With much debate happening around the city about just what to do with Gloucester’s waterfront, it might be refreshing for some to know that local youth are learning about the importance of caring for our coastline well before they reach the age that they have to make such decisions.
Students and teachers from Beeman Elementary School’s fourth- and fifth-grade classes recently combined with the Gloucester Conservation Commission and Gorton’s Seafood to plant dune grass in the dunes of Good Harbor Beach. The GCC reported that 7,500 culms of American Beach Grass were planted by volunteers from the school and Gorton’s last week, with Gorton’s footing the bill for the dune grass and sending 40 or so volunteers to help the students out.
The project is part of an effort by the school to teach students about the importance of a healthy coastline in a community that is surrounded by the ocean. It is a natural follow up to a similar school project held in 2010, which was funded by a grant from MIT and worked in conjunction with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“It’s something we call ‘Living Blue,’” explains Beeman principal Ellen Sibley. “It focuses on the added responsibility of a coastal community to live green because we are the gatekeepers of the ocean.”