirtiness of the harbor and how people could walk on top of it without getting their feet wet. That’s surprisingly unsettling to me because I can visualize the mindsets of people in
previous years through the harbors condition. Then, while the city was trying to clean out the harbor, huge dump trucks transferred trash onto spectacle island and lit it up on fire. FOR 10 WHOLE YEARS!! That is absolutely not ok. And finally, the city set up treatment plants for the water from sewage and that was probably the best idea they had yet. The harbor has suffered too much as an inanimate object and we need to start treating it with respect because it gives back soo much to the community.

And now that the Harbor is one of the cleanest harbor in the country, it is considered a national and state park because it is one of the largest recreational spaces and so it requires much attention and care. We should continue to keep the islands and water in gray condition for the years to come. For example, the Boston Children’s Museum restrooms have two settings for their toilets where a push up is for liquid waste while a pull down is for solid waster to keep the water cleaner through the sewage treatment plants. If more establishments around the water follow this idea, it can drastically
improve the quality of the water. And soon, this idea can branch out to other buildings and settlements.

Until time on the Harbor’s Post,
Flo

You FLOUND what?

Hi there!

This week started with an adventure, as a group we had the opportunity to kayak in the Fort Point Channel. Some had mixed feelings about being on the water, others couldn't hold in their excitement to begin paddling. I was anticipating to see how much trash we can collect in a short period of time, and let's just say I was overwhelmed. 
I couldn't believe how much trash we collected as a group, I was out on the water with a trio kayak and we worked as a team to spot trash and paddle over to pick it up. We found bottles, cups, caution tape that was stuck on the dock and a needle. The people who dispose their trash in the harbor are ignorant towards the fact that this is harming our animal and human life. It was an eye opener to see how much garbage was in the channel, and having this experience really proved to me that although the Boston waters have come a long way they still need a lot of work and care. 

Being a Chicago native, I was not aware of the dirty waters of Boston. I listened to the catchy song "Dirty Water" by The Standells today for the first time. The song is a hit but also exposes people to how bad the waters were, "down by the banks of the charlessss river". Even though this song is a Bostonian classic, the song is relative to the waters and how people used to view their city. 

The song came out in 1965, seven years later the Clean Water Act was passed in order to help the water quality in Boston. Since the 70's various organizations around the Boston area have been supporting to keeping the waters clean. Without the organizations and individuals showing concern about their "home" the Boston waters til this day would have been polluted. The song and organizations transformed Boston from the grimiest waters to one of the nations cleanest. 

Who is going to write a song about how far Boston waters have come? 
Any takers? 


Crab ya later, 
Katerina 





Saturday, July 20, 2019

Week 3

Welcome to week 3,

     Week two was good but week three was better because there were more kids which made the games and actives we played more fun. Week two we had about 6 kids in each camp session but now we have 12 plus kids. I like having more campers because each kid is funny and love what we do at Blacks Creek. Every day we get the kids pumped and energized for a great day. They love to play everybody’s it or Gaga ball, which is my favorite game by far. Che and I often go back and forth when we play Gaga ball, sometimes he gets me out and sometimes I get him out first. The kids always side with him for some reason, but that’s fine. While we’re playing time flies quickly because we’re just having so much fun. The kids that work for Quincy Recreation started to really play which makes it even more fun because they're also good competition for Che, Aiden and I and also they're funny.
     After the games, we go to the water and use these little nets to catch minnows, crabs or shrimp. This week we started to use a seine net. It was cool at first, but then we started to walk deeper into the water and that’s when stuff got weird. The bottom felt mad squishy and every step I took the bottom took my shoe with it so I had to put my foot in there and get my shoe back. Also for some reason, this weird scent came out of nowhere and it wasn’t a good scent either, it was very bad. After that Tessa and I decided to walk the net closer to shore. When we finished one "sweep" with the net, we took the net of water and bam, nothing the first time. But we went back and tried a different way which was going parallel to the shore. When we thought we had gone a good distance we took it out the water again and found a couple of crabs, some minnows, and shrimp. The third time we found the same stuff, but also a baby flounder. The kids were so excited to see it because some of them haven’t seen a flounder before. It was funny seeing all their facial expressions when they looked at the flounder. 
Tessa and I pulling the seine net out of the water.
     Plastic pollution is very bad for our environment because it hurts all the animals and living things in and out of the water. I can kill or hurt innocent animals that are doing nothing but trying to live. What I do to stop plastic pollution is I re-use all the bottles I get and I re-use the bags I get from the store. Reusing water bottles is the main thing I do, I’ll fill them with water and put flavored powder to make like juice, Gatorade, ice tea, etc… although sometimes I just keep it as water depending on how I’m feeling.

Catch you next week,
Damani

A Solution for Pollution

     Hey everyone, It's Aidan back at it again with another blog for my third week of work. This week was my first full week, and it was a busy and tiring, but fun, week. I got lots of sunburns in the blistering heat, and there was much to do, playing games with children and teaching them how to fish. I was excited to hear on Thursday I'd get to try J. Pace & Son's for the first time as a reward for winning the blog contest. Each week our supervisors pick a blog entry that stood out and my blog was chosen last week! Also on Thursday, one of the kids at Blacks Creek caught another horseshoe crab, and it was the same one from last week. We could tell because it had the same sea snail attached to its back. On Friday, I got to work with Kat's team at the Children's Museum. While there, the team and I caught lots of green crabs (rather feisty ones, I might add) and a small spider crab.

                                                                           
A fun game of everybody's it.


A couple of our camp kids trekking through the salt marsh.

     Boston Harbor wouldn't be considered one of, if not the cleanest harbor in the U.S. if it didn't have some history behind it. The Boston Harbor was once the dirtiest harbor there was. Spectacle Island, for example, was once two burning hills of trash atop a sandbar, that made way for life to later prosper on the new grassy island. There is, however, still evidence of leftover trash on the island, like the sea glass that dots the beaches of spectacle that date back over one hundred years! Also, a few white pipes stick up from the hills, releasing methane gas from inside the hills on the island, where some leftover trash remains.
     In the Harbor, flounder used to be rare, because they could never grow to full size, and the pollution caused tumors on the flounder's once white underside. Even though the herring gulls that populate the New England beaches often seem drawn to trash, they too die from ingesting or choking on plastic. Microplastics, like Styrofoam, are a big threat to the Boston Harbor, and to people who live or depend on it. The microplastics soak up other toxins in the water, like mercury, which is extremely toxic to people. These toxins, in the microplastics, are then ingested by marine life, which in turn may become food for humans, making us sick and causing serious health disorders.
     In order to reduce the amount of plastic thrown in the ocean, it's a good idea to avoid single-use plastics like water bottles and plastic bags. An obvious approach to the problem is to be responsible for recycling plastics regularly, even if it's not your trash. Yeah, it is kind of gross to touch another man's trash, but you can always find a nearby bathroom to wash your hands or carry hand sanitizer around. If you want your friends or others to follow the same idea, let them know about the dangers or risks that they face. Show them facts about how the food they might eat could be toxic, or how plastic ingestion kills animals. The truth might seem scary, but it's for the right cause. You could also encourage the city to install more recycling cans on sidewalks or parks, so its not as tempting to throw trash wherever. This final one is kind of situational, but it doesn't hurt to apply a guilt factor to friends and family when they litter.


That's all for this week, until next time,
Aidan