Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Robert F. Chen

Second Advisor

Mark Borrelli

Third Advisor

Robert Stevenson


Participatory science programs are becoming effective mechanisms to provide members of the public opportunities to be involved in scientific research worldwide. In the city of Boston, coastal resilience research is of particular interest to researchers, policy makers, and members of the public due to the threat of up to two meters of sea level rise by the year 2100. As part of the outreach and education initiative at the Stone Living Lab, community members were trained to use the Emery method of beach profiling and conducted measurements at twelve different sites around Boston harbor. The sites were visited during the period of April through December of 2021 to initiate a record of beach elevation change around greater Boston Harbor. The results of this yearlong project reveal that participants successfully used the Emery method to measure beach profiles at multiple sites. These data are useful to delineate wave energy levels of beach sites, characterize seasonal trends, and assess individual storm impacts. The results of the project have been useful both in terms of collecting scientific beach elevation data, broadening the number of shoreline change measurements than what was possible for the Stone Living Lab core research team alone, building a network of community members interested in the future of our shorelines, and engaging thirty-five participants in authentic, meaningful coastal research. Successes and suggestions for improvements of future participatory science efforts are discussed.