Trillium Studios Presents Karen and the River in the Turn Around Short Film Series

Take a journey through a short history of the Malden River and its present-day complexities as an urban river. Residents are taking charge of visible change in our Malden River!

Click on this link to view the 6-minute professional film:

Truly, this film speaks of why it is important to keep plastics in the trash and off of streets and yards. Plastics off of our streets helps to keep plastics out of our waterways and oceans. The implications of microplastics in our water and our foods are being studied. We need to refuse single-use plastics in our daily lives – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse are the primary “R”‘s –

Microplastics are everywhere

2021 Friends of the Malden River Photo Contest Results

So many wonderful photos; thank you all! for your reflections of the Malden River

A message from the sponsor, Paul Buckley:

The purpose of the Malden River photo contest was first; to advertise the Malden River itself and secondly, to motivate people to visit the river which has seen dramatic improvements over the last 15 or so years and continues right up to this current day.  Your photos are visual proof of this remarkable transition so thank you all.   The judges were pleasantly pleased with not only the number of entries but especially with the efforts made by all the participants in their attempt to frame a worthy photo.  The “Views” category had the highest number of submissions with 23, some which were truly fantastic pictures.  The criteria was not just picture quality, lighting, mood, reflection and technique but also which pictures told the best story,  All your pictures in some way have conveyed a story, and it’s a story that we as Friends of the Malden River are confident will continue and improve with each new chapter getting better and better.


First Place
Photo Credit: David Mussina
Learn To Row Day, 2016
Tufts Boat House
Second Place
Photo Credit: Rich Whelan
Malden River slightly upriver from River’s Edge.
A paddle boarder is being a good person by picking up trash.
Great technique as well.
Honorable Mention
Photo Credit: Mark Linehan
Canoeing on the Malden River

Honorable Mention
Photo Credit: David Mussina
A Historical Tour of the Malden River, 2014
Location: River’s Edge


First Place
Photo Credit: Alexandra Jacobson Offiong
River Green Park, Everett
Heavy Sky
Second Place
Photo Credit: Rie Lowenstein
River’s Edge Park, Medford

Honorable Mention
Photo Credit: Naomi Kahn
Looking across to River’s Edge

Honorable Mention
Photo Credit: Joe Shakar
Views from the Bridge


First Place
Photo Credit: Fern Remedi-Brown
Paddling Upstream
Second Place
Photo Credit: Alexandra Jacobson Offiong
Flying Swan
Honorable Mention
Photo Credit: Carlos Aragon Turtle
Adaptation to Trash
Honorable Mention
Photo Credit: Naomi Kahn
Great Egret with No Regrets

UMA (Urban Media Arts) and Malden Catholic become working Friends of the Malden River

From Malden’s Neighborhood View! A wordpress site that informs us of Malden: Past, Present, and Future!

Malden River clean-up raises awareness of local environmental issues

July 12, 2021Kamila Rodrigues

Students from Malden Catholic, interns from UMA (Urban Media Arts) and Karen Buck from Friends of the Malden River. Photo by Keren He.

By Kamila Rodrigues

As global citizens push back against climate change and North America experiences its hottest June ever, members of the Malden community are finding ways to clean up and care for the Malden River. During the school vacation week in April, Urban Media Arts (UMA) partnered with Friends of the Malden River, a citizens group committed to drawing the Malden River back to vibrant, civic life, and Malden Catholic High School students for a river clean-up at River’s Edge in Medford. 

Pictured: Sharieff Andrews, Karen Buck, and Masio. Photo by Keren He.

This hybrid (in-person and virtual) program, which will continue in a similar way for one later the summer, was run by UMA’s Amanda Hurley and Masio in collaboration with Karen Buck of the Friends of the Malden River, who is also a Malden River Works representative. The participants included Malden Catholic 3rd year students Sharieff Andrews, Amy Nguyen, and Frederika Noel.

The students met with Masio and Amanda on April 20 for an orientation. They discussed the virtual component of the student media program, which would include virtually editing a public service announcement together. They also discussed the in-person component that included a tour, clean-up, and video shoot at River’s Edge.

On April 21, the UMA, Malden Catholic, and Friends of Malden River team headed to River’s Edge, a 30-acre mixed-use project. In an interview with Neighborhood View, Karen Buck spoke on the purpose of the Friends of Malden River clean-ups. 

Pictured: Sharieff Andrews, Amy Nguyen Frederika Noel, and Matt Preotle. Photo by Keren He.

