MWRA 2010-2011 Writing Contest Winners

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Meghan Burnett
Grade 5, Galvin Middle School, Wakefield
Ms. Alexander, Teacher


Boston Harbor was discovered by John Smith in 1614. It was important in American history as the first major port in the colonies and as an important military place from the Revolutionary War until today.

As the city of Boston grew, the harbor became polluted from people dumping sewage and garbage into the water. This continued for hundreds of years. In 1972 when the "clean water act" was passed, Boston Harbor was one of the most polluted harbors in the United States. Finally in the 1980s people became concerned about the water quality in the harbor. Since 1985, the harbor has become cleaner and cleaner. Native fish like smelt, herring, striped bass, and bluefish have returned to the harbor. Porpoises and harbor seals are now seen regularly around the harbor. The work isn't finished though, because it is still not safe to eat shellfish from Boston Harbor.

There are many cool things about Boston Harbor. One of my favorite things to do there is to take boat rides out to the islands. Spectacle Island used to be a dump but now, they renovated it into a beautiful place to go for a day trip. They have nice beaches, tons of sea glass and pottery, they host hotdog eating contests and have arts and crafts projects for kids. I made a kite there one time! Deer Island used to be an island next to Winthrop. After the hurricane of the 1938, Deer Island became a peninsula off of Winthrop. Deer Island is famous for its big wastewater treatment plant. We can see the egg-like sludge digesters from around the Harbor. George's Island is another place I like to go. There is a giant fort there (Fort Warren) built in the 1800s and used during the civil war. "The Lady in Black" is a popular legend about a ghost who lives at the fort. She is supposed to be the ghost of a confederate prisoner's wife. She was caught trying to help her husband escape from the prison. The penalty was to be hanged. She wore men's clothes to sneak into prison so she asked if she could die wearing girl clothes. They didn't have any girl clothes so they made black robes from the curtains in the mess hall and that's what she wore.

Boston Harbor is a great natural resource. It is filled with beautiful islands with different pasts and stories and interesting kinds of activities that visitors of all ages can enjoy. You will make so many beautiful memories of visiting the islands. That's why a clean Boston Harbor means a lot to me and I think everyone else should think so too.

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