MWRA 2009-2010 Writing Contest Winners

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Jeremy Cowham
Grade 7, Milton Academy, Milton
Ms. Capaldo, Teacher


Playing in surf at the beach. Fishing off a pier. Whale watching, the harbor teasing you with sprays of cool water on a sweltering summer day. In both large and small ways, Boston Harbor is a treasured source of fun, relaxation, and resources ... right here in Greater Boston. We cannot only receive, however; giving is half the deal. It is our responsibility to care for our harbor. We have only one, after all. We must therefore balance our value of business and enjoyment with our commitment to the environment.

I am fortunate enough to be a camper at Camp Harborview on Long Island every summer. As its name suggests, the campsite has a spectacular view of the harbor from the dining hall, prompting my mom to remind me, "Do you know how much you would have to pay to dine at a restaurant with scenery like that?!" One of the many activities at camp is beach volleyball, and believe me, it is awe-inspiring to play your favorite game with the sights and scents of Boston Harbor all around you. Sailing at camp is spectacular, too. Sometimes we'll playfully push one another into the water, or splash off the side of the boats. One of my favorite camp activities is assisting with research, by helping collect and document organisms such as shellfish and plants, in order to measure the health and biodiversity of the ecosystem. The more I learn, the more I am committed to maintaining a clean harbor because without it, none of this fun would be possible. I am only one Bostonian, and consider all the enjoyment I get out of Boston Harbor. I can only imagine all the pleasure our community would be missing if it weren't the clean harbor that it is today.

Another gift Boston Harbor generously grants us is food. From the tenderness of fried Haddock to the salty chewiness of steamers, I love seafood ... but I am concerned about sustainability. I want to support local fishermen without encouraging over-fishing or irresponsible fish farming, so my family tries to make responsible seafood choices. We also worry about high levels of pollutants found in some types of fish, one of the effects of poor waste management. Pollution reaches the sea via rivers and streams, which absorb it from landfills and watersheds. We must stop putting ourselves and our individual prosperity above the welfare of the environment. My family tries to reduce pollution by recycling as much possible, and being very careful what we flush into our sewer system. We try to use gentle cleaners such as baking soda and biodegradables rather than caustic chemical cleaners, and we always recycle rather than dispose of dangerous substances such as batteries and anything containing mercury. We all owe it to the environment to make responsible choices every day.

Boston Harbor brings our community immense pleasure. Whether it's watching a scarlet sunset, eating locally-harvested clams, or observing a whale coming up for air, Boston Harbor is a precious privilege. Let's cherish it.

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