The Center for Student Coastal Research (CSCR), is the regional leader in actively engaging students in authentic, community-based, hands-on, environmental research. We enable students to build an understanding of our coastal ecosystem that inspires them to stewardship of our community resources. At the forefront of environmental education, we encourage independent thinking and innovation as we nurture future leaders of our fragile planet.

Enjoy some Summer 2023 CSCR Research Photos:

Research is well underway with teams (images abovee) focusing on Bassing Beach Dune Grass and Watershed Water Quality. Harbor Foam and Bacteria, Oceanography, Eel Grass field and lab work, as well as Salt Marsh monitoring and Nekton (minnows) Sampling are among the many other research activities our students are pursuing. Get on our newsletter list to stay informed.

Monitoring cyanobacteria in the freshwater ecosystem of our coastal watershed.
Three members of the eelgrass snorkeling team about to depart for field work.
Filtering water samples in the lab; one step in the process of monitoring nitrates and chlorophyll-a.
Kayaking through the 200+ acres of salt marsh protected by “Bassings,” the local barrier beach outside of Cohasset Harbor.
Assessing the coverage of dune grass on Bassings Beach, the barrier beach that protects 200+ acres of fragile salt marsh.
Nekton Sampling in the Parker Ave Creek, one of the many salt marsh systems located in Cohasset Harbor.
The ubiquitous Green Crab, an invasive creature wreaking havoc in our eel grass beds.
Landon, a member of the Oceanography team, shares eel grass video footage with our middle school research team. Project Leader Susan Bryant, CSCR’s lead ecologist and research vessel skipper for all Eel Grass Expeditions, looks on.
State Representative Joan Meschino (right), 3rd Plymouth District, and her staff enjoy a summer visit to CSCR. Representative Meschino is a passionate advocate for student engagement in environmental stewardship and a cherished friend of CSCR.

CSCR Programs

Information about our programs is here. Below are links to our spring event, the State of the Harbor, our signature event in which student research teams share their findings and experiences with the community.

Video recording and presentation slides of April 13, 2023 CSCR State of the Harbor event featuring summer and fall 2022 research.

Our Approach:

Students Co-design Summer Research:

On February 15 and 16, we convened students and school partners to co-design summer research 2023. At a Wednesday evening networking event, students shared their thoughts about what research experiences mean to them, and they reconvened the next day to co-create plans to advance their research goals.

Read more about the social networking evening and day-long workshop with our high school partners from Archies, Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, and Scituate.

Connecting Students with Professional Scientists:

Saturday, Jan 7 was “Drone Day” for the Dune Grass Research Team. Typical of our approach, we connected our student team with Dr Andrew Bennett of MIT Sea Grant, and his incredibly talented research partner, engineer and roboticist, Silas Hughes. Together, they provided an in-depth presentation on drone software, programming, and flight. Thanks to our partners at Hingham High School, the crew assembled in a Hingham classroom to learn about the functionality and performance features of 3 drone models, and how each might serve the student research goals at hand- to turn the labor intensive work of collecting 500 data points documenting % coverage of dune grass per square meter into an AI computer model that calculates that same % coverage by “learning” how to translate the pixels of images collected by drone. The student group is working at the cutting edge of conservation science by mastering tech competencies that support preservation management of fragile ecosystems.

From the Archives:

In summer 2022, we engaged approximately 80 students from 4 towns (Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, and Scituate) representing 6 schools (public and private) in more than a dozen research projects: conducting bacteria counts, monitoring water quality, measuring biodiversity, engineering salinity sensors, surveying dune grass, and harvesting and transplanting eel grass to investigate wasting disease, among numerous sub-projects and tasks that constituted full research efforts unto themselves.

It was wild- and students collectively crushed the state benchmark of 990 hours of direct student engagement in meaningful, content-driven work co-created and managed by 10 teachers and 5 interns. What a summer, indeed!

Over 300 bacteria samples were collected and analyzed, more than 5000 oxygen, salinity, temperature, and pH data points were plotted in the Gulf River, Cohasset Harbor, Bassings Basin, the Glades, and Straits Pond, among other sites! In addition, research expeditions to the eel grass beds of the Bassings Basin occurred by the dozens!

We are proud to be working with communities and school partners as one regional collaborative building answers to our question, “How might we credential the valuable community-based summertime research in which our students are engaged?”