In 1986 I began canoe racing in the Run of the Charles, sponsored by CWRA. Canoeing on the Charles gradually became a daily, year round activity and I participated in the race for 25 consecutive years. The river found its place in my heart and the benefits of CRWA to the health of the river have been abundantly obvious. Gradually, I have turned from canoeing fast to canoeing slowly, drinking in the beauty and taking photographs at every turn. The array of wildlife to capture in pictures is astounding for a river that winds through suburb and city. Water quality is high, particularly in the upstream stretches where rope swings are in frequent summer use, fish are plentiful and the birds and mammals that feed on fish are ever increasing. Bird life is as abundant as in a national park. Watching the signets, ducklings and goslings arrive every spring, the orioles hang their nests, the blackbirds guard their territory; then life cycle through the hot, lazy days of summer when the banks burst into blossom and heron stalk fish; the brilliant colors of fall foliage reflect on the water; finally the return of the winter ducks, sightings of otter, mink and fisher on the ice, and the lives lost to the harsh cold; all of this gives us a sense of our place in the flow of life. The efforts of CRWA to clean and sustain the river's flow are essential to all that the Charles gives us. I am very grateful. For me as a photographer, CRWA has made wonderful use of my images. I also participate in river cleanups, an immediately gratifying effort organized by CRWA. But their vision is far beyond my small efforts, combining science, education and advocacy for the whole watershed to sustain a healthy river vibrantly full of life.
The Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) is an amazingly effective organization that has worked hard for more then 40 years to clean up the most important river in eastern Massachusetts, the Charles. The organization is lean and mean, using the expertise of scientists, urban planners, engineers, lawyers and a multitude of volunteers to ensure that both wildlife and human activity thrive despite the encroachment of urban development. Everyone who lives, works, studies or plays in sight of this river should get involved with CRWA.