Exploration and environmental stewardship

PBCB is proud to offer a variety of science and environmental education programs. In the summer, we offer an all-day Sailing & Science Camp for children ages 7 to 14. We also welcome outreach groups to enjoy trips on our solar-powered floating classroom. In the shoulder and off-seasons, we host community events including speakers and hands-on experiences. We welcome hundreds of local schoolchildren to our campus in the spring and fall for science-based field trips, including those that utilize our floating classroom. We also have school break experiences and a citizen science program in the works.

Citizen Science at PBCB

PBCB Stewardship Action Center

Pleasant Bay Stewards is a new Environmental Stewardship Movement, focusing on social awareness and community action. PBCB Stewardship Action Center leads campaigns that promote real solutions to some of the biggest challenges Cape Cod waters face. We challenge the notion that the way things are is the way things should always be, and are proud to be a force for positive transformation. Pleasant Bay Stewards are working to help protect Pleasant Bay water quality and help find local sustainable solutions to pollution, ocean acidification, and climate change. PBCB Stewardship Action Center is a new website of resources to make this mission not only realistic, but simple to achieve.


Working for what we believe in. Together. 


Pleasant Bay Stewards were involved in a pilot eelgrass monitoring and restoration effort encouraging community engagement and action in marine science. Eelgrass is one of 72 seagrass species globally. In the North Atlantic, eelgrass naturally grows on the North American east coast as well as the west coast of Europe. Being an aquatic plant, eelgrass takes in carbon dioxide and nitrogen, releasing oxygen. According to Project Seagrass, only one acre of seagrass can provide enough oxygen in one day for nearly 100 people. With global warming and a history of harmful fishing practices, eelgrass populations around the world are at risk. Luckily, there’s a small yet determined group of scientists working to restore and protect eelgrass, as well as educate the community about its importance to our marine ecosystems. On Cape Cod, Pleasant Bay Stewards hopes that by creating a team of citizen scientists, we will be able to map eelgrass, collect seeds for planting, and then disperse seeds across the beds as a means of adding to the natural population and restoring it to its former density.


Pleasant Bay Stewards invites community scientists to learn about the importance of kelp. Pleasant Bay Stewards invites community scientists to learn about the importance of kelp. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes peek into the Kelp Lab, headed by PBCB resident scientist, Jamie Nye. Jamie spoke with AmeriCorps Cape Cod Member, Lily Gooding, about what’s new with kelp, as it becomes a more popular commodity in aquaculture for innovative cuisine.  The one-on-one interview below introduces PBCB’s very own kelp nursery so that community members can stay informed and up to date on all things kelp at Pleasant Bay.

What are the benefits of growing kelp? The benefits of kelp are mostly that is a winter crop which makes it preferable to grow on Cape Cod because boat traffic will be less in the winter and it won’t get in anyone’s way.  Kelp is great, too, because it isn’t like a garden; it doesn’t require as many inputs. You don’t have to add soil and water and fertilizer like you would in a garden. Once it is put in the ocean, it will thrive just off the nutrient-rich waters of Pleasant Bay.

There’s some evidence that kelp can mitigate ocean acidification by taking in carbon dioxide and nitrogen in our waters and producing oxygen. But, that would probably happen on a very small scale. It’s good for the environment, but mostly it is a kind of local remediation. It’s a good way for us to help right here, where we are. It’s a good way to get in touch with the community and help the place where you live, work, fish, etc.  

Once harvested, what can the kelp be used for? Once kelp is taken out of the water, it can be used for all kinds of things. You can cook with it, make fish feed out of it, maybe use it to make biofuel or a natural fertilizer. When it’s removed from the water, the kelp will be very nutrient dense so it would be perfect as a natural fertilizer alternative to some of the harsh chemical fertilizers that can pollute our water systems on Cape Cod. Since it comes from right here, too, you really wouldn’t be adding anything extra to the ecosystem that wouldn’t already be there.  

What is the harvesting process like? Pleasant Bay Community Boating is lucky to partner with Chatham Kelp farmers to transfer the lab-grown kelp to the sea once it is ready. It’s a very simple process because the kelp will hang from a horizontal line, anchored on both ends. Since it will have been growing in the water for a few months, absorbing nutrients from Pleasant Bay, it’s important that we remove it so that we can actually provide some kind of benefit to the water quality. The horizontal lines make the process of pulling up the kelp very easy. 

How does stewardship fit in with the kelp project? One of the biggest ways this project encourages stewardship is through our partnership with Chatham Kelp to help them start their first kelp nursery by providing them with spools locally grown instead of ordering from other companies.  It goes back to the idea of local, low-impact bio remediation – helping how we can, where we are and encouraging others to do the same. The scope of this project is to hopefully show the potential for kelp farming in places where we didn’t think kelp could be farmed. Cape Cod has a lot of nutrient rich estuaries that could benefit from the filtering that kelp provides. Changes are hard to accept, especially in small communities like this. By learning about both the fiscal and environmental benefits kelp can have when farmed in this low-maintenance system, we can encourage others to tackle similar initiatives.