Hundreds of Students Make Mini Floating Ecosystems in Boston

Hundreds of Students Make Mini Floating Ecosystems in Boston

Education & Outreach Inspiration

Floating Ecosystems can be a catalyst for people to learn about and care for their local waterways. In Boston, the Charles River Conservancy has engaged their local community in inspiring projects based around Floating Ecosystems involving hundreds of school children, teenagers, and adults. One of their wonderful projects has been to develop an activity kit in which students make their own mini Floating Ecosystem at school! In 2022 they delivered 170 Floating Ecosystem activity kits to schools in Cambridge MA providing hands-on ecosystem design experience to over 400 students. The educational kits were developed in partnership with the MIT Sea Grant and MIT Community Service Fund. This type of project demonstrates how much interest and support there is for improving the health of our waterways and the way in which seeds of hope and positive change can grow within local communities.

The STEAM Activity Kit gives students a hands-on opportunity to learn about Charles River ecology, pollution and water quality. The great news is that this project is continuing and the Charles River Conservancy will distribute kits to students again this year along with an informational activity sheet, translated in multiple languages, that will engage student families with the project outside of the classroom. Getting the whole family involved helps is important for lasting change!

“Our students (and teachers) learned so much during this project! The brochure and materials were such high quality and your support was terrific. We so appreciate our partnership with you all and look forward to where it takes us in the future!!!”

Janet MacNeil,
JK-12 Science Coordinator, Cambridge Public Schools

In 2021, the Charles River Conservancy also provided kayak trips to 85 youth to see and experience the Floating Ecosystems up close. For many youths, this was their first experience on the water!

It’s exciting to see our clients and partners getting creative and coming up with fun and experiential ways to inform the wider community about the Floating Ecosystem restoration projects.  In Boston, they have created everything from card games to fast-paced running games to get people connected.

“Floating Wetland” card game at the Cambridge Arts River Festival!

“Floating Wetland” tag at the Kendall Square Challenge.

The Biomatrix Floating Ecosystem in Boston was installed in June of 2020. It is planted with 19 native wetland species including sedges, bullrush, flowering perennials, and wetland shrubs. Plants like rose mallow, sweet flag, and milkweed are arranged to create a unique floating garden and attract both human and non-human visitors.