Massachusetts Bays
Watershed Stewardship Guide

Developed for teachers and youth leaders by the Massachusetts Bays Education Alliance based on the Massachusetts Bays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan


The Massachusetts Bays Watershed Education Teaching Program is sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Extension with financial support from The Massachusetts Bays Program.

U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating


Mass Bays

The Massachusetts Bays Program is a joint effort of local, state, and federal governments, as well as citizens, scientists, educators, and businesses, to develop regional solutions to pollution problems in the Bays and their adjacent watersheds. The Program is funded under the Clean Water Act through the U.S. Environmental Protection AGency, and is administered by the Massachusetts Exedcutive Office of Environmental Affairs' Coastal Zone Management Office. In addition to developing a long-term plan to improve water wauality management, the Program offers information and technical assistance on innovative, locally-based pollution prevention and remediation projects, and sponsors a multi- faceted public outreach and education effort to heighten awareness of pollution problems and to enlist support for and participation in Bays protection.

For more information , call 617-727-9530, x402,
or write to the Massachusetts Bays Program,100 Cambridge Street, Room 2006, Boston, MA 02302


UMass Extension is a statewide outreach arm of the University of Massachusetts Amherst that addresses public concerns of high priority for the Commonwealth. Part of the national Cooperative Extension System, it sponsors programs in Agroecology, Natural Resources/Environmental Conservation, 4-H Youth/Family Development, and Nutrition Education. These four programs, often working in partnerships with other organizations, utilize the resources of the University to offer research and educational opportunities including workshops, conferences, distance education, newsletters, training events, consultations and applied research. UMass Extension's slogan, "working partners", reflects its frequent collaborations with diverse public and private agencies and organizations throughout the state.





The MASSACHUSETTS BAYS PROGRAM requires active, thoughtful, and committed citizens to individually and collectively work toward the solution of current environmental problems, as well as the prevention of new ones. The Massachusetts Bays Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan - 1996 [MBCCMP] identifies 14 Action Plan priorities, compiled from research over a five year period. These priorities serve as a blueprint for coordinated action to restore and protect water quality and natural resources of Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay and their estuaries and watersheds. A formal signing of the MBCCMP between State and Federal Agencies took place in September 1996. The full version of the MBCCMP is available at libraries and municipal buildings in towns within watersheds that drain into the bays. In order for the 14 Action Plans to be successfully implemented and monitored there is a significant role for a public education/information strategy.

The MASSACHUSETTS BAYS EDUCATION ALLIANCE [MBEA] was formed as an advisory subcommittee of the Massachusetts Bays Program to devise such an outreach and education plan. The MBEA seeks to build a community of educators who "ably teach about, and promote the protection of, this state's bays, shores, and watersheds." To this end the MBEA steering working group of educators from formal and non-formal sectors wrote a portion of the MBCCMP, ACTION PLAN #15: "Enhancing Public Education and Participation-- Educating Teachers, Students, and the Public About the Bays."* The ACTION PLAN #15 recommends using education strategies that :

1. Provide information that is easy to understand and can be applied to local situations.

2. Emphasize individual responsibility for pollution of Massachusetts Bays watersheds and waterways.

3 Detail actions each person can take to minimize and control contaminants from reaching surface and ground waters.

These strategies are supported by recent education reform in the Massachusetts Science and Technology Frameworks. The Habits of Mind section describes the "Sense of Stewardship and Care" as an underlying philosophy of learning:

"Science and technology affect human well-being and environmental quality at almost every turn. As students come to understand this, they develop an idea of stewardship: an appreciation for the richness and diversity of Earth's resources and a sense of responsibility for protecting human beings and the environment that sustains them now and for generations to come."

The Massachusetts Bays Watershed Stewardship Guide: An Education Resource [Guide] was developed to reach our future citizens. The Guide challenges an audience of upper elementary to high school students by linking education reform with the real world of research in the Bays. The Watershed Stewardship Guide includes activities that incorporate Inquiry, problem-solving and opportunity for use of models, along with CCMP Action Plan priorities and issues identified by Massachusetts Bays-funded research as vital to environmental health of the Bays watersheds.

The Massachusetts Bays Program is moving from the plan development stage to the plan implementation phase. Public education and participation is a cornerstone for sustaining our collective efforts for implementing the action plans. It is also a job that is never finished. Every new generation needs to be educated. My hope is that this watershed stewardship guide can form a useful foundation for all of the educators that have committed to providing our future citizens with the information they need to ensure a sustainable, healthy environment.

Jan Peter Smith

* The full text of Action Plan #15 is located in PART I - p. 17-20.




Developers and Writers:

Barbara S. Waters, Project Co-Coordinator, UMass Extension/Amherst;

Faith Burbank, Project Co-Coordinator, UMass Extension/Amherst and coordinator of the Massachusetts Bays Education Alliance Working Group and

Headwaters Consulting Group: Katherine F. Stewart, Environmental Science and Technology Consultant, and Joanne Carey, Editorial Consultant

Content Review:

Martha Hoar

Jim Lafley

Shelia Petrocelli

Cindy Delpapa

Jane Heinz-Fry

Susan Carver

Louise Preissler

Mary Beers

Organizations and Agencies Contributing to Guide Development:

The following organizations and agencies are members of the Massachusetts Bays Education Alliance Working Group, a subcommittee of the Massachusetts Bays Program. The Alliance initiated and developed the Massachusetts Bays Watershed Stewardship Guide as a resource teaching tool for Massachusetts teachers and environmental organization educators.

