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Fostering Coastal  & Environmental Stewardship

People protect what they love, understand and improves their quality of life. That's what fostering environmental stewardship is all about. Our mission-driven programming creates community-based opportunities to learn about coastal issues. Our approach is one of supporting people's lived experiences while modeling that stewardship of the harbor and building trust-based relationships. This assures that people have a positive, empowering experience as they explore the waterfront and navigate urban stewardship and advocacy with our organization and city.

Microplastics in the Ocean:  Thinking Global, Acting Local

Children categorize microplastics with Harborkeepers staff
at a Guild Elementary School Fair, East Boston 

East Boston High School Students, with support from Harborkeepers, present their microplastics research project in a National Science Fair.

Microplastics is a growing global environmental problem but before it flows out into the big open ocean and into those great garbage gyres, the pollution enters the water at the local level.  With Over 7,000 pounds of trash and marine debris collected by dedicated Boston-area volunteers, staff and community members in over 3 years, The Harborkeepers continues to foster stewardship and create awareness about plastics in the ocean, and in particular microplastics. As part of a commitment to create awareness and find solutions to the microplastics pollution problem, The Harborkeepers is participating in the 2019 NOAA Gulf of Maine Marine Debris Action Plan. We have committed to an action item in the plan to help find solutions to the microplastics problem at the local level.

'Microplastics in the Ocean' Interview, January 21, 2021

The Harborkeepers' Director sat down for a virtual chat with Professor Diego Salvarezza, Chemical Technician and Professor of Technical Professional Education in Buenos Aires, Argentina to provide his perspective and share his knowledge on how ubiquitous microplastics are in the ocean, impacts to the ocean environment, marine life and humans as well as tips for taking action. Listen in by clicking on the right.

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Team Harborkeepers Makes a Splash for Harbor Stewardship!


Picture credit Tom Anderson

On Saturday, March 13, 2021, Team Harborkeepers took a #ShamrockSplash polar plunge at Constitution Beach, East Boston to help raise funds for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay's Better Beaches program. The Better Beaches program raises funds to then re-distribute as small grants to local organizations that activate public local beaches through free public events and programs. The Harborkeepers conducts shoreline clean-ups and holds the Maritime Festival at Constitution Beach every year, among other activities.


Thank you to Celeste, Mark, Julie, Susanna, Mary, Jessica, Magdalena and Elliot for your bravery in plunging into 35 degree (Fahrenheit) water! Together, we raised $2,530 for the Better Beaches program.

Check out the footage of the splash taken by Deysi Gutierrez from Empower East Boston. Thank you, Deysi, for capturing this special stewardship moment for everyone!

The Harborkeepers' Maritime Festival

A Unique Experience on the Waterfront

Thank you to all the event sponsors!

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Environmental Stewardship Through Shoreline Clean-ups 
The marine trash pollution problem is a global crisis, is a threat to human health and coastal habitats and is contributing to marine species extinction. However, the global marine pollution problem starts at the local level. How is Boston adding to the ocean trash pollution problem?  We are noting marine debris and trash entering and washing up on our shores. Since 2016, Harborkeepers' has been conducting volunteer shoreline clean-ups to try and address this issue.  At the close of 2020, we documented a collection of over 7,000 pounds of trash through our organized clean-ups. From plastic bottles, to styrofoam, bottle caps, cigarette butts to all kinds of miscellaneous debris and litter, we've seen it all.  The marine trash keeps piling up on our shoreline.  With the amount of trash and debris Harborkeepers and supporters are collecting on a yearly basis, we know that less trash is entering the ocean from our part of the coastline that helps improve waterfront areas for humans and marine life. You could be a harbor hero, too!  Send us an email if you would like to volunteer or if your group would like to sponsor a shoreline clean-up.

Flip Through Our Pictures to See Some #HarborHeroes!


Thank you to our supporters for sponsoring a shoreline clean-up!

Channel Fish Co.  Shore Plaza East - Aetna - Boston University Upward Bound - Donald McKay Elementary School - Excel Academy Charter School - The Eddy - Atlantic Works Gallery - Starbucks - Friends of the Boston Harborwalk - Boston East Residents - Love Your Block Volunteers - Friends of the East Boston Greenway - The East Boston High School Seniors 2019 - Lendlease

4/6/19 Shoreline Clean-up Kickoff at LoPresti Park, East Boston.

Thank you to The Eddy for sponsoring! Trash collected: 319 lbs.

Partners in Coastal Stewardship 

Building partnerships, fostering collaboration and creating spaces of connectedness between diverse stakeholders is at the core of our work of fostering environmental stewardship and building coastal resiliency. Together and in partnership, we can build resiliency from the ground up by advocating for better resources for our communities, building consensus on environmental progress, improving access to waterfront spaces equitably and uplifting all communities. Whether it's partnering on a marine education training session with the New England Aquarium, arranging a tour for locals to the Nantucket Lightship LV-112, organizing free kayak sessions with the Piers Park Sailing Center or coming together as partners to remove hundreds of pounds of trash from the shoreline with the Friends of the Boston Harborwalk, fostering environmental stewardship requires sustainable partnership-building and collaboration. Together, we will make more progress.

As a partner of the Barr Foundation's Waterfront Initiative, Harborkeepers works in conjunction with other waterfront stakeholders to create a welcoming, fun, productive and resilient waterfront, aWaterfront for All. 

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