On Saturday morning, June 27, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay awarded $208,700.00 in grants to 39 beach groups and community organizations from Nahant to Nantasket as part of their Safer & Better Beaches Program Partnership with the Department of Conservation & Recreation at a virtual award ceremony on Zoom.
According to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay's Executive Director Chris Mancini, this year's grants will support efforts to keep the region's public beaches in Lynn, Nahant, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and Hull safe and open this summer. They will also support support free, re-imagined, beach events and programs when the Covid-19 pandemic has passed and public programming can safely resume.
|Grant recipients in a Zoom group photo.|
"As the nation continues to wrestle with the challenges of both the Covid-19 pandemic and the consequences of systemic racism, safe and accessible blue and green spaces like the region's public beaches from Nahant to Nanatasket are more important than ever" said Mancini. "In these uncertain times, you can be sure that Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will continue to support our partners in the region's waterfront neighborhoods and beachfront communities, as we work together to keep these spectacular urban natural resources safe, open and welcoming to all."
Department of Conservation & Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery took part in the ceremony on Saturday, and applauded the power of Save the Harbor's Better Beaches Program partnership with DCR, which has invested more than $1 million dollars in free beach programs since it began in 2007.
"The Baker/Polito Administration has made it a priority to support great partnerships like this, that encourage people to get and enjoy the outdoors in a safe and responsible way" said Montgomery. "With Covid-19, our beaches and parks are even more important for people's mental and physical health. It is a great partnership. I look forward to seeing you all on your beach, hopefully very soon."
|Senator Brendan Crighton, co-chair of the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, speaking to the attendees of the Zoom award ceremony|
State Senator Brendan Crighton of Lynn, who co-chairs the Metropolitan Beaches Commission with Rep. RoseLee Vincent of Revere, was also on hand to thank Save the Harbor, DCR, and this year's recipients.
"We all love the beach," Crighton said. "In the light of this awful pandemic, and our renewed fight against racial injustice, it has never been more important for folks to have a welcoming place to get fresh air and exercise, and a safe place for people to gather and voice their concerns."
According to Save the Harbor/Save the Bay's Director of Strategy & Communications Bruce Berman, in the coming weeks the group will host a "virtual charette" to begin to "re-imagine beach programs" in light of the twin public health crises we are facing together.
"In these uncertain times, it is important to hope for the best but to plan for the worst," Berman said. "Though we are not yet certain how to continue to put these spectacular urban natural resources to work for all our residents and our communities, you can be certain that Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will be here when the Covid-19 pandemic has passed, with free events and programs for all the region's residents to enjoy."
As the meeting drew to an end, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay asked participants to share a short video, "A Line in the Sand" encouraging beachgoers to practice social distancing to keep our beaches safe and open this summer. You can watch it on YouTube here.
Save the Harbor also thanked the Baker/Polito Administration, the legislative leadership and community members of the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, their foundation funders including The Boston Foundation, The Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation, P&G Gillette, Comcast, National Grid, and Beacon Capital Partners, as well as event and program sponsors Jet Blue and Harpoon Brewery, and the hundreds of people who took part in this year's Harpoon Shamrock Splash, for making this important program possible.
For more information on Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the work they do to restore, protect and share Boston Harbor, the Boston Harbor Islands and the region's public beaches with all the region's residents, visit their website at www.savetheharbor.org, and follow @savetheharbor on social media.
To take part in an upcoming "Re-Imagining the Beach" charette, send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.