“We have been working hard to bring the public to the Malden River. We want to create strong land and river stewards within all of our communities. Our residents’ perception of the value of our open green and blue space needs to be nurtured with knowledge of our precious natural resources. The Malden River is healing after a legacy of abuse; now is the time to show our appreciation and concern,” said Buck. 

With their boots and gloves on, Noel, Nguyen, Andrews, and Buck headed down to the Malden River with trash bags. The cleanup lasted about two hours; the students spent time picking trash, collecting plastics and other items that were discarded along the river bank or had washed up along the boat dock. UMA interns and staff assisted with the clean-up and were able to help shoot videos and take pictures of the process for their project. UMA interns Avion Manong and Keren He assisted in photography and videography.

Photo by Keren He.

Buck, who is also the Environmental Advocate for Malden River Works, detailed some of the goals for the Malden River, saying the project will “set a precedent for inclusive, resilient open space development along industrialized, urban waterways.”

Malden River Works is a coalition of community leaders of color, environmental advocates, and government stakeholders working towards “a climate-resilient waterfront park for all on the Malden River.” 

Buck also spoke of the potential impact of the project, saying, “Malden River Works project will serve as a model for incorporating flood resilient public access infrastructure while upgrading and protecting industrial operations. Within Malden, the project is the first step in realizing an interconnected greenway surrounding the Malden River, providing public access to the city’s most treasured natural resource, while protecting properties from climate-related flood risks.”

Photos by Keren He.

Buck guided the students through the clean-up, answering questions and helping pick up trash along the river bank. Growing up, Buck spent a lot of time outdoors and eventually became an extensive traveler. Seeing the world from multiple perspectives inspired her to get involved in protecting her local environment. “The Earth’s remote beauty is stunning; but the global pollution is distressing. The earth is resilient to a certain degree. But the earth is at a critical tipping point. If our global society doesn’t change as a whole, humanity will suffer,” said Buck.

After the cleanup, the student headed to a grassy area right above the river bank where they filmed key footage for their PSA. They spent another hour filming scenes by the river, coming up with dialogue on the spot and testing it out on camera. This portion of the program allowed them to develop their improvisational acting, producing and directing skills.

Photo by Keren He.

The following day, the students met virtually for the last portion of the program, where they spent several hours editing their video together. What came together was a 4-minute PSA about the environment and the importance of caring for it. The students used the Malden River as the setting for how members of the Malden community can get involved and take charge in the wellbeing of their environment. Shot by Frederika Noel, Sharieff Andrews, Amy Nguyen and the UMA team. Edited by Frederika Noel, Sharieff Andrews, and Amy Nguyen.

You can also watch the interview by Andrews, Nguyen, and Noel of Matt Preotle, one of the developers for Preotle Lane and Associates, about the restoration and the development of the area around the Malden River. Shot by Frederika Noel, Sharieff Andrews, Amy Nguyen and the UMA team. Edited by UMA intern Allie Thompson.

From top left to right: Karen Hoang, Krishi Shah, Jett-le Tran Le, Julia Ferreria, Sheilly Patel, Billy Zeng, Frederika Noel, Sharieff Andrews. Photo by Frederika Noel.

On May 15, the same MC students, joined by some of Malden High’s Science National Honor Society joined Karen Buck for an Earth Day celebration at Rivergreen Park in Everett, which connects to the Malden River. The program included canoe and kayak launch ribbon-cutting with canoes available to the public for this celebration. The event also included pontoon boat rides, river clean-ups, and workshops on wetland ecology, local species, fungi, and how to tread lightly in our wetlands.

Photo by Keren He.

Karen Buck detailed ways other members of the Malden community can get involved, saying “the community’s support for our Malden River begins in the home.”

Here are Buck’s tips:

• Create a clean environment right outside your door: clean sidewalks and street storm drains (which drain directly to the river and carry trash with the storm water) is essential for a clean river. Sometimes, we do have to clean up after other people or windblown trash. 

• Wash your car at car washes and not in the driveway. Car wash soaps carry chemicals into the Malden River through the street storm drains. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are very harmful – use organic fertilizers like Holly Tone.

• Join community clean-ups – they really make a difference. I am noting less trash on the shores of Malden River thanks to community clean-ups and the trash boom that traps the trash from the street storm drains and stops the trash from flowing down river into the Boston Harbor. 

• Push for state legislation to invest and to protect our environment.  We all benefit from an equitable and healthy environment.

• Create a culture that includes protecting our environment: conserve energy by lowering consumption: use less water; turn off lights; reduce and reuse products like shopping bags and water bottles.  

• Incorporate native plants in your gardens:  this will bring butterflies and other important pollinators to your yard and support their life cycle. This creates a supportive habitat for all creatures, including humans.

