By Rebecca Shoer
Cabot Education and Community Engagement Program Manager
2021 was our first year developing and implementing pilot education and public engagement programs for the Lab! Working alongside Boston Harbor Now and our many partners, we shared our research with young people at Coughlin Park, observed climate change effects in Charlestown Navy Yard, and experienced the Perigean Spring Tide at Long Wharf, Fort Point Channel, and East Boston! Read on to find out more.
[Photo description: Four teenagers led by an adult walking down a rocky beach. The beach has salt marsh grasses and water on one side, and grasses on the other.]
This summer, young people working with the Trustees of Reservations and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay joined us for several field excursions to Coughlin Park. They met with Lab researchers, learned about Nature-based Solutions, and tried out monitoring protocol techniques. They also provided us with critical feedback and perspectives on how young people want to get engaged with climate resiliency research in their communities.
[Photo description: Five teenagers standing outside on a wharf, looking through binoculars out over the water.]
We also hosted two field experiences with the PLACE Fellowship program from National Parks of Boston. Youth spent time observing and learning about climate change threats to Boston Harbor, practiced monitoring protocols, and learned about and discussed career opportunities in the field of climate change research.
[Photo description: SLL staff person standing on a flooded wharf, behind an informational sign. A inflatable unicorn pool toy floats nearby.]
In collaboration with the Boston Harbor Now, the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing, and the Boston Children’s Museum, we also hosted two “Wicked High Tide” public engagement events during the annual Perigean Spring Tide. In addition to developing and translating outreach materials, staff engaged with the public in-person at three locations throughout Boston, raising awareness about these high tides and the threat of sea level rise. Find out more about these tides here!
We are deeply grateful to our many partners and for the generous support of the Cabot Corporation, who made these programs possible. Plans for 2022 are already in motion, including professional development opportunities for educators, classroom experiences, and summer programming. Stay tuned!