More than two hundred educators, grades 4-12, reviewed the Watershed Stewardship Guide goals and activities through forums, workshops and study groups. In November 1996, two forums, co-sponsored by Massachusetts Marine Educators, were held in the South Shore and Cape Cod Regions hosted by Manomet Observatory, and in the Metro Boston hosted by New England Aquarium. Peabody Essex Museum hosted another forum in May 1996. Six additional workshops and study groups met throughout the winter and spring of 1996-97 to further review the draft document. Written comments and other revisions based on these activities were incorporated into this final edition.

Metropolitan District Commission

John Kovich, Nancy Murphy-Wachusett Reservoir

Russ Grier-Charles River, Lynn Penny-Camp Nihan

Massachusetts Riverways Programs, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement

Maria Van Dusen, Karen I. Pelto

Massachusetts Dept. Environmental Protection

Laura Kursman

US Environmental Protection Agency Reg. I

Anne Rodney, Stafford Madison, MaryJo Feuerbach

Massachusetts Marine Educators

Peg Collins, Anne Smrcina, Mary Corcoran

Massachusetts Audubon Society

Louise Preissler - Lincoln Headquarters

Ken Presley - Stonybrook Sanctuary

Barbara Egan - Ipswich River Sanctuary

Colette Sahely - Broadmoor Sanctuary

Nashua River Watershed Association - Groton

Sally Soule, Bonny Potter

Saugus River Watershed Council - Saugus

Cindy Delpapa

Manomet Observatory - Plymouth

Janis Burton

New England Aquarium - Boston

Ellie Calhoun, Joel Rubin, Alex Goldowsky

Peabody Essex Museum - Salem

Janey Winchell, Christy Sorensen

Green Briar Center of the Thornton Burgess Society - Sandwich

Mary Beers

Charles River and Neponset River Watershed Associations


The Massachusetts Bays Watershed Stewardship Guide review workshops with teachers and environmental organizations leaders were funded through the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, Department of Environmental Protection, Watershed Division, in partnership with UMass Extension K-12 Professional Development Program. The Environmental Protection Agency, New England Region, contributed the cost of printing and mailing the draft edition of the Guide.

Special appreciation to Polaroid Corporation in Norwood Massachusetts for the contribution of publication costs of the this edition of the Stewardship Guide. Printing was done by Inner City, Inc., 120 Southampton Street, Boston, MA 02118.

Sustainable Communities - A Guiding Principle for Stewardship:

The final writing of the Massachusetts Bays Watershed Stewardship Guide was supported through Cape Cod Green Connections, a one-year partnership between UMass Extension and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region I office. Green Connections, funded through USDA, is exploring methods of supporting and integrating youth environmental community service learning into larger community efforts for sustainable development using Cape Cod environment as a model. This goal integrates well with the stewardship message of the final revision of the Watershed Stewardship Guide.

This guide encourages students and educators to view watershed stewardship through the magnified lense of sustainability and community, enlarging the original idea of community service from "picking up papers at the side of road" or "planting trees and save the planet", to integrating community stewardship into a set of sustainable indicators that will preserve the community into the future. Sustainable means "continuing without lessening" and a "sustainable community" seeks to maintain and improve the economic, environmental and social characteristics of an area so its members can continue to lead healthy, productive, enjoyable lives there.

The Watershed Stewardship Guide will provide middle and high school leaders and advisors of young people with local environmental issues, priorities and ideas. They will translate these into community initiative actions in partnership with scientists and a variety of business, government and nonprofit organizations concerned with sustainability. Educators and youth leaders receive the guide as part of the professional development support for learning new, empowering ways of working with youth.







Matrix of Activities Matrix: I--VI

A listing of the Massachusetts Bays Program Subregions and Action Plans with activities, Benchmarks,* references and information sheets that define and model priorities.

Connect Massachusetts Bays to the Classroom Part I: 1--20

Overview of ways to: [1] Incorporate the real world of work and living connecting Massachusetts Bays Program priorities to examine and simulate tangible and local issues. [2] Integrate education reform classroom requirements using environmental science thru inquiry models, critical thinking, problem solving crossing and combining subject areas of social studies, language, math and science. [3] Link stewardship through opportunities for taking actions, based on understanding and information, that improve the water quality and health of ecosystems in and around the bays.

Regional Issues and Activities Part II: 1--46

These activities target concepts implicit in significant management issues of the five Coastal Subregions, Upper North Shore, Salem Sound, Metro Boston, South Shore and Cape Cod

Action Plan Priorities and Activities Part III: 1--203

A summary of fourteen Action Plans described in the Massachusetts Bays Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan. Each of the Action Plans is accompanied by related activities from easily available and free or inexpensive regional environmental education curricula. The concepts are adapted from Benchmarks On the Way to Environmental Literacy K-12 and fit Massachusetts Science and Technology Frameworks levels for grades 4-12.

Appendix Part IV: A1-- A56

Ten Massachusetts Bays Fact Sheets and seven Regional Demonstration Project Sheets based on research results from the Massachusetts Bays Program; A Wetlands Primer;

Implementing the Massachusetts Watershed Approach through Basin Teams; Map and Data showing Long -Term Shoreline Change Rate; and an Over The Wedge Poster.