Photo by Keren He.

This summer UMA will be partnering with Malden Catholic and Friends of the Malden River for PhotoVoice, a narrative and photography project along the Malden River, which will give students further experience in media production, environmental learning, and community service. This project will be partially funded by the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism. Contact Friends of the Malden River and Malden River Works for more ways you can get involved in their projects.

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  1. rustynet says: Thank you from the Malden River, Friends of the Malden River, and Malden River Works! Great article – Kamila! Reply
  2. amandalhurley says: Great article Kamila!! Can’t wait to work with Malden Catholic and Karen Buck again! Reply

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UMA initiated a citizen journalism project in 2014

Through this initiative, UMA  trains and supports local citizens to cover subjects and issues in their own neighborhood through writing and reporting and using simple media tools such as mobile phones and social media.

If you know you’re interested in becoming a Citizen Journalist in Malden, email Anne D’Urso-Rose at

Recent Posts

Trash Free Malden River Counts!

By Karen Buck, Project Manager of Trash Free Malden River and President of the Friends of the Malden River

“Welcome to my office”, Karen Buck remarked to the City of Malden Councilors and Officials during a canoe tour. She smiled as she pointed to the multiple full trash bags lining the fence that separates the Malden City Yard from the Malden River.

City officials, Mystic River Watershed Association, Malden River Works, and Metropolitan Area Planning Council members meet at Buck’s office (a.k.a. the City Yard) before a canoe tour

Ms. Buck was pointing to bags of trash collected by volunteers for the Trash Free Malden River Project, funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET). By purchasing these specialty license plates, funding is procured to protect our coasts and waterways through local environmental groups. The Friends of the Malden River thanks the Massachusetts Environmental Trust for their one year grant financial support. The Mystic River Watershed Association provided valuable assistance to this project with ongoing administrative support and volunteers.

Caricature of Rocky Morrison, founder of Clean River Project

The MET grant of $9,805 will continue to support the Friends of the Malden River’s maintenance of the trash boom through June, 2020. The trash boom was donated by the Clean River Project (CRP) of the Merrimack River Valley. Neal Anderson, Malden City Ward 6 Councillor, and myself, Karen Buck, met Rocky Morrison, the founder of CRP, when we picked up the donated boom in Methuen. Morrison offered us a ride on his platoon. Not only did we have a tour of his cleanup sites, we met a woman who happened to be homeless and living on the shores of the Merrimack River. She was grateful not only to Morrison’s shoreline cleanups of homeless camps (funded by MET), but also for his supportive presence on the Merrimack River.

July 7, 2019: Photo of the newly installed trash boom. Look up the Malden River to see the large culverts. Most of Malden’s street stormwater drains flow into the Malden River through these culverts bringing street litter into the river.

The trash boom was installed on July 7, 2019. The boom spans the Malden River behind the 188-200 Commercial Street Plaza. This is just below huge culverts where the Malden River “daylights” (emerges from the underground storm water system). Most of Malden street stormwater drains empty through these large culverts. Street litter is pushed through the storm water system into the Malden River during every rain event.

The Trash Free Malden River initiative clears the trash boom of trash on a monthly basis and run volunteer Malden River Cleanup events below the trash boom. Volunteers separate and count the collections for data analysis after the monthly cleanups.

July 12, 2019: the newly installed trash boom did its job blocking trash from flowing down the river after a rain storm.
Malden Girls Scouts pitch in with
helpful hands

The Girl Scouts of Malden visited the Malden River for a Clean Water Badge. The Girl Scout motto: “Many hands make less work” prevailed during our monthly trash sorting adventure. Among the many items, they noted the huge amount of cigarette butts in the assortment. The Girl Scouts provided ideas including ash trays for public picnic tables along the river.

The YMCA leaders pitched in many hands as well! The group helped with the Canoe on the Malden River event on September 28th.

They enjoyed the event so much that they asked to paddle again on the river. On October 5th, not only did they have time to paddle, they collected more trash than what they could count. The outdoor club of Tufts University also participated in the cleanup pulling out heavy items out of the river including four car tires.

Members of the Malden Teen Enrichment Center (MTEC) are both dismayed and challenged by reducing trash in the city of Malden and in the Malden River. Twenty-one Malden High School/MTEC students gathered at a brainstorming session in November to organize actions to both educate the public and to reduce the amount of Malden’s street litter that flows through the street stormwater drains directly into the Malden River.

Members of Malden Teen Enrichment Center Summer program.

