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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grant to Increase Boston Harbor Islands Access and Education

For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grant to Increase Boston Harbor Islands Access and Education

Katie Gronendyke,

Boston — In celebration of Earth Day, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matthew A. Beaton today announced a $197,040 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET) for increased access to the park and educational programming, as students from across Boston boarded boats at the Long Wharf ferry terminal to kick-off a new season at the Boston Harbor Islands.

“There is no better way to celebrate Earth Day than to visit Massachusetts’ 450,000 acres of state parks, beaches and forests,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The Boston Harbor Islands are a wonderful resource to explore just minutes from downtown Boston. I encourage all Boston residents to experience the beauty and history that the islands have to offer.”

“These islands in the center of a busy city and harbor are a great example of how families in every part of the state can enjoy our state parks and beaches, regardless of where they live,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to working with our local partners not only to preserve our state’s precious natural resources, but also ensure all residents, have access to outdoor recreational opportunities.”

Since it was founded in 1988 as part of the Boston Harbor cleanup, MET has awarded more than $20 million in grants to organizations statewide that provide a wide array of environmental services, from supporting water projects in communities to protecting coastal habitats. Funding for this program comes from the sale of the state’s three environmentally-themed specialty license plates: the Right Whale Tail, the Leaping Brook Trout and the Blackstone Valley Mill.

“My childhood spent outdoors instilled in me a great respect for our natural resources, and this grant will provide more children the opportunity to visit this natural and historic treasure and learn the importance of protecting our environment,” said EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton. “This funding has been made possible because over 40,000 drivers in Massachusetts choose to purchase one of the three environmental license plates, and I applaud our state’s residents for their continued commitment to the Commonwealth’s environment.”

The grant is awarded to Boston Harbor Now which will work with in partnership with the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay to enhance educational programming and provide additional slots for participants.

“By providing funding that will be utilized to increase access to the Boston Harbor Islands, the Baker-Polito Administration is demonstrating its commitment to one of Massachusetts most unique and historic resources,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “It has become increasingly important that state government continues to foster these types of partnerships in order to deliver important educational and recreational opportunities for public benefit.”

Public ferry service to Georges and Spectacle Islands begins on Saturday May 7, 2016 and ferries will be free on that day thanks to the National Park Service. 

“Boston Harbor and the Harbor Islands are one of the region’s greatest assets, and ensuring a vibrant and sustainable future for the Harbor means connecting all of the people who live here, raise families here, work here and visit here to the remarkable resources of the Harbor,” said Kathy Abbot, the new President of Boston Harbor Now. “We at Boston Harbor Now are thrilled to be able to partner with the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the National Park Service, the City of Boston, Save the Harbor Save the Bay to help connect the next generation of Boston area youth to the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park.”

“It is inspiring to see the National Park Foundation, Massachusetts Environmental Trust and many other partners step up to support our shared goal of getting Boston area youth and their families to their island park,” said National Park Service Superintendent Giles Parker. “These generous grants will ensure that children from throughout the city and Commonwealth have an opportunity to experience the great outdoors in their community while developing a lifelong connection to their public lands.”

 “We are proud to be part of this effort to connect kids and communities to Boston’s extraordinary harbor and the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park,” said Patty Foley, President of Save the Harbor Save the Bay.

“As the transportation provider to the Boston Harbor Islands, Boston Harbor Cruises is proud to play a role in introducing area youth to this beautiful National and State Park, right in the city’s own backyard,” said Rick Nolan, Principal of Boston Harbor Cruises.  

MET, established by the Massachusetts Legislature as a state trust in 1988, is governed by a nine-member board of trustees appointed by the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.



Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grant to Increase Boston Harbor Islands Access and Education

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.