*Note: The activities and other education materials adapted in the Massachusetts Bays Watershed Stewardship Guide include specific concepts from Benchmarks On the Way to Environmental Literacy K-12. To obtain a copy call, write or email: Meg Colclough, Education Coordinator, EOEA, Room 2000, 20th Floor, 100 Cambridge Street, Boston 02202 - 617-727-9800x218; [fax]617-727-2754 or




Topic Activities Part & Page # Grade Level

Key to Selected 


Fact Sheets, Maps, Guides, Posters in the APPENDIX or ORDER FORM
INTRODUCING THE WATERSHED CONCEPT From the Mountains to the Sea: Watersheds to Estuaries II - 5 5 - 9 COC-MME(1) Implementing the Massachusetts Watershed Approach Through Basin Teams
UPPER NORTH SHORE REGION The Future Game II - 12 7 - 12 COC - MME MBP Fact Sheet - Plum Island Sound Mini-Bays 
SALEM SOUND REGION I Don't Live By the Estuary, Why Should I Care? II - 15



CI - SRB(2) MBP Fact Sheet - Pollutants and Their Sources to The Bays and Essex Water Quality Task Force
METRO BOSTON REGION Who Dirtied the Water? II - 24 4 - up NEC - NEA(3) MBP Fact Sheet - Cleaning Up the Beaches: Quincy Tidegate Project and Fore River Mini-Bays
SOUTH SHORE REGION Researching Your Watershed: From Marsh to Marina II - 29 4 - 8 WtoB, WintoW, NWF(4) MPB Fact Sheet - Bluefish River Septic System Remediation Project
CAPE COD REGION Mystery of the Dead Fish II - 41 4 - 8 WtoB, WintoW, NWF MBP Fact Sheet - Nitrogen in The Marine Environment, Wellfleet Harbor Mini-Bays Project & Barnstable: Scudder Lane Stormwater Quality 
Exploring Water Pollution Sum of the Parts III - 5 4 - 8 NATWET(5) MBP Fact Sheet - Pollutants and Their Sources


Transfer interrupted!

N=CENTER>Pollution Dilution

III - 9 4 - 12 Sch - NEA(6) MBP Fact Sheet - Fate and Effects of Pollutants   

1. Protecting Public Health and 

2. Enhancing Shellfish Resources

Clam Lab: Filter Feeders At Work and Stewardship Discussion III - 16 4 - up NEC - NEA  MBP Fact Sheet - Shellfish Bed Restoration Program
3. Protecting and Enhancing Coastal Habitat Habitat Panorama - Overview of Different Coastal Habitats III -29 4 - 6 NEC - NEA

Marine Field Guides - Order Form III - 28 

MBP Fact Sheet - Habitat Restoration

3. Protecting and Enhancing Coastal Habitat -Transition

Salt Water Wedge and 

Fishways Stewardship Program

III - 39 4 - up COC - MME MBP Fact Sheet - Over the Wedge - Where Fresh and Saltwater Meet: A Poster
3. Protecting and Enhancing Coastal Water Habitats Adopt-A-"Stream: Shoreline Surveys Stewardship Activity III - 47 4 - up AaS - RWP(7)

MBP Fact Sheet - Habitat Restoration and 

Wetlands Primer by Riverways

3. Protecting and Enhancing Coastal Wetland Habitats

Find A Wetland To Study & Adopt 

Stewardship Activity

III - 57 6 - 12 WOBY - EPA(8) MBP Fact Sheet - Habitat Restoration and Wetlands Primer by Riverways
3. Protecting and Enhancing Coastal Habitat - Vernal Pools

Certifying Vernal Pools and Mapping Vernal Pools 

Stewardship Activities

III - 70 7 - 12 CSSG - MAS

Vernal Pool Observation Form: PART III - 73 

PondWatchers Guide - MAS: PART III - 75

4. Reducing/Preventing Stormwater Pollution Erosion in a Bottle: Land Use Runoff III - 79 6 - up WAV - UW(9) MBP Fact Sheets - Pollutants and Their Sources To The Bays and Essex Water Quality Task Force
4. Reducing/Preventing Stormwater Pollution When It Rains, It Pours III - 87 Middle School CI - SRB MBP Fact Sheet - Pollutants and Their Sources To The Bays
4. Reducing and Preventing Storm Water Pollution

Adopt-A-Stream Pipe Surveys 

Stewardship Activity

III - 97 7 - 12 AAS - RWP MBP Fact Sheet - Cleaning Up the Beaches: Quincy Tidegate Project
4. Reducing and Preventing Storm Water Pollution Create an Action Project To Reduce Pollution - Storm Drain Stenciling Stewardship Activity III - 99 7 - 12 TRW - CTR(10) MPP Fact Sheet - The Fore River Mini-Bays Project: Revitalizing the Fore River
5. Reducing and Preventing Toxic Pollution Quick and Easy Plumes and Join EPA's Ground Water Stewardship Program III - 107 4 - up TMGWC - EPA(11) MBP Fact Sheet - The Fate and Effects of Pollutants in the Bays
5. Reducing and Preventing Toxic Pollution Hazardous Waste - Sources to Disposal III - 116 Middle School HWP - USGS(12) MBP Fact Sheet - The Fate and Effects of Pollutants in the Bays
5. Reducing and Preventing Toxic Pollution Safer Alternatives to Hazardous Cleaners III - 118 7 - 12 DTD - MWRA(13) MBP Fact Sheet - The Fate and Effects of Pollutants in the Bays
6. Reducing and Preventing Oil Pollution Oil Spill Clean Up and Oil and Birds: the Fatal Connection  III - 125 4 - 8 COC- MME MBP Fact Sheet -Physical Oceanography of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays and Fate and Effects of Pollutants in the Bays

