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    Groups get funds for summer beach events

    A non-profit that aims to restore the Boston area shoreline and boost community programs at beaches awarded $25,000 on Saturday to facilitate seaside events.

    Save the Harbor/Save the Bay held a ceremony Saturday morning in the Seaport District, overlooking Boston Harbor. The funds were divided among 12 groups to help put on 30 events, including next month’s Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival, an annual exposition that draws close to 250,000 visitors.

    “We have a responsibility to make these local beaches available to the community, especially to those can’t get away to Cape Cod or Cape Ann,” said Bruce Berman, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay spokesman, in an interview Saturday. “We’re not a traditional environmental organization: we are restoring the ecosystem so people can enjoy it.”


    In the past five years, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay has given more than $125,000 to community groups for seaside shindigs from “Nahant to Nantasket,” Berman said, including concerts, movie nights, parties, and bonfires.

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    “Connecting the city to the ocean, from the youngest folks to the oldest, is the only way we can make sure our progress doesn’t slide back,” Berman said. “If they fall in love with these beaches, they gain a sense of stewardship. They want to save it for more people to see.”

    An event at M Street Beach in South Boston that received $2,500 will feature a family reading night.

    “It’s a great event. If you can imagine it, it’s a bunch of families enjoying Clifford the Big Red Dog at sunset on a beach that was once often closed because it was so dirty,” Berman said. “Now, it’s one of the cleanest urban beaches in America.”

    The organization raised the money in March, when supporters solicited donations before 200 people jumped into icy ocean water at eight beaches along the Bay State coast, Berman said. The event was open to dogs, who could take the plunge in place of their owners.


    Berman, 57, is a professor of marine science, management, and public policy at Boston University.

    From mid-April to mid-November of each year, Berman lives with his wife, Patricia Foley, on their trawler yacht, which is equipped with cable and Internet access and a full kitchen. Foley is the president of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay.

    “These beaches are important recreational assets to the people who live here,” Berman said. “It’s a part of who I am. It’s part of what I’m doing today.”

    Christopher J. Girard can be reached at