So, let’s do the math! The Trash Free Malden River recruited 74 volunteers who donated 316 hours! We collected 1,120 single use plastic bottles, 976 alcoholic “nips”, 57 pounds of dry polystrene (Styrofoam), and 300 pounds of miscellaneous trash out of the Malden River.

Meet Trash Free Malden River’s Pow, guardian of the trash boom.
Pow will not accept the street litter that pollutes the Malden River.

Some of this trash would have flowed down the Malden River into the Mystic River and may have continued into the Boston Harbor. Some of this trash would have been caught by the vegetation along the shoreline, disrupting the balance of nature. Without any cleanups, all of the plastic trash would have degraded into microplastics in the water, ruining our ecosystem and poisoning our environment. Microplastics harbor toxins and harmful bacteria.

What can we do to keep and protect our environment, especially our marine environment? We can and we need to create change in our daily lives and habits.

  • Refuse plastics and polystyrene (Styrofoam). Easy first steps include bringing your own reusable shopping bags. Nylon bags fit easily in your life. Usually, a local butcher will wrap meat or fish in wax coated paper and a plastic bag. But, that plastic bag can be used for containing trash properly disposed. Ask for paper containers for left-overs from restaurants. You can bring your own take home containers.
  • Reduce your waste by changing your habits. There are simple ways and more extensive efforts to create change. Use reusable containers for hot drinks. Use reusable bags for shopping vegetables and fruits. Every reduction makes a difference.
  • Recycle and compost properly. Review your city recycling policies. Plastic bags and polystrene (#6 Styrofoam) are not accepted in curbside recycling pickups. Clean white foam can be deposited inside the Save Your Stuff trailer at the City Yard. There are commercial composting companies that service Malden: Bootstrap Compost and Black Earth Compost
  • Keep your yard and local street storm water drain clean of all debris, especially trash. Leaves and dirt are also important to remove from the street storm water drains. These clog the drains and impede drainage. They also contain phosphates from inorganic fertilizers and poisons. Avoiding use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides also protect our environment from toxins. These toxins are flushed into our waterways via street storm water drains.

Have fun role-modeling. I have been working with youth for years with Efforts in Going Green. To be a good EGG, is rewarding. As Kermit the Frog sings: “When green is all there is to be; It could make you wonder why; But why wonder; why wonder; I’m Green it will do fine; It’s beautiful. And I think it is what I want to be”.

Malden Works receives Norman B. Leventhal Prize to improve access to the Malden River

The Steering Committee and Prize Team coordinated a successful public kick-off meeting for the Equitable Resiliency project on the Malden River. Over 90 people came to listen and to share their thoughts about our valuable gem. Please contact the to participate in this public process.

Neighborhood View

Malden River (Photo by Khalil Kaba)

By Kevin Perrington-Turner

A Malden urban coalition has won a prestigious $100,000 prize from the Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism (LCAU) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that will be used to fund a two-year program of projects on the Malden River to create greater access to the river for Malden’s diverse population.

Malden Works for Waterfront Equity and Resilience, known as Malden Works, was named the winner of the first Norman B. Leventhal City Prize in September. Malden Works has formed a steering committee to ensure all communities are represented in upcoming projects.

The $100,000 triennial prize was established by the Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism to catalyze innovative, interdisciplinary urban design and planning approaches worldwide to improve both the environment and the quality of life for residents.

“The prize was a really difficult competitive event,” said Kathleen Mead Vandiver…

View original post 855 more words

The Massachusetts Environmental Trust awards Trash Free Malden River grant to the Friends

The Friends of the Malden River (FoMR) received a financial boost with a $9,805 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET/the Trust). This funding and in-kind services ($6,850) from Gentle Giant Rowing Club, PaddleBoston, Preotle, Lane and Associates, the National Park Service, Mystic River Watershed Association, and FoMR volunteers will help create a Trash Free Malden River.  FoMR also received a critical donation from the Clean River Project (Located on the Merrimack River in Methuen) of a trash boom that will help to restrain the trash from flowing from the municipal storm water systems into the Malden River and eventually into the Mystic River.  

Trash Boom donated to the FoMR from the Clean River Project of the Merrimack River in Methuen. Photo by Karen Buck July 11, 2019

According to Trust Program Director, Kim Tilas, the Trust will provide $471,512.00 in grants to 18 organizations, thanks to motorists who choose to purchase one of the Trust’s specialty license plates. “Trust plates, including our signature Whale Plate, are the only specialty plates that exclusively fund environmental initiatives,” said Tilas.”When you purchase a specialty plate for $100.00 from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the $40 specialty plate fee goes directly to the Trust to fund water-focused environmental programs.” 