6. Reducing and Preventing 

Oil Pollution

Hilda's Can of Gasoline III -135 4 - 8 SWM - REAPS(14) MBP Fact Sheet - Used Oil Collection Demonstration Project
7. Managing Municipal Wastewater - Centralized  Follow Those Pipes III - 139 4 - 6 TMGWC - EPA MBP Fact Sheets - Pollutants and Their Sources to the Bays and The Essex Water Quality Task Force
7B. Managing Municipal Wastewater - On-site Seeping Septic Tanks III p.146 6 - 12 ERG 6-8 -AWMA(15) MBP Fact Sheets - Alternative On-site Wastewater Systems, Peat Moss On-Site Septic system Demonstration Project, Bluefish River Septic System Remediation Project
8. Managing Boat Wastes and Marina Pollution Edwards Boatyard Stewardship Activity III -153 9 - 12 CMCV - EPA Site(16) MBP Fact sheet - Wellfleet Harbor Mini-Bays Project and Pollutants and Their sources to Bays 
9. Managing Dredging and Dredged Materials Disposal Stirring It Up: Contaminated Sediments III - 161 5 - 8 EWEB - CS(17) MBP Fact Sheet - The Fate and Effects of Pollutants in the Bays and Physical Oceanography of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays
10. Reducing Beach Debris and Marine Floatables

COASTSWEEP: Beach Cleanup 

Stewardship Activity

III - 168 All Grades COC - MME Beach Collection Record Cards: PART III - 171
11. Managing Nitrogen Sensitive Embayments Nutrient Loading Impacts on Coastal Embayments III - 175 9 -12 TRW - CTR MBP Fact Sheet - Nitrogen in The Marine Environment: Identifying Embayments at Risk
12. Enhancing Public Access

Seeing, Connecting, Caring 

What is a Scenic Landscape 

Stewardship Activity

III - 183 4 - 12 IO -ESSEX(18) MBP Fact Sheet - Habitat Restoration
13. Planning for a Shifting Shoreline A Challenge to Look at Your Shoreline - Stewardship Activity III - 186 9 - 12 MCZM(19) MCZM Map and Data Sheet - Average Long-Term Shoreline Change Rates
13. Planning for a Shifting Shoreline Salt Water Intrusion III - 188 4 - 8 EWEB - SL(20) MBP Fact Sheet - Wellfleet Harbor Mini-Bays Project
13. Planning for a Shifting Shoreline Sea-Level Rise III - 190 10 - 12 EWEB - SL MBP Fact Sheet - Physical Oceanography of Massachusetts and Cape Cod Bays
14. Managing Local Land Use and Growth Dragonfly Pond  III - 197 4 - 12 WILDAQUAT(21) MBP Fact Sheet - The Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan 










Outline of the strategies for linking the Massachusetts Science and Technology Frameworks and Benchmarks: On the Way to Environmental Literacy K-12 to the Action Plans of the Massachusetts Bays Program.


Inquiry: Our Backyards present a model for introducing Stewardship into the curriculum at grades 4-12 as well as listing suggestions for activities in all the subject areas.


Presenting various models and analogies to help students grasp abstract ideas about the nature of surface and groundwater systems.


The first steps toward making stewardship a habit of mind is learn and enacting the process of problem solving. This is a training activity for helping students examine complex problems and tackle them in five basic steps. Connecting problem solving to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System: Science and Technology.


  The Massachusetts Bays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan defines 14 priority areas and suggests implementation and monitoring actions to protect water quality in coastal watersheds and bays to meet fishing and swimming Clean Water Standards. The 15th Action Plan recognizes that outreach and public understanding and participation is vital to the success of the other #1-14 Action Plans.




Connect Massachusetts Bays to the Classroom (Part I)





Environmental Issues Link Inquiry Based Learning to Real World Problems

Student questions grow out of their basic encounters with the world, and such questions are the core of Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. When students ask:"Why are things the way they are?" "Can we change them?" they are raising questions faced by scientists and decision makers. The same question are asked when "planning how to ensure that a dynamic action agenda is implemented to protect, maintain, and, where necessary, restore or improve the Massachusetts Bays' ecosystem" [Massachusetts Bays 1996 Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan Summary, June 1996]. Inquiry is a natural outgrowth of environmental education because the environment provides authentic tasks for educators to use in teaching science concepts. Inquiry is the focus of the ongoing Massachusetts education reform initiative. And Inquiry is a core concept crossing all disciplines as outlined in the Benchmarks: On the Way to Environmental Literacy K-12.

The Massachusetts Science and Technology Curriculum Framework: Owning the Question Through Science and Technology Education, January 1996:

If students in Massachusetts are to learn about science and technology, they need to tangle with questions just as scientists and technologists do. They need to participate in projects, investigations, and design challenges that allow them to puzzle and search, raise questions and rethink them. Like scientists and technologist, they must arrive at the essential content of science and technology through Inquiry.

Trudy Coxe, Secretary of Environmental Affairs writes as a foreword to Benchmarks On the Way to Environmental Literacy, 1996:

Statements in the Massachusetts Common Core of Learning suggests a potentially important role for environmental education and a recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of this learning. . . to emphasize instruction based on the knowledge that learners construct their own understanding through hands-on experiences that encourage the development of critical thinking skills and use authentic tasks of inquiry, reasoning, and problem-solving that reflect real world issues.

Linking Environmental Issues to the Classroom

Linking Massachusetts Bays research with education strategies, topics and concepts of the classroom is the ultimate goal of the Massachusetts Bays Watershed Stewardship Guide. Such a link will encourage educators, youth, parents and community to develop the knowledge and conviction necessary to voluntarily choose behaviors that improve water quality their communities. Many waterways are not meeting standards for their designated use and the problem is compounded as communities are facing development to accommodate growing populations attracted to the coast. Stewardship activities are opportunities to apply newly acquired knowledge and skills while providing fun and recreation linked to the watershed resource.

The Massachusetts Bays Watershed Stewardship Guide Checklist of Links:

Concepts selected from Benchmarks: On the Way to Environmental Literacy and the Massachusetts Science and Technology Frameworks.

