Programs & Initiatives

Beach trash pickup

Clean Beach Initiatives

Adopt a Beach

In 2011, SWIM joined the 25-year-old Adopt a Beach program begun by Salem Sound Coastwatch, a nonprofit watershed organization on the North Shore dedicated to protecting and improving the environmental quality of coastal resources, including beaches, rivers, salt marshes, and the coastal waters. Since then, SWIM has rallied residents to the cause with monthly cleaning of individual beaches by teams of Beachkeepers, as well as organizing an Annual Nahant Beaches Cleanup Day in the spring. Recently, SWIM added an annual fall cleanup of Short Beach, in collaboration with the worldwide initiative called COASTSWEEP. The records of debris collected give valuable benchmarks of conditions and trends.

Annual Beaches Cleanup Day

The first annual beaches cleanup day was organized in 2006 by Linda Jenkins, the president of the Women’s Club. This massive effort on the part of the entire community was a great success and was repeated from 2007-2009. After a five-year pause, the newly-formed 01908 group held cleanups in 2013-2014. In 2015, SWIM took over the annual event. Hundreds of residents of all ages flock to our beaches to purge them of trash. These annual events bond our community together and set standards for the preservation of the beauty of Nahant’s beaches.


SWIM has been taking part in COASTSWEEP events for several years. COASTSWEEP is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC. Their annual event strives to raise awareness and clean beaches all around the world by bringing hundreds of thousands of volunteers to beaches, lakes, and streams worldwide to remove marine debris and collect data to help identify and address the behaviors that cause the debris. The annual cleanup has grown over the years—in 2016, 2,563 volunteers cleaned 164 miles of coastline, river bank, marsh, seafloor, and lakeshore in Massachusetts—collecting more than 13,780 pounds of debris from 107 locations. In total 147,654 items were collected. We are proud to be sponsoring a newly initiated fall cleanup of Short Beach in Nahant.

Interested in becoming a beachkeeper?
Email us at or download our beachkeeper signup form .

Planting Tree

Plant a Tree Program

In 2016,​ SWIM created a program to plant trees in Nahant. Within a year, SWIM donated four trees to the Town of Nahant, which were planted in Marjoram Park. We look forward to encouraging the planting of trees by property owners themselves.

Trees are critically important to our environment, especially to our own health and the health of our land and water. They improve the quality of the air we breathe by consuming carbon dioxide, producing oxygen and trapping pollution. In initiating this program, we hope to educate and influence the community on the importance of tree planting and maintenance.

Partnership with Greenscapes

Greenscapes logo

The Greenscapes Massachusetts program is a collaborative education and outreach effort sponsored by the Greenscapes Massachusetts Coalition, its city and town Community Members and its supporters, advisors and affiliates. Its goals are to educate citizens and professionals about landscaping practices (particularly irrigation and chemical use), to create an informed and proactive citizenry who act as environmental stewards in their own backyards, and to generate broad support for the responsible public management of water resources.

Greenscapes helps Nahant meet public education and outreach requirements under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Stormwater program required by the EPA as well as water conservation measures required under the Massachusetts Water Management Act. Nahant is required to complete an annual permit for its NPDES Phase II Small MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) System. The materials and services provided by the Greenscapes program help satisfy requirements in this permit thereby helping the Town and its residents protect our environment. SWIM meets with the Nahant Town Administrator every year to work on the MS4 permit.

The top-quality educational programs and resources Nahant receives annually are created and presented by professionals in the field and include:

There is an annual fee required, of which SWIM pays 80% and Northeastern University pays 20%. Northeastern thereby expresses its commitment to its partnership with SWIM in our local efforts to protect our environment and educate the public.


SWIM Nalgene

Please consider eliminating your use of disposable water bottles and changing over to refillable ones. Disposable water bottles are designed for single use and their chemicals can leach into your drinking water if you re-use them, especially if they become hot in the sun or in your hot car. The very best solution is glass refillable water bottles but they are expensive and cannot be used at pools and in other situations.

SWIM has designed its own high quality Nalgene water bottles for you. We are offering them for a suggested contribution of $8.00 each, which is our cost. Please let us know if you would like any. Just email us at


Nahant SWIM has a long history with the Northeastern University Marine Science Center (MSC). Since SWIM's inception in 1984, MSC scientists have provided expertise and support to SWIM efforts to advocate for secondary treatment of local wastewater, prevent contaminated dredge spoil from being dumped locally, ensure minimal impacts from the siting of a natural gas pipeline, protect endangered whales, and advocate for the creation of a No Discharge Area in local waters. The collaboration includes joint programs at the Annual Bioblitz, SWIM hosting meetings at MSC and MSC faculty representation on SWIM’s Board. This long term partnership between SWIM and the MSC’s marine scientists have helped to advance SWIM’s efforts and benefited the natural resources of Nahant.

For over a decade, the Coastal Ocean Science Academy (COSA), based out of the Marine Science Center in Nahant’s East Point, has provided a hands-on, research-based STEM education experience that connects youth to local coastal habitats and to the factors that shape them. This day-program includes off-site field trips to locations around Boston and the North Shore. High school students also complete a research project, which they present to peers, family, and friends.

Starting in 2016, thanks to the generosity of our donors, SWIM was able to start an annual program of providing scholarship funds for Nahant’s resident middle and high school students interested in attending this program. In 2017, we expanded the reach of these funds to include support for high school and college-age residents seeking internships at the Marine Science Center. We are grateful to be able to make this opportunity available to our young people interested in ocean science.

Other Community Initiatives Include:

  • Upgrading recycling in Nahant
  • A commitment to re-stencil our streets’ storm drains with “No Dumping – Drains to Ocean”
  • Publication of a new guide to the rocks of Nahant
  • Educating the public about pesticide and fertilizer use on lawns
  • Representation at important meetings and seminars about our environment
  • Serving as a first responder to threats to our beautiful environment here in Nahant
  • Developing a contingency plan for large shoreline pollution events
Recycle Bag by Vi Patek
ML with Hat by Mark Patek
Heather Goodwin's Serpent by Vi Patek

Questions or comments?

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