50 kids from the Mystic Learning Center in Somerville were among the group as they sailed to Georges Island with Save the Harbor/Save the Bay on July 12.

By Bruce Berman

So far this summer nearly 5,000 young people and their families have set sail on free Tall Ships Cruises and free day trips to the Boston Harbor Islands as part of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s free All Access Boston Harbor program, including 50 kids from Somerville.

This free program, which provides free access to the Boston Harbor Islands to more than 100 area youth and community groups, features environmental exploration, historic sea chanteys and art on the shore, as well as fishing, crabbing, swimming, and storytelling by the sea.

“Save the Harbor’s free Youth Environmental Education Programs are the cornerstone of our work to “Share the Harbor” with young people and their families and create a new generation of environmental stewards,” said Save the Harbor’s Vice President of Operations and Programs Chris Mancini. “This season we expect to serve 30,000 youth and teens ages 7-17 at 8 program sites, on 28 free island excursions and at 20 free beach events from Nahant to Nantasket.”

All Access trip begin at the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion where the group learns the history of Boston Harbor and the Harbor cleanup with an interactive presentation from Save the Harbor’s Maritime Historian, David Coffin. Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s summer youth staff of teachers, college assistants and high school students then bring the kids aboard Bay State Cruise Company’s Provincetown II to set sail to the Harbor Islands where each group enjoys a picnic lunch before exploring the island.

“What a great way to spend a summer day,” said Save the Harbor’s spokesman Bruce Berman. “We believe that every child and family deserves the opportunity to enjoy these spectacular urban natural resources, and are doing our best to make it happen.”

The Boston Harbor Islands are important educational and recreational resources for youth development and community groups from around the region. On Spectacle Island, Save the Harbor’s educators teach kids to fish for flounder, skates and the occasional striped bass from the pier, and help them explore the shore looking for sea glass and historic artifacts from Spectacle’s “Treasure Beach.”

On Georges Island, youth and teens explore the maze of passageways at Fort Warren, a historic landmark used for coastal defense during the Civil War, where they may even catch a glimpse of the famous ghost of the “Lady in Black.” The docks on the island offer fantastic fishing spots while the parade ground is a great space for sports and games.

“At Save the Harbor/Save the Bay we are particularly proud to serve as the BostonHarbor Connection for a generation of young people,” said Save the Harbor/Save the Bay President, Patricia Foley. “The best way we know to “save the harbor” is to share it with the region’s kids and families.” Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s free youth and beach programs have introduced more than 160,000 young people to Boston Harbor and the Islands since they began in 2002.

Save the Harbor’s free youth environmental education and family programs are made possible with Leadership Grants from Bay State Cruise Company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, The Boston Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Distrigas/ENGIE.

For more information about Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, visit their website at www.savetheharbor.org, their blog Sea, Sand & Sky at www.blog.savetheharbor.org or follow savetheharbor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



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