Basic interdisciplinary ideas related to water use issues: [1] types of pollutants, [2] effects of pollutants, [3] sources of pollutants--point and nonpoint, [4] pollution prevention stewardship strategies; [5] Watershed population growth and subsequent land development, planning, management and Best Management Practices [BMP], [6] civic participation and [7] personal responsibility.

A selection of activities to provide background for understanding issues in the 14 Action Plans for watershed stewardship. The activities are selected from many tried and tested curricula that are inexpensive, can be copied, and are accessible in Massachusetts from non-profit and professional organizations, governmental agencies and national programs.

Activities that directly involve students in surveying, investigating and analyzing land use, defining problems and seeking options for stewardship solutions.

Activities that provide indicators for human as well as ecosystem health and sustainability.

Activities that show relationships between land use and environmental degradation.

Activities that introduce Best Management Practice options to reduce or prevent nutrient, toxin, bacterial, and sediment build up which are injurious to the health of the watershed, humans, ecology and economics.

Educational strategies, such as mock town hearings and manipulation of models, to engage students in real world problem solving.

Activities that provide a case for watershed and resource management and planning for future growth and develop opportunities to take part in community service projects that address water resource issues in the student's watershed and bays.

Opportunities for students to plan ways to take actions in their community and involve their families and other students in mitigating impacts of nonpoint source pollution.

Ways to connect schools to priority issues and recommended actions to their watershed partners and local governments of the Massachusetts Bays watersheds to the Massachusetts Bays National Marine Estuary. 


Connect Massachusetts Bays to the Classroom



Our Backyards--Massachusetts Bays Watershed Stewardship, is a model for integrating environmental concepts and issues into the curriculum. It invites every teacher and student to learn about their unique water address in the Massachusetts Bays Watershed. Water that falls and flows on a watershed controls the kinds and numbers of plants and animals, including people, that can survive. A good steward develops a detailed knowledge and information to responsibly care for, protect and wisely use our water resources. At the heart of successful stewardship are education components of critical thinking and problem-solving paired with a personal motivation and ability to communicate that knowledge.


Learning Outcomes for Our Backyards: Connecting watershed science to the Massachusetts Science and Technology Framework topics and concepts.

Use Our Backyards to cross and combine disciplines while studying the real world of the Massachusetts Bays Watershed.


Explore Native American land use.

Resource use in the past such as mining, water power, forests, and farming.

Migration, population, land use changes/issues.

Related global problems such as acid rain, ozone hole, and ocean pollution.


Support and/or sponsor legislation.

Collect physical data and or opinions on local environmental issues.

Attend or speak at public hearings or city council meetings.

Work with organizations to assess and influence public opinion.

Home Economics and Consumer Education

Make and test alternative household cleaning products.

Install and test water conservation devices.

Determine products that contain recyclable materials


Evaluate water quality, solid waste, disposal options.

Try household hazardous produce alternatives.

Take action to protect waste from reaching surface groundwater supplies.

Select food produced in healthy environmental conditions.

Language Arts

Assemble a vocabulary of terms in to a topic.

Read about environmental issues.

Analyze case studies.

Apply persuasive tactics to change opinions.

Use libraries and do research.

Write and speak effectively.


Relate the Laws of Thermodynamics - matter cannot be created or destroyed--to ecosystems and pollution problems.

Relate hydrologic concepts to watersheds.


Study population growth of all living organisms.

Calculate landfill capacity and rainfall on an area.

Calculate land run-off and pollution loading.

Present data in graphs or charts.

Quantify pollution in ppms.


Determine water quality standards agains clean water standards as applied to human and wildlife use.

Analyze ways water interacts with materials, suspension, bonding, solution, and chemical reaction.

Do water quality monitoring.

Study local waste water treatment methods.

Relate chemical use to nonpoint pollution.

Examine water supply contaminants: PAH, BAH, organics and toxic waste.


Apply eutrophication/nitrification concepts.

Study toxicity indicators in predatory fish/birds as it applies to bioaccumulation.

Examine alternatives by using Integrated Pest Management

Relate importance of biodiversity to critical habitat preservation and restoration: wetlands, riverine buffer zones, anadromous fishways, Shellfish as pathogen indicators for health and water.

Carrying capacity and land use issues.

Earth Science and Geography

Model surface and groundwater connections in movement and cause of contamination.

Connect soil erosion, shifting shorelines, global warming and sea level rise.

Use mapping skills with topographic maps and construct 3-D Maps of your watershed.

Compare filtration of water through different materials.

Model currents in rivers, bays and estuaries and relate to flushing capacity and movement of contaminants.

Computer Science/Technology

Computer generated maps i.e. GIS.

Graph and present data to solve problems.

Search networks for information.

Conduct conferences with students in the same or other watersheds. Print informational flyers.

Run statistical tests on a water resource issue.

Science in Context of Human Affairs

Estimate community development potential through a build-out plan.

Learn how to work within the political structure of your community to get action.




Connect Massachusetts Bays to the Classroom



Applying Analogy and Models to Understanding Environmental Issues

Analogies and models are an effective way to explain complex and abstract concepts related to understanding abstract ideas. For example, the water holding attribute of a sponge is used as a analogy for marshes and other wetlands. Both the sponge and the wetland hold great quantities of water and absorb the potential energy of moving water by retaining the water in place during storms and floods. In a sponge, the water is held between spaces -- in a wetland, plants absorb water and restrict its movement.

Another comparison is shown in the diagram to the right as a familiar anchor analogy to understand the concept of groundwater. A sponge has some attributes similar to earth sediments: both are made of solid materials with many air spaces. Both hold greater quantities of water than seems possible on first look.

