The Volunteers and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands is a non-profit (US IRS granted 501c3 organization) environmental and educational organization that encourages public use of the islands, balanced with the need to protect their fragile ecosystem and historic environment. Our diverse membership provides services to the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area through volunteer programs, public education and advocacy efforts.
March, 2012 - our 'new' streamlined Mission:
The Mission of the Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands is to inspire stewardship and respect for the islands through educational and interpretive programs.
Background and History
The Volunteers and Friends of the Boston Harbor Islands Inc. evolved out of the efforts of the Boston Harbor Islands Volunteer Corps. The Corps was organized in 1979 by Suzanne Gall Marsh to supplement the program services of the Boston Harbor Islands State Park staff.
When the organization incorporated in 1982 the title was changed to reflect the variety of the membership –– those who volunteer on land, sea, or the islands, and those who support the Friends mission and love the islands but do not necessarily have time to be volunteers. Volunteers provide direct services to the park, and conduct public education programs, including boat trips, and advocacy efforts.
The Friends predate the national park which was authorized by Congress in November 1996. During the years leading to the creation of the national park, the Friends were deeply involved in the behind-the-scenes efforts of the feasibility study, the drafting of the legislation, and the advocacy efforts with the Massachusetts Congressional delegation.
The Friends have been recognized by local, state, and national organizations for their dedicated grassroots efforts to promote appreciation and preservation of this unique recreational resource, located so near to a major metropolitan area.
The Friends now serve the national park with its 34 islands spread over 50 square miles of Boston Harbor. The Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area is truly one of America's great parks, with its panoramic vistas, sweeping beaches, historic forts, schools and hospitals, miles of walking trails, and acres of natural landscapes. The organization takes great pride in serving this historic treasure.