“Funding from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust will enable us to create a trash free Malden River for the public and for our environment”, says Karen Buck of FoMR.  “Collaboration and educational modalities with the Cities of Malden, Everett, Medford, and Melrose, the Malden riverfront landowners, and the public is essential to reduce the amount of trash that flows into the Malden River. The benefits of trash reduction and retention will be evident and long lasting.” 

This trash flowed through our storm water system from the streets of Malden during the rainfall of July 12, 2019. Accumulation of rainfall was .64 inches – just over 1/2 inch.
Photo by Karen Buck

Supporting the environmental programs funded by the Trust in your community is easy: choose one of three environmental plates, the Right Whale & Roseate Terns, The Leaping Brook Trout, or the Blackstone Valley Mill when you purchase or lease a new car or renew your registration with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  Recently, Governor Baker announced a new plate, commemorating our Striped Bass (who follow the migration of our massively increased herring population up our rivers, thanks to the fish ladders installed on some of our dams).  

These license plates beat any bumper sticker!  Wear your plate proud and offset your automobile’s carbon output at the same time!  

The standard registration fee for a Massachusetts plate is $60.00. The special plate fee is an additional $40.00 (tax deductible every two years) for a total cost of $100. Every time you automatically renew your registration, the $40.00 goes to the Trust. 

Visit your local Registry of Motor Vehicles to order a plate online at or You can also visit us at to learn more about the Trust, the programs it supports, and the specialty license plate offerings.

Cruising and Cleaning the Malden River — Neighborhood View

, By Karen Buck Photos by Anne D’Urso Rose and Kelsey Menon On the eve of the 2018 Autumnal Equinox during the mystical moment of twilight, two launch boats from the Gentle Giants Rowing Club (GGRC), towed 10 canoes from the Blessing of the Bay up the Malden River. Aboard were Pastor Edwin Menon of Highrock […]

via Cruising and Cleaning the Malden River — Neighborhood View

Malden’s second “City Nature Challenge” takes place April 28 — Neighborhood View

Mother Nature is calling. Will you help her out? Do your part for biodiversity by participating in the second City Nature Challenge, a global contest for cities to compete for the highest number of natural observations within their regions. This Sunday, April 28, the Friends of the Malden River and the National Park Service of […]

via Malden’s second “City Nature Challenge” takes place April 28 — Neighborhood View

National Grid’s refusal to the Friends of the Malden River Motion to Participate

The Friends of the Malden River wrote this letter to the editors (ltte) of local papers to bring insight to National Grid’s refusal to have a community advocacy group participate in a motion.  National Grid is appealing  the Massachusett’s DEP’s decision  upholding NGrid’s Chapter 91 public responsibility for their 1100 plus feet of river bank frontage.  This is an important link for the Malden River Greenway and the Mystic River Greenway.

Chapter 91 is a Massachusetts General Law upholding the public’s right of access to tidal water bodies.  This includes all historical tidal properties.  Formerly tidal, the Malden River is subject to the public access rights of the state’s Public Waterfront Act. Many
riverfront properties are not in compliance, including National Grid’s

From the LTTE: “In a decision promulgated by the Department of Environment Protect this fall, National Grid was instructed to fully comply with the requirements of Chapter 91. DEP required that National Grid build and maintain a 10-foot wide half-mile waterfront path along its property situated in Malden and Everett. National Grid was required to submit a plan within one year and complete the building of the path within two years. The DEP decision had been a rebuke to National Grid’s proposal in 2016 to build a 100-foot path and bench on the north side of its Malden/Everett location with the remaining 2,000-plus feet of riverfront blocked off to the public.”

National Grid’s decision to appeal these requirements is being countered by the Conservation Law foundation and legal counsel from the cities of Malden, Medford and Everett. The denial of a seat at the table for Friends, resulting from National Grid’s challenge, demonstrates their lack of corporate and social responsibility. The decision sends a chilling message to those working to better one of our area’s most valuable resources. Those most concerned and affected by the degradation and unmitigated pollution of Malden River are not being allowed to voice the concerns and vision of a restored and improved Malden River.

The Friends of the Malden River are outraged at this decision. We seek only to have quality access for area residents to the banks of the river as required under law. Our community deserves this. We expect better examples of good corporate citizenship than the one recently on display by National Grid. Help us reach our goals by joining the Friends of the Malden River and voice your support by emailing Visit and “like” our Facebook page at Friends of the Malden River.”

This is the Malden Wicked Local site for the letter

 Letter to the editor