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Summer Marine Science and Education In-Person Advisor Program

In-person advisors are essential to Seaside Sustainability’s hands-on programs running smoothly. These dedicated individuals play a pivotal role in ensuring the success of our organization's mission by taking on a wide range of responsibilities in and around the Gloucester, MA, area. During their time at Seaside Sustainability, members of our in-person team will work on the following programs:

  • Seabin and Skimmer Management

  • PixieDrone 

  • Mudflat Acidification Testing

  • Microplastics in Sand

  • Coastal Cleanups

  • Company Coastal Cleanups

  • Sunscreen Dispensers

  • Marine Debris Trawls

  • Compostable in Marine Environment 

  • Nurdle Patrol

  • Independent Coastal Cleanup

  • Green Crabs

  • BeBot

For more information about each program please read their descriptions below.

Advisor & Volunteer Job Description

We are seeking 5 advisors & volunteers with more life experience who want to make a positive impact on their local community. These advisors & volunteers will work 3-10 hours per week from June 1 - October 15 with some or all of the following responsibilities and may have some management responsibilities:

  • Daily monitoring of two Seabin devices in Gloucester, MA, emptying and replacing mesh bags as necessary to ensure continued removal of marine debris from our waterways

  • Assist Coordinator and Executive Director Eric Magers in maneuvering and controlling the PixieDrone weekly

  • Answer questions from onlookers about the PixieDrone as needed, such as what the device is, what it is used for, is it safe, etc. 

  • Conduct weekly acidification testing at four mudflat locations on the Cape Ann peninsula 

  • Compile data from acidification tests for inclusion in a comprehensive database - possibly transmit the data to Salem Sound Coastwatch as well

  • Conduct “Microplastics in Sand” tests and assist in running the activity for cleanup groups, teaching and demonstrating how much debris can be found buried in the sand

  • Assist at biweekly Coastal Cleanup events by providing guidance, knowledge, and supplies to participants as needed

  • Assist at biweekly Company Coastal Cleanup events by providing guidance, knowledge, and supplies to participants as needed

  • Monitor sunscreen dispensers biweekly on Good Harbor Beach and refill as necessary

  • Pending sunscreen dispenser placement, monitor dispensers on Wingaersheek Beach biweekly and refill as necessary

  • Conduct monthly marine debris trawls according to NOAA standards with Executive Director, Eric Magers, on Seaside Sustainability’s boat

  • Inspect, measure, and weigh debris collected from trawling activities to keep record of quantity and types of debris found in waterways

  • Monitor “Compostable in Marine Environment” plastic monthly to determine if/when deterioration starts

  • Conduct plastic pellet collections when time permits and report findings to nurdlepatrol.org to help create a database of microplastic findings in coastal Massachusetts

  • Assist in demonstrating crab trap during company events

  • Pending program commencement, assist Coordinator and Executive Director Eric Magers weekly in maneuvering and controlling the BeBot to sift through the sand along the Cape Ann peninsula 

  • Pending program commencement, answer questions from onlookers about the BeBot as needed, such as what the device is, what it is used for, is it safe, etc.

Desired Skills

  • Experience working on projects that positively impact the environment

  • Passionate and dedicated to making a difference in the environment

  • Good communication skills                       

  • Comfortable working both in teams and individually

  • Good time management skills

  • Willing to learn and work outside of their comfort zone 

  • Willing to work outdoors, in or around water and/or on a boat, and in inclement weather

  • Ability to lift 50 pounds

Program Summaries

Seabin and Skimmer Management - Daily

To further engage underserved communities with hands-on education, Seaside Sustainability is working to expand its curriculum with marine debris intervention devices, referred to as “Seabins”. Seabins are designed to tackle the growing problem of plastic pollution and other discarded debris in marine environments to restore ecosystems and habitats that occupy coastal areas. These devices act as trash bins in the water by filtering water through a mesh bag, leaving behind marine debris. On average, seabins will collect 8.5lbs of trash per day that needs to be emptied to ensure continued removal of debris from the water.

PixieDrone - Weekly

The PixieDrone is one of the four Searial Cleaners used to remove waste from coastlines. This is an in water option that filters and collects floating solid waste from bodies of water either by remote control or autonomously. The drone has a video camera to ensure it does not get stuck and to monitor conditions of waste in the water. Seaside is awaiting the delivery of a PixieDrone for use on Gloucester area beaches.

Mudflat Acidification Testing - Weekly

The primary objective of mudflat acidification testing is to establish a clear correlation between the increase in CO2 levels and the subsequent decline in pH levels within the mudflats. This investigation serves a twofold purpose: firstly, to understand the adverse effects of these changes on marine life, and secondly, to recognize their economic implications. The global seafood market heavily relies on shellfish, and their well-being is in jeopardy as ocean pH levels decrease. A reduction in shellfish populations not only limits the availability of these valuable resources for sale but also affects profitability, all while disrupting the delicate balance of the ecosystem. Four designated locations across Cape Ann will be visited to perform acidification testing. At each of these sites, you will conduct probing and data recording activities. The collected data will be subsequently compiled and transmitted to Salem Sound Coastwatch for inclusion in a comprehensive database, facilitating further analysis and assessment.

Microplastics in Sand - Weekly

Microplastics can be found in our food, in the ground, in the air, and in all of our waterways. Many times these plastics get mixed in with beach sand after breaking down in the water or on the coast. Our MS&E staff visits our local beaches and conducts research studies on the presence and distribution rates of microplastics. In a small area, sand is removed and filtered through sieves, leaving behind larger items like rocks and microplastics. Participants can see firsthand just how much plastic is right below our feet through this activity.