However, the analogy does not work to explain water moving through the ground and reacting to contaminates. At this point, the working models of the ground are used to further the understanding of water in the ground [groundwater]. Research shows that a concept needs to be presented in five to seven different ways before the learner can apply the information to a new situation.

The models on the following pages are from articles in SCIENCE IS ELEMENTARY: A SCIENCE TEACHING RESOURCE, published quarterly by the Museum Institute for Teaching Science [MITS]; 79 Milk Street, Suite 210, Boston MA 02109-3903, voice 617-695-9771.

Connect Massachusetts Bays to the Classroom



Problem Solving and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

The Massachusetts Department of Education recently released, in March 1998, a new statewide testing program, Guide to the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System [MCAS]. These documents support the Mathematics and Science and Technology Frameworks. The MCAS testing adds a new dimension to traditional content knowledge; students will be expected to demonstrate various process skills and strategies fundamental to science and technology. Investigation and problem solving strategies, including observation, hypothesis formulation and testing, evaluation, and use of evidence to propose, design and test solutions, are critical. These process skills are grouped into three major areas:

Thinking Skills

Questions in this area assess student understanding of concepts. In order to demonstrate thinking skills, students will be required, for example, to recognize evaluate, analyze, and explain natural scientific and technological phenomena. For example, Finding a Wetland to Study & Adopt would require identifying, selecting and designing a study plan for the area. The plan would include recognizing and establishing variables; collecting and analyzing data; justifying and defending a position based on evidence; evaluate the success of the design; and draw and communicate conclusions based on evidence of a scientific and/or technological nature.

Procedural Skills

Questions in this area assess student knowledge and understanding of scientific and technological procedures. Specific activities are Certifying Vernal Pools or taking part in Wetland and Drain Pipe Surveys from Adopt A Stream which require identifying appropriate procedures and their correct sequence in conducting a scientific investigation as well as applying the design process; recognizing correct and incorrect procedures and extending and/or modifying familiar ones. Other skills associated with such a project includes identifying proper procedures or solutions for collecting data with accuracy and precision; and/or identifying appropriate tools for measurement, design, production or other purposes.

Application Skills

Questions in this area assess student skill in selecting appropriate scientific and technological concepts and procedures, and appropriately applying these to solve real-life and theoretical problems. The Mystery of the Dead Fish activity includes identifying appropriate procedures and their correct sequence in solving the problem of why the fish and other marine life died in a very short time in Waquoit Bay.

Learning a Problem Solving Process

All three of the SKILLS described above are brought together in problem solving. Learning the strategies of designing, analyzing and applying information to a problem and then producing a solution is a natural outcome of introducing environmental education and stewardship in the classroom.

The following Five Steps to Problem Solving outlines the complete problem solving process and helps youth envision what part or parts of it they might like to use. This is a flexible process and some strategies will not use all five steps in the problem solving. For example, if a teacher wants students to understand the issue but not develop action-taking skills, an issue-investigation strategy developed around Step 2 may be more appropriate. However, never underestimate the enthusiasm and capability of youth when they understand that their actions can make a difference in their community and lead to a better environment.

*The four pages of excerpts describing the Five Steps in Problem Solving are copied, with permission, from Approach Environmental Issues in the Classroom one of many useful environmental education booklets and training materials available in the Environmental Education Toolbox; a project of the National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training [NCEET] at the School of Natural Resources and Environment of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. To Get a catalog: NCEET Publications, P.O. Box 1141, Ann Arbor MI 48106-1141.


Connect Massachusetts Bays to the Classroom



Implementing and monitoring the 15 Action Plans outlined in the Massachusetts Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan is of highest priority for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Action Plans #1-14 define priorities identified by the Massachusetts Bays Program research and public committees. These committees recommend ways to carry out the actions. Massachusetts Bays Education Alliance, an education working group subcommittee of the Massachusetts Bays Program, wrote Action Plan #15 describing the education component of outreach and public education. The initiatives in Action Plan #15 promote understanding and participation that is vital to the success of the priorities outlined in the other fourteen Action Plans.






The word "education" means different things to different people. What follows is a brief definition to help clarify what the word means in a particular context.

FORMAL EDUCATION is education that is highly organized and usually certified by government authority. Traditionally, it is divided by grade: kindergarten through grade 12.IIn the past, these grades have been subdivided into elementary and secondary, with secondary beginning at the 7th grade. More recently three categories arerrecognized:

    Primary school: kindergarten through grade 4
    Middle school: grades 5 through 8
    High school: grades 9 through 12.

"Pre-K" refers to schooling prior to kindergarten; i.e., nursery school and day care. "Post-secondary" refers to college and graduate school and is also considered "formal."

NON-FORMAL EDUCATION refers to educational services usually provided by nonprofit organizations such as museums, libraries, aquariums, galleries, private sites of significance, and government agencies (e.g., national and state parks, historical sites, wildlife refuges, monuments). These kinds of organizations frequently provide on-site programs for school groups and the general public. Many are involved in curriculum development and workshopsffor teachers.

There are also non-formal educational resources lying in a vast, ill-defined area offered by the media: newspapers, books, magazines, radio, and television. This is the main source of education for the general public. Further, there are 'adult education' courses offered as non-credit courses by schools, colleges, and universities (e.g., Elderhostelaand extension services).

Most people regard the concept of education from a 'formal' point of view, but, in fact, most knowledge is imparted through the non-formal route, and this is particularly true of matters concerning environmental science and environmental issues. Environmental education, as such, has only recently entered the curriculum of public schools where motivated teachers have taken advantage of its integrating benefits. At the same time, there are encouraging efforts being made by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) and the Department of Education(DOE) in clarifying the "Benchmarks of Environmental Literacy" presented by the Secretary's Advisory Group on Environmental Education (SAGEE). The Massachusetts Bays Program supports these state initiatives and encourages the introduction of the philosophy of the MBP into the classroom.

