A group of kids and families from The Charlestown Residents Alliance were among the more than 650 people who joined Save the Harbor/Save the Bay on Mass Bay Lines MV Freedom for 3 free Marine Mammal Safaris on Boston Harbor on Saturday, April 22. Participants came from across the city, around the region and as far away as Beijing, China to search for harbor seals and harbor porpoises as well as cormorants, eiders and other sea birds.
According to Save the Harbor’s Director of Strategy and Communications Bruce Berman, who has hosted the event since 1990, the seals and porpoises were particularly cooperative this year, with confirmed seal and porpoise sightings on all three trips. “Our mission is to restore, protect, and share Boston Harbor with the public” said Berman. “Based on the number of mammal sightings today, it seems that the seals and porpoises share our goals,”
Though the skies were cloudy the seas were calm, as safari-goers spotted seals off the USS Constitution in Charlestown and several pods of porpoise between Logan Airport in East Boston and Boston’s Fish Pier in the South Boston Seaport.
“I have been involved in environmental education and awareness programs for most of my life, but nothing is more fun than taking the T to the sea and discovering such interesting creatures just a few yards from the boat” said Chris Mancini, who recently joined Save the Harbor as the Vice President of Operations and Programs from Groundwork Somerville. “Today, as we celebrated Earth Day on the water, I was struck by the power of Boston Harbor to connect kids and families from every neighborhood in the city to each other and the sea.”
At the end of the cruise, Save the Harbor thanked their corporate sponsors, foundation funding partners and hundreds of individual donors for their support.
“A day like this gives us a sense of renewed “porpoise” quipped Berman as the vessel returned to ferry terminal at Rowes Wharf. “We think of these creatures as “seals of approval” for our shared efforts to transform Boston Harbor from a national disgrace into a source of opportunity and civic pride for the region’s residents and visitors alike.”
Save the Harbor’s free youth environmental education and family programs are made possible with Leadership Grants Bay from State Cruise Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, The Boston Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, and Distrigas/ENGIE.
Save the Harbor is grateful for Partnership Grants from Forrest Berkley & Marcie Tyre Berkley, The Clowes Fund, Comcast, Eastern Salt Company, Inc., Fan Pier – The Fallon Company, John Hancock Financial Services Inc., Kershaw Foundation – Cheers for Children, Mass Environmental Trust, Mass Humanities, Massachusetts Bay Lines, Massachusetts Port Authority, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, P&G Gillette, William E. & Bertha E. Schrafft Charitable Trust, Vertex, Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, The Yawkey Foundation.
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is a non-profit, public interest harbor advocacy organization whose mission is to restore and protect Boston Harbor, Massachusetts Bay, and the marine environment and share them with the public for all to enjoy. This year their free Youth Environmental Education programs will connect more than 30,000 underserved youth, teens and families to Boston Harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park.
For more information about Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the work they do to restore, protect and share Boston Harbor, the Boston Harbor Islands and our region’s public beaches from Nahant to Nantasket, visit their website at www.savetheharbor.org, their blog “Sea, Sand & Sky” at blog.savetheharbor.org, or follow savetheharbor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.