This year may not have been what we planned, but there were many silver linings in the NSRWA’s 50th anniversary year. Despite the pandemic, the NSRWA’s work to protect our waters continued and perhaps became even more meaningful as the pandemic brought people closer to nature. Getting outdoors became “in” this year as the outdoors became our playground, source of inspiration, place to exercise, and to socialize more safely with our friends and family.

To advance our mission to protect local waters, our staff was able to pivot to deliver our education and engagement programs and our events to a public eager to connect with nature and with one another in ways that followed state and local guidelines to keep everyone safe. Below are some of our key accomplishments.

In 2020, we:

  • Carried out outdoor environmental education programs that engaged 380+ youth with nature. Programs ranged from 2 to 3-hour one-day programs to multi-day offerings. They included outdoor explorations, paddles, fishing, walks in the woods, and even dune grass planting in Scituate. Participants learned about nature, science, teambuilding, and leadership skills by immersing themselves in nature with our environmental educator.  We have a three-day program for youth over the holiday week if you are looking to get your kids outside!


  • Launched FISH School: Fostering Innovative Science through Herring counts at Schools Through this online platform we engaged 1,000+ students grades 6 through 12. Students collected data on migrating herring and learned about how science is being used to help restore their populations. While a few of our school partners were unable to deliver the program, for many it was a very timely addition to their teachers’ toolbox as schools went to remote learning.

  • Engaged families through paddles and discovery walks. We offered a series of two-hour programs for families to explore nature and had more than 40 participants. Our environmental educator led the programs where participants learned about our rivers, local habitats, outdoor skills, animal tracking, birding, and camouflage. We found it necessary to add programs on the go as many of our programs filled to capacity quickly and had waiting lists.

  • Restored state funding to maintain the North River State Scenic designation with 2,500+ people signing on to our petition to the Governor. We also advocated for “no wake” on the rivers by asking the public to abide by the speed limit and working to install signage.

  • Provided easy to use Explore South Shore information on our website to 150,000 people. Our online content doubled this year to include 240+ outdoor places to explore on the South Shore. And we launched a successful Instagram 50 Places to Explore Contest to get people outside visiting their outdoor places! It was so welcomed we are doing another Explore South Shore 2021 Contest.

  • Removed a dam with the Hanover Mall on the Third Herring Brook, a cold-water tributary to the North River to restore habitat. This is the third dam we removed on this important brook — a great river restoration success!

  • WaterSmart South Shore Video Contest– This year’s WaterSmart video contest inspired 8 people to create educational videos sharing with people ways to prevent stormwater pollution and conserve water!

  • Completed a film in honor the NSRWA’s 50th anniversary This film celebrates the beauty of our cherished, local water resources and how persistence and community building have and always will be the way we continue to protect them for our children.

And these were just some of the highlights! Every year we work together to protect our local waters and make progress towards healthy, clean waters that support all life. This year while challenging, also allowed us all to gain more appreciation for the things we value. Nature took a front seat in our lives this year… we hope this silver lining becomes a permanent one.

Please make a year-end donation and help continue to protect our local waters.