Meanwhile, the non-formal sector has been quick to recognize this unfilled niche and has developed some excellent programs for the public. While the non-formal sector will continue to provide focused educational programming, mechanisms must be provided to the public school systems to develop and enhance the role of environmental education during the brief period that children spend in a formal school setting. This is particularly true if the general population is to be expected to grasp the holistic, ecosystem-level concepts necessary to understandccomplicated Massachusetts Bays issues.

The action plain of the CCMP, therefore, require educational efforts "aimed at developing a citizenry that is aware of and concerned about the total environment and its associated problems and which has the knowledge, attitudes, motivations, commitments, and skills to work individually and collectively toward the solution of current problems, as well as the prevention of new ones" (On the Way To Environmental Literacy: Report of the Benchmarks for Environmental Literacy Project of the Secretary's Advisory Group on Environmental Education).

In each of the Action Plans presented previously, there is a significant role for a public education/information strategy. However, the specifics of such a strategy will depend upon the particular location of the actions to be taken, the resources available, the education level of the population involved, the extent of ongoing efforts, and the commitment of the public. A specificity based on so many variables is obviously beyond the scope of this document, particularly since, in some cases, there are excellent efforts already in place.

Nevertheless, the Massachusetts Bays Education Alliance (MBEA) has developed a series of educational action plan strategies, articulated below, which emphasize: 1) information that is easy to understand and can be applied to local situations; 2) individual responsibility for pollution of Massachusetts Bays watersheds and waterways; and 3) actions each person can take to minimize and control contaminants from reaching surface and groundwaters. Preventive methods include: developing and distributing relevant education materials; workshops for public officials organizations and educators; storm drain stenciling projects; and proper disposal of hazardous materials. Citizens should know what to look for with respect to polluted water and how to report water not meeting standards for its designated use. Toward this end, volunteer citizen groups should be educated and trained to monitor waterways and report data to authorities who can verify the data and set appropriate preventive and remedial actions motion.

MBEA has developed the following recommendations and strategies, matched to the Action Plan categories previously covered. They fall under the general themes of protecting and enhancing natural resources, reducing or preventing pollution, managing wastes and human activities, and planning for shifting shorelines.

Protecting and Enhancing Shellfish Resources: Before citizens can take action to protect a vital resource, they must first know the resource exists and is important to the community. Each year local papers could publish a listing of shellfish resources and their yearly economic value to the community and region, along with potential pollution threats that might close shellfish areas and what is being done to keep these areas open. An education booklet might be given out with shellfish permits, placed in fish markets, and used in classrooms. This booklet could describe basic concepts related to shellfish biology, requirements for water quality and how it is tested, how individual actions and community decisions create potential pollution that leads to closures, and what actions are needed to re-open closed shellfish beds and keep them open.

Protecting and Enhancing Coastal Habitat: An inventory of coastal habitats with local photographs would help local Conservation Commissions educate community residents in the value of local habitats. A sense of pride in keeping these habitats healthy needs to be nurtured. Workshops and field trips on the biology and economic value of these habitats would prepare citizens for involvement in the planning, development, and implementation of bylaws and other measures for protecting water resources. The use of student monitoring studies, with reports to the community, would heighten student understanding of the need and mechanisms for protecting coastal habitats. For example, local fish runs could be a focus for research, monitoring, and planning for protection and maintenance.

Reducing and Preventing Stormwater Pollution: Educating citizens about the different sources, types, and effects of pollutants that enter and travel through storm drains to waterways can lead to changes in personal practices. For example, storm drain stenciling can alert people to the consequences of improper disposal of waste products, such as litter and used motor oil.

Reducing and Preventing Toxic Pollution: In addition to education, media strategies can help citizens and businesses understand and develop practices to reduce, reuse, substitute, store, and properly dispose of toxic wastes. The development and use of incentives, such as positive publicity for businesses and awards to schools or students who carry out successful projects, would magnify and multiply these efforts.

Reducing and Preventing Oil Pollution: Proper disposal of used oil offers economic and ecological benefits to the taxpayer. Outreach educators and media specialists can develop strategies to address the consequences of "what goes into the ground will probably enter the drinking water supplies or aquatic habitats." Community leaders and environmental advocates can provide citizens with mechanisms to elicit widespread support for community oil collection and monitoring programs.

Managing Municipal Wastewater: Education strategies are needed to increase citizen understanding of aquifers and groundwater, and how these may be affected by on-site sewage disposal systems. The value of the recent upgrading of Title 5 regulations, both to the individual and to a community's water resources, needs to be communicated. In turn, property owners with septic systems should receive information to enable them to maintain their systems properly and to practice household waste prevention. Everyone needs education on the understanding of, and need for alternative technologies as viable options to replace or upgrade failing or substandard on-site systems.

With respect to centralized sewage treatment facilities, existing curricula and outreach materials are available that describe the character of specific pollutant threats, explain the responses that have been written into the environmental regulations, and encourage citizen involvement in, and support for, enforcement of discharge permits. Engineers and scientists from local wastewater treatment plants should be encouraged to cooperate with citizen groups and schools to provide access to the plants and engage the public in water testing projects.

Managing Boat Wastes and Marina Pollution: The MBP and CZM should continue to distribute timely materials that give the boater clear instructions on how to properly dispose of boat wastes. Power squadron courses, marinas, boat license mailings, and public service announcements can be the vehicles for disseminating this information. As a means of promoting public awareness, the volume of properly collected pump-out effluent that contributes to shellfish bed openings could be widely broadcast.

