On Friday, November 2nd, the 2018 NSRWA Annual Meeting drew a full house at the South Shore Natural Science Center. After a cocktail and appetizer reception, President Sally Caverly conducted a brief business meeting. Caverly, who stepped down after a 2-year term as president, received a beautiful framed print of the North River by Mike Sleeper Photography, as thanks for her service to the organization. Caverly was board president during an important period of the organization’s evolution and growth. Under her tenure the NSRWA expanded staff to increase our efforts to protect our waters, expanded our sphere of influence by initiating an advisory council, and helped to significantly increase our audience through her networks.

Peter Hainer was introduced and voted on as the incoming NSRWA president for the next two years, and Kevin Cassidy was elected vice president. Rick Mayfield and Barbara Carney will continue in their roles as treasurer and secretary.

Throughout the evening there was a theme of growth; growing the staff, the organization’s visibility, and growing the organization’s reach, to meet the needs of our communities. One exciting new development was the $200,000 Matching Gift Challenge from the Bloomwhistle Charitable Fund. Now through the end of the year, gifts from new donors or from current donors who increase their giving from last year can be matched.

In the next part of the program, staff ecologist and MassBays coordinator Sara Grady introduced Calli Bianchi, who has been working with the organization to study invasive green crabs and how we might mitigate their impact on the ecology of our estuaries. Calli detailed her work and explained how regular trapping was able to reduce green crab numbers, especially in marsh creeks. She also explained potential markets for green crabs.

The organization honored two Volunteers of the Year. There used to be just one Volunteer of the Year, but last year because of the growth of Citizen Science programming with so many  wonderful volunteers, a second award was added. Beth Howard was honored as Citizen Science Volunteer of the Year. Beth has been a vital part of the spring horseshoe crab spawning surveys, in particular providing steadfast assistance with surveys in the middle of the night.  Terri Birkeland was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Terri  volunteered for everything from fundraising, Estuary Explorers, Harvest Moon Feast, the Great River Race Committee and more. She did such a great job she was hired as the new Community Outreach Coordinator!

The Barbara Pearson Memorial River Champion Award is an annual award given to an individual or group of individuals who best exemplifies protecting our rivers and watersheds. The award is named after Barbara Pearson, who summered on the North River in the red house that overlooks Damons Point from the Scituate side of the rivers, and she was known for “looking out” for the rivers. This year’s Barbara Pearson River Champions are those who have worked in Cohasset, Duxbury, Scituate, Pembroke, Plymouth and Marshfield to pass a ban on single use plastic bags. These folks are regular citizens who were tired of seeing plastic bags in trees and in our water and were concerned about the long term impacts of plastics on our rivers and oceans, as well as on our wildlife and our own health. A brief video was shown of 18-year-old Caroline Howlett, of the Marshfield Green Team, going before her town meeting to talk about the importance of reducing plastic waste. She said by the time she is 50 years old there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, and urged the board to vote in support of the ban. See the Honoring the People Behind the Plastic Bag Bans story for more details.

A Special Service Recognition Award was given to Don Salvatore. (Photo above right – NSRWA Executive Director Samantha Woods presents Don Salvatore with a beautiful framed aerial print of the North River by Jim Mclntyre.) Don has worn many hats for the organization through the years including being a board member, writing a nature column, leading our pontoon tours and Estuary Explorers excursions, and running the Water All Around You school program. Don, along with his friend and partner in crime Carolyn Sones, started the New Year’s Day Walk and the WaterWatch Lecture Series, two programs that still continue today. Don is retiring and moving to Maine and we wish him all the best! Taking over as full-time Environmental Educator for the organization is Brian Taylor. We are excited to have Brian join our team.

To end the evening, the movie short Letting the Rivers Flow by Lauren Owens was shown. The movie showcases the removal of the Tack Factory Dam on the Third Herring Brook and was made possible by a grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. The story chronicles the history of the project as well as the impact on the river now and in the future.

To see more photos from the annual meeting, go to our Facebook page.