News from the Superintendent

Boston Harbor Islands logo

Summer 2015

Here are some highlights of what is happening on the Harbor Islands this summer. Our accomplishments are due to the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership and the many dedicated people who work in support of the park.

Thanks to all—see you on the islands!
Giles Parker, National Park Service

Boston Light
UNITED STATES COAST GUARD — Boston Light is gearing up for its 300th anniversary in 2016! As a critical aid to navigation, Boston Light is a centerpiece of our nation's maritime history and is as important to safety at sea today as it was in 1716. Join us for a ranger-guided tour of America's first lightstation supported by the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Friends of Boston Harbor Islands.

Space is limited and advance reservation are recommended. Tours meet that the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center in downtown Boston before proceeding to the ferry dock. Visitors must be eight years or older and 50" or taller to climb the tower.


Photo Contest
BOSTON HARBOR ISLAND ALLIANCE—Our annual photo contest invites visitors to submit a photo that captures something special about the islands. Share your favorite moment, scenic view or wildlife sighting and you could be this year's winner! Visit to see full contest rules and learn how to submit your photo.

Citizen Scientists at the Bioblitz

Citizen Scientists

Resource Stewardship
MA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND RECREATION — Prescribed (planned) fires are part of a long-term effort to improve the breeding ground on Lovells Island for the little black and white terns that dart into harbor waters to nab fish. The habitat restoration work will clear out dense invasive shrubs and storm-deposited debris. Eliminating the tall vegetation and trash that provide hiding and perching spots for predatory rats and raptors will make the beach area more desirable to nesting terns, which prefer wide open landscapes near the ocean edge.

The effort is being led by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) ecology program, along with staff and fire crews from DCR. The National Park Service and Boston Fire Department, as well as Massachusetts Audubon scientists and hundreds of stewardship volunteers are also contributing their time and effort to this important work.

Following burns in 2013 and 2014, additional prescribed fires and manual clean-up are continuing in 2015 and beyond. As the terns return to colonize the site, we plan to head out to the south side of Lovells Island with our binoculars to enjoy the fruits of our efforts and watch the terns peep and chatter (at a safe distance behind the protective fencing, of course)! For us, helping to make the islands an appealing home for wildlife and plants is the best part of the job.
Students Studying the Intertidal Zone

Students Studying the Intertidal Zone

Education & Youth
SCHOOL PROGRAMS—Education staff from NPS, Thompson Island Outward Bound, and Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) conducted programs reaching almost 1,000 Boston area students. Included in classroom and field expeditions was an urban/suburban collaboration with elementary school students from Boston and surrounding communities. The students study their shared watershed and follow it to Boston Harbor with visits to Spectacle and Thompson Islands.

News Archive

View "Park Newspaper" for news of interest to seasonal rangers, volunteers, park staff, Advisory Council members, partners, and others in our park community.

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