Seaside’s award-winning Project-Based Learning course curriculum for middle and high schools is built on the foundation of project management, leadership, and sustainability. Students, guided by educators and the curriculum, undertake a hands-on project that has real-world outcomes that directly benefit the school, district, and/or community. The course drives towards the ultimate goal of making schools, districts, cities, and towns more sustainable.
Seaside’s Executive Director, Eric Magers has trained more than 600 educators across the nation. Several schools using Green Scholars have won the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award, the highest honor for an educational facility to achieve, and hundreds of students and educators have garnered coveted awards and scholarships for acceptance to premier universities around the world. Because Green Scholars is based on the experiential education model, the program allows students to manage a real-world project and see the positive outcome of sustainability in their school or community. It includes valid and reliable assessments and an easy-to-follow four-part curriculum. Green Scholars will launch on a web-based format during the 2021-2022 school year.
Marine Science and Education
Seaside collaborates with local, regional, and national partners and sponsors on multiple projects including marine debris trawls, mudflat acidification testing, evaluation of compostable products in marine environments, coastal cleanups, microplastics assessments, marine debris mapping, and invasive species mitigation. Thanks to Seaside’s partners and network of local students, educators, scientists, and community members, we are able to support data collection and help discover solutions to these climate-driven issues. We are currently creating field trip opportunities for students on the North Shore and in the Greater Boston areas. Through these programs, we will continue to elicit involvement from the greater community to inspire lasting change.
Marine Debris Trawls: Seaside periodically performs marine debris trawls, with the help of Peter Phippin, Essex Selectman, to analyze the amount of microplastics in North Shore bodies of water.
Mudflat Acidification Testing: Seaside is working with the Salem Sound Coastwatch to test the acidity of various mudflat habitats to determine the effects of ocean CO2 absorption on the mudflat habitats in Essex, Gloucester, and Manchester.
Compostables in the Marine Environment: Seaside is conducting experiments to determine the time it takes for common compostable products to decompose in a marine environment. This is being done to gain an understanding of the potential harm of these products on marine life and to work with manufacturers to expand the term compostable to include full degradation in the marine environment.
Coastal Cleanups: Seaside organizes coastal cleanups where community members and other volunteers collect, record, and properly dispose of marine debris that has been brought in by the tides along North Shore beaches.
Microplastic Assessments: Seaside has developed a protocol for analyzing the levels of microplastics in the sand on our beaches. Community members can be taught the process and contribute to our growing database.
Marine Debris Mapping: Seaside is actively working to clean up the shores and waterways of the Great Marsh on the North Shore. Through surveys of the coastal lands, we hope to record the types and locations of macroplastics in order to inform land management decisions and practices.
Invasive Species Mitigation: European Green Crabs are an invasive species that threaten the sensitive intertidal communities and the shellfish industry along Cape Ann. Seaside periodically sets traps to capture and remove this invasive species, providing the crabs to local businesses for sustainable meals or bait.
Sea Level Rise: Seaside monitors the current and potential effects of sea-level rise on Cape Ann. Through these efforts, Seaside is able to help inform communities about how they can prepare effectively for the future.
One of Seaside’s many projects is promoting disposable plastic bans in local communities. These bans help communities reduce their disposable plastic consumption, especially the consumption of single-use items which can easily end up polluting the environment and our oceans. Seaside works together with local school groups and town or city officials; thus far, our collective work has legislated successful disposable plastic bans in several communities, Rockport being one of the most comprehensive in the country. Seaside sees community education as a crucial part of generating support for plastic bans. Informing citizens about the dangers of plastic pollution and plastic use - while providing them with information on convenient alternatives - is essential for gaining support from business owners. To empower other communities to champion bans, we put together a guide to planning and implementing a successful disposable plastic ban. This “How to Plan a Single-Use Plastic Ban Guide” leads interested organizations, clubs, and individuals through the complex process of conducting a disposable plastic ban.
Seaside's other current legislative focuses include examining the chemicals currently treated in wastewater treatment plants and the promotion of reef-safe (and human-safe) sunscreen, as well as supporting other environmental legislation campaigns that align with Seaside's mission.
In a seamless integration with our local and regional Education and Science division, Seaside evaluates and deploys several technologies used in connection to marine debris mitigation. Seaside has two Seabins and an MTS Skimmer in Gloucester Harbor. From April through December, these continuously clean surface debris, including plastics and solidified oils from marine environments. Seabins are emptied up to four times daily and the Skimmer twice a week. Seaside is an exclusive distributor of Seabins in New England and New York with clients including marinas, cities, and towns and educational organizations. Additionally, Seaside has a flying DJI Phantom Drone operated by a licensed operator that is used to map trends in marine debris and to film fieldwork in process. Our FIFISH underwater drone used to identify sunken marine debris near the coast, has identified hot spots of sunken debris in many locations on the North Shore. A BluePhin aqua drone marine trash collector and water quality tester, akin to a harbor “Roomba,” will soon be procured. Other future projects include evaluating storm drain outfall nets, Smartfin data collection skegs for surfers, and outfitting a small skiff to clean up the harbor by hand.
At the junction between art and sustainability are two local projects Seaside is spearheading: "Goby the Fish" and “Drain smART.” Combined, they provide a wonderful interplay between the importance of art and the public perception of sustainability. Goby the Fish, a metal fish sculpture, will be filled with marine debris, serving as social commentary and inspiration to onlookers and beachgoers. In further support, local schools with welding programs are developing their own sculptures, bringing more attention to our growing and harmful influence on beaches, the sea, and marine life. Drain smART, a school project engaging classes in painting storm drains using eco-friendly outdoor paints on campus, links the urgency in understanding that what is in the streets finds its way to the ocean. For each of these projects, Seaside plans to create comprehensive “how-to” guides and two websites, www.gobyfish.org and www.drain-smart.net to proliferate these great projects around the world!
Seaside Sustainability is in the process of creating a program that measures an individual’s impact on the environment. Currently, in its development stage, research is being done to study the relationship between human behavior and environmental health to build a comprehensive map of how people use resources over long periods of time. The goal is to create a platform that is set apart from the rest, in that it tackles more than one issue within sustainability. We hope to create a platform that will touch on an individual’s carbon footprint, water footprint, energy efficiency, and waste production simultaneously.
Seaside’s international (virtual and local) internship program supports the day-to-day operations of Seaside, supporting all of our projects, and boasts an impressive amount of accredited internships in more than 900 colleges and universities around the globe. Rooted firmly in education and hands-on learning, there is no doubt why Seaside has more than 40 interns at any given point throughout the year. Interns work on a myriad of projects and programs in every aspect of the organization from single-use plastic legislation, marketing, art projects, events, research, and more. During the academic year, most interns work offsite; in the summer most are onsite, engaged in such activities as legislative political action, marine science education, blue technology, and group art projects, in addition to marketing and research. Interns work more than 22,000 hours collectively a year and are placed in diverse teams of two to 15 people working on projects that align with their personal and curricular learning goals. Seaside Sustainability works tirelessly to ensure all of the interns get the attention they need to achieve their internship goals. We hope to increase this program to exceed 300 interns a year by further developing Fellow and Project Manager positions for all our projects.