Coastal Cleanups - Biweekly

Coastal Cleanups offer a crucial means to actively contribute to the preservation of our marine environment. The primary objective is to reduce the accumulation of debris, particularly in the oceans, which often results from the litter and waste carried into the water during rising tides, persisting for extended periods, posing threats to marine life. Cape Ann, home to a magnificent marine ecosystem, has identified specific vulnerable areas threatened by marine pollution. Our focused efforts involve surveying these locations, collecting, documenting, and categorizing debris, and ensuring its proper disposal, preventing it from further contamination of our precious oceans. Planned Coastal Cleanups are scheduled for the local community to get involved. Seaside Sustainability provides guidance to participants to ensure cleanups are completed with safety in mind for all involved.

Company Clean Ups - Biweekly

Seaside will host cleanup events for company teams who are interested as a community service opportunity for their employees. Company teams will be encouraged to request a “private” cleanup event by making a donation to Seaside or they can join a public cleanup we have already scheduled. Not only do Gloucester area coasts get cleaned, but also local businesses will become involved in the process giving them hands-on experience with improving their local environment.

Sunscreen Dispensers - Biweekly

Sunscreen is an essential part of preventing skin cancer while spending time exposed to the sun at the beach. Regular application of sunscreen has shown to be the most effective way of preventing exposed skin from being damaged. In the Summer of 2021, one of Seaside’s interns stumbled upon Raw Elements through a Google search. We reached out to them and discovered their successful track record with sunscreen dispensers in Hawaii, Rhode Island, and other places. Excited about the potential, we decided to partner with them and bring two Raw Elements dispensers to Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Seaside is currently working on adding two more sunscreen dispensers to Wingaersheek Beach.

Eelgrass *Coordinator only* - Monthly

Eelgrass is an important species in Massachusetts marine ecosystems. It keeps coastlines stable, provides food and shelter, filters water, and more. These grasses are heavily impacted by recreational and commercial activities such as fishing and boating. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection conducts aerial imaging followed by in person mapping by boat to determine where eelgrass is found and where it may be struggling. Seaside Sustainability is looking to assist in these efforts in 6-8 locations in the towns of Essex, Manchester, Gloucester, and Rockport, Massachusetts by creating maps of local eelgrass beds. This program is conducted by collecting data and images in addition to creating maps of findings monthly from June to September.

Compostable in Marine Environment - Monthly

This project is testing a new potentially biodegradable plastic technology. The plastic is created with oxygen inside, making it easier to break down over time as compared to standard plastic products. Some items made from this material have been getting tested by Seaside Sustainability to see how they hold up to being in the water.

Marine Debris Trawls - Monthly

Microplastics in the water can be hard to see and remove but trawling is one way we can start the process of taking plastics out of our waterways. Manta nets are used by trailing them behind a boat to take samples, filtering marine debris out of the water. These plastics are then inspected, measured, and weighed for research purposes. Trawls are conducted on a monthly basis according to NOAA standards with Executive Director Eric Magers on Seaside Sustainability’s boat.

Nurdle Patrol - As needed / as time permits

Nurdle Patrol is a citizen science project based out of Texas to collect data on nurdles, or plastic pellets typically used in the manufacturing of plastic items, found in bodies of water. These pellets can be found anywhere, but are commonly seen in larger numbers near manufacturing and shipping sites. As with other types of microplastics, nurdles cause serious damage to marine ecosystems and must be addressed. Participating in this science project is easy; just go to the beach, search for and collect pellets for 10 minutes, and record the data (including location, amount of nurdles, time, pictures) at nurdlepatrol.org. Seaside is actively looking for volunteers and interns to go out and go on these nurdle hunts along beaches and upload their findings to the nurdle patrol website so we can pioneer data for Massachusetts! You do not even have to buy a kit from Nurdle Patrol for this collection to become involved, all you have to do is go out on your own, collect data, and upload it to the website!

Independent Coastal Cleanups - As needed / as time permits

Coastal Cleanups offer a crucial means to actively contribute to the preservation of our marine environment. The primary objective is to reduce the accumulation of debris, particularly in the oceans, which often results from the litter and waste carried into the water during rising tides, persisting for extended periods, posing threats to marine life. Cape Ann, home to a magnificent marine ecosystem, has identified specific vulnerable areas threatened by marine pollution. Our focused efforts involve surveying these locations, collecting, documenting, and categorizing debris, and ensuring its proper disposal, preventing it from further contamination of our precious oceans. Independent Coastal Cleanups are conducted by interns as needed or when time permits.

For more information on our advisorship program and general advisorship information, please visit here.

Green Crabs - Events Only

European Green and Asian Shore Crabs are two invasive species in New England that negatively impact local native species, and therefore New England’s seafood industry. To mitigate this issue, Seaside places crab traps in permitted areas to collect data and remove invasive crab species. The captured crabs can be used for compost, as bait, and eaten after data and pictures have been taken. While this will not completely stop the issue, these efforts have led to an increase in native shellfish species populations in recent years. Seaside currently has one crab trap that is used during company events for instructional and informational purposes.

BeBot - Weekly upon program starting

We plan to deploy BeBot, a beach cleaning robot from Searial Cleaners, that sifts the sand for algae and trash which it stores in a trash collection bin that can be emptied later. It is eco-friendly, silent, and protects plant and animal life as well as the sand as it screens. The BeBot is entirely electric and remote-controlled, so it emits no greenhouse gasses. It can operate at any time of day or night without restriction due to its silent nature. The BeBot targets all solid waste left on our beaches and any debris that has washed ashore. The objective is to provide our coastal areas with a reliable solution to clean shared sandy beaches from all the marine debris produced by sea waste or human activity. Not only does collecting debris create a more visually appealing beach environment, but it prevents waste from escaping into waterways as well. The Seaside team will be responsible for controlling and monitoring the BeBot once the program commences.

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