Dredging and Dredged Materials Disposal: CZM should continue to provide print materials to the public, media, local Governance Committees, and educators on the purpose, importance, and need for conducting and monitoring dredging activity.

Reducing Beach Debris and Marine Floatables: Everyone who lives within the Massachusetts Bays watershed can help reduce shoreline debris and marine floatables. Public participation programs and outreach materials coordinated by CZM through the annual statewide "CoastSweep" campaign, "Sponsor-a-Beach" programs led by local schools or youth groups, municipal recycling projects, and recycling bins strategically placed on waterfronts all can contribute to ongoing beach clean-ups.

Managing Nitrogen-Sensitive Embayments: Public education programs can address the importance of the nitrogen cycle to all life, and what happens when that cycle becomes out-of-balance. The consequences of nitrogen enrichment are particularly apparent in shallow embayments. Individual actions that contribute to this imbalance need to be understood. Proper household and business practices, as well as the use of alternative technologies, can help limit nitrogen inputs to the Bays. Organizations and educational institutions can work collaboratively to promote creative land-use planning, and to support local bylaws which protect water quality.

Enhancing Public Access and the Working Waterfront: The right of public and commercial access to a common resource where the impacts are controlled can be important to the economy of an area. It also builds appreciation that leads to the protection of a natural resource. Hence, an initiative underway by CZM and DEM to complete a set of public access guides (The Massachusetts COAST GUIDE) to facilitate use and enjoyment of the coast. In addition, improved access to the intertidal zone from Provincetown to Salisbury, MA is being pursued through the Sea Path Program at DEM. Environmental educators and organizations, including the Massachusetts Bays Education Alliance, can use these initiatives to help provide meaningful outdoor experiences to students.

Planning for a Shifting Shoreline: This issue has been neglected at all educational levels due to a lack of consensus on: 1) the scientific explanations for the causes of coastal processes leading to erosion and accretion, and 2) how best to address the rights of those directly affected. The public needs to be better informed about the scientific aspects of erosion, sedimentation, and sea level change, as well as the impacts of engineered solutions versus letting nature "take its course." Enhanced public education could improve community and state responses to storm events, influence community long range planning strategies and the issuance of building permits, and heighten the public's understanding of the 100-year flood zone and related flood insurance rate maps and premiums.

Managing Local Land Use and Growth: Education programs can be developed that increase the public's understanding of local bylaws and regulations which serve the common good by promoting the economic and ecological sustainability of our rich and diverse Massachusetts Bays resources.

Following are some generalized statements of environmental literacy developed by the Massachusetts Bays Education Alliance. They apply to both the previous recommendations and strategies, as well as to the education action plans relating to the Massachusetts Bays.


NOTE: More detail about the credits and references in introduction to each activity see page numbers.

1. [COC - MME] Charting Our Course: Massachusetts at a Crossroads - Massachusetts Marine Educators

2. [CI - SRB] Coastal Issues: Activities for the Classroom - Sandra Ryack-Bell, WATERMARKS

3. [NEC - NEA] New England Coastline - New England Aquarium

4. [WtoB, WintoW, NWF] Watershed to Bay: A Raindrop Journey - UMass Wading into Wetlands -National. Wildlife Federation

5. [NATWET] National Project WET Curriculum - Watercourse and Council for Environmental Education

6. [Sch - NEA] New England Schooling, A New England Aquarium Activity adapted for use in the Taunton River Watershed: Connecting To A River curriculum

7. [AaS - RWP] Adopt a Stream: Shoreline Surveys: Action Tool developed by Massachusetts Riverways Programs

8. [WOBY - EPA] World in Our Backyard: A Wetlands Education and Stewardship Program, Stafford Madison, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Commission and EPA funds

9. [WAV - UW] Idea adapted from Water Action Volunteers, 1995, Department of Soil Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison

10. [TRW - CTR] Taunton River Watershed: Connecting To A River, 1998, Taunton River Watershed Project.

11. [TMGWC - EPA] That Magnificent Ground Water Connection: A Resource Book for Grades K-6, 1997, written and compiled by McMaster Training Associates for New England Interstate Water Pollution control Commission, funded and supervised by the EPA.

12. [HWP - USGS] Hazardous Waste: Cleanup and Prevention Poster, U.S. Geologic Survey, Denver CO

13. [DTD - MWRA] Taunton River Watershed: Connecting to a River adapted from Down the Drain, Massachusetts Water resource authority, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston MA.

14. [SWM - REAPS] Solid Waste Management Resource Guide: 1996 Update for Massachusetts Schools, Recycling Education Assistance for Public Schools [REAPS] Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

15. [ERG 6-8 - AWMA] Environmental Resource Guide: Nonpoint Source Pollution gr 6-8 - American Waste Management Association

16. [CMCV - EPA] In formation for the Edwards Boatyard Case Study is on the Clean Marinas Clear Value: Environmental and Business Stories Website and available at EPA [EPA 841-R-96-003]

17. [EWEB] Adapted from Contaminated Sediments downloaded from the Explorer Website:

18. [IO - ESSEX] Inside Out: An Educator's Passport to Essex County Greenbelt Association Coastal Properties, 1997, by Susan A. Carver for the Essex County Greenbelt Association

19. [MCZM] Average Long-Term Shoreline Change Rates for Coastal Communities is a map and data table published in Spring 1997 Issue of Coastlines, Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management Newsletter - See APPENDIX.

20. [EWEB - SL] Explorer Website under Climate Change and Sea-Level with many additional activities at:

21. [WILDAQUAT] Aquatic Project Wild: Aquatic Education Activity Guide sponsored by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the Western Regional Environmental Education Council