By Ginger DeShaney

About 45 people braved the cold and wind Saturday morning to clean up Moakley Park as Boston Harbor Now and the Boston Parks & Recreation Department kicked off the 2023 cleanup season.

“It’s community building,” said Lulu O’Leary, one of about 20 members of the Boston University women’s water polo team to participate. “It’s creating a better environment for everybody.”

Cliff Meggison traveled in from Sudbury after seeing the event posted on Boston Cares. 

“We think it’s important that we take care of the natural resources we have, because if we don’t, they’re not going to be here very long,” he said. “I think it’s one of those things that, you know, everybody thinks somebody else is going to do it and nobody does.”

These Boston Harbor Now and Parks & Rec Department cleanups allow volunteers to give back to the community and enjoy the beauty of this waterfront park. The organizations provide the tools – including gloves, pickers, and trash bags.

The cleanup help is greatly appreciated by the four Parks Department workers who maintain all the South Boston parks. They are charged with cutting the grass and fields, lining the fields, weed whacking, emptying the trash barrels, and more …and they do a great job.

“But a little bit of help doesn’t hurt,” said laborer Mark Skerry. 

Jaye Meakem, Community Engagement Specialist for Boston Harbor Now, understands the park staff needs some assistance. “We get to save them dozens of hours by helping them with 60 acres: we have 45 people, times one and a half hours of work.”

When people see others caring about the park, they tend to take better care of it themselves, said Rebecca Smerling, Director of Programs at BHN. She noted that every time there’s a cleanup, they get lots of thank yous from the community.

“We want to make sure that people can feel at home and welcome in a space that is theirs,” Jaye added. 

Wallace Scott found out about the event through Boston Harbor Now. Taking care of the environment is important, he said. “If I’m out enjoying the parks all the time, we have to make sure that they stay in good shape.”

Kyler Hoogendoorn-Ecker, Nathan Johnson, and KC Kirby were volunteering through Boston Latin School. When out in the parks, “it’s so much nicer to me when it’s a nice clean space,” said Kyle. “It always brings you down when you’re out in nature and you see trash. So I think it’s really great that we’re here doing this.”

Nathan and KC Kirby enjoy going to the parks to take advantage of all they have to offer. “We really want to make the most out of it but we can’t do that if it’s littered,” Nathan said.

Cathy Baker-Eclipse, who works with the Parks Department, was out with Willa Eclipse doing their part. “It’s really important to get people out into the parks; if people are invested in making the park beautiful and successful, they’ll take pride in it.”


The next cleanup will be on Earth Day, April 22 (there will be a special celebration of flowers on May 13). From June through September, cleanups will be held every third Saturday. Visit the following link for upcoming Moakley Park cleanups: