Blue Institute - Creating the “Next-Gen” Clean Water & Climate Change Leadership

Winners of the 2019 World Oceans Day Writing Contest "Words on Water"

Poetry (Student)

First Place: 

 "Protecting Our Oceans"

by Lizzie Sprout

Monomoy Regional High School

Second Place: 


by Alexa Schneeberger

Monomoy Regional High School


First Place:

"Ode to Lifeguarding"

by Rick Wilson

Second Place:


(from a 4-part poem entitled "Elements")

by Clyde Watson


First Place:

"Long Beach Walks"

by June Calender

Second Place:

"Where There's Seals"

by Gina Faldetta


First Prize:

"From the Well"

by Candace Perry

Second Prize:

"The Water Spirits' Colloquy"

by Lee Roscoe

Meet the Judges

Poetry (Students)


 Madhavi Venkatesan, PhD

Madhavi Venkatesan is the executive director of Sustainable Practices and IRS designated 501(c) 3 nonprofit located in Brewster.

Madhavi earned a PhD, MA, and BA in Economics from Vanderbilt University, a Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Management from Harvard University, and a Masters In Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. 

A recipient of a Fulbright Distinguished Lectureship (Philippines), she has contributed to numerous books and journal articles on the subject of sustainability and economics. Her present academic interests include the integration of sustainability into the economics curriculum. Madhavi is presently a faculty member in the Economics Department at a Northeastern University in Boston.

To learn more about Madhavi and Sustainable Practices, visit



 Donna Tavano 

Donna Tavano attended Northfield School for Girls and Bennington College. She is a long-time columnist for the Cape Cod Chronicle and is working on a number of childrens’ books. 

Donna and her husband, Frank, raised five sons and enjoy nine grandchildren. Recently retired from over 20 years with the Harwich Police Department, she now has time to indulge her passions of writing and art. Donna is also a multimedia artist who exhibits with the Guild of Harwich Artists and operates a summertime shop, Eclectsia, out of her family home on Cape Cod in Harwich Port, Massachusetts.

She singularly enjoys unearthing treasures of mind, spirit and object when meandering on a road less taken.

Donna often travels to the Bay Area 

 and is pictured above with 

a recent painting:  Acrylic  36x48 

“Good Morning 24th Street~San Francisco”  

- Donna Idman Tavano 




Gilbert Newton is a Cape Cod native who has been teaching environmental and marine science at Sandwich High School and the Cape Cod Community College for many years. His classes included coastal ecology, botany, coastal zone management, and environmental technology. In 2013 he became the first Director of the Sandwich STEM Academy. 

Mr. Newton completed his graduate work in biology at Florida State University. He has also taught classes for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the Falmouth Academy, Bridgewater State University and the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Gil was also the Program Director for the Advanced Studies and Leadership Program at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy for 14 years. 

Gil is one of the founders of the Barnstable Land Trust and is the past president of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. He is the author of several books about the Cape's shoreline including the recent :

Marine Habitats of Cape Cod and Mysteries of Seaweed: Questions and Answers.



Tyrone Benskin

 Tyrone Benskin has been a significant presence in theatre, film, television and music for over 30 years. As part of the Canadian and International cultural landscape Tyrone has over 100 film, TV and Stage credits.  His voice is also recognizable in commercials, animation and video games.  Mr. Benskin rounds out his creative skills as a musician, singer and published songwriter/ composer, writer and director.

For five years Mr. Benskin served as Artistic Director of Black Theatre Workshop, Canada's oldest Black theatre company. He has also served as President of the Board of Creations Etc, a youth arts and outreach organization, and on the boards of numerous other non-profits. Mr. Benskin was twice elected to the post of National Vice President of ACTRA, Canada's national film and television actors union.

On May 2nd, 2011 Mr. Benskin was elected to the 41st Parliament of Canada as the Member for the diverse riding of Jeanne-Le Ber.  Mr. Benskin was subsequently appointed to the post of "Official Opposition Critic for Canadian Heritage" by the Honourable Jack Layton. Mr. Benskin also served as Deputy Critic for Official Languages and served on the Sub-Committee for International Human Rights. 

Mr. Benskin served as a Member of  Parliament in Canada's House of Commons for four and a half years, returning to the big screen in 2016 in Bad Santa 2 and the small screen as recurring character Rev. Wardell Cobb in season 2 of The Art of More opposite Denis Quaid. 


About Us



 The Blue Institute is a Registered Nonprofit 501(C)(3) located on Cape Cod in the Harwich Cultural Center, and a second location sharing oceanfront space with the Blue Incubator, PBC in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Designed to be an "open access" hub for excellence in water education and research, the Blue Institute is a strategic consortium of dedicated “Triple Helix” partners on a mission to create solutions for clean water and climate change issues, and to educate the “NextGen” or next generation of water-thought leaders through hands-on training in the unique fresh and saltwater ecosystem at and surrounding Cape Cod Bay.

What Drives Us

Clean Water Access


830 million people around the world do not have access to safe drinking water. 2.3 billion do not have access to sanitary facilities.  For every $1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of at least $4 is returned in increased productivity. (Sanitation returns $5.50 from $1 and water returns $2 from $1). (WHO 2012)

Scarcity & Climate Change



With the existing climate change scenario, by 2030, water scarcity in some arid and semi-arid places will displace between 24 million and 700 million people. (UNCCD).   Increased pressure on water security as well as the opening of Arctic channels are areas of great concern.

Ecosystems & Human Impact


Locally, our coasts are our economy.  Innovative technology designs are needed to strengthen existing decentralized wastewater systems or the implementation of centralized sewering. 

Globally, 80% of wastewater flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused (UNESCO, 2017). 

Urbanization & Coastal Areas


 39% of the global population (2.9 billion people) use a safely managed sanitation service. Most of these people (3 out of 5) live in urban areas. (WHO/UNICEF, 2017).  It is estimated by 2050 85% of the global population will live in coastal areas.

Demand & Management



Global water demand (in terms of water withdrawals) is projected to increase by 55% by 2050, mainly because of growing demands from manufacturing (400% increase).  The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials. (UNESCO, 2017). 

Our Oceans & MicroPlastics


71% of the earth's surface is water, and only 5% of that is drinkable, the rest is salt-water. Microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life. Plastic is the most prevalent type of marine debris found in our ocean and Great Lakes. 

Our Offerings




Our unique water-centric undergraduate “semester away” program will be comprised of hands on experiential learning drawing from cross-disciplinary fields integrating science, art, policy, engineering, humanities, economics, and technology to introduce students to the burgeoning opportunities for the “blue economy" & to create a generation of “water knowledge ambassadors" to better serve the World. Introductory level, advanced undergraduate and graduate courses available.




Research residencies will be open to scientists, graduate students and advanced undergraduates completing capstone projects. Access to BlueTech and water security innovation incubator, fresh and salt water testing sites, and marine environments. The Institute supports sustainable water research bringing together private and public sector projects and scientists in a unique academic and environmental ecosystem fostering collaborative exchanges.



K-12 special curriculum events for kids, and educational support for teachers through hands-on research focused workshops. Cross-generational collaborations through classroom and onsite experiential learning incorporating schools, community, and senior citizen area programs. 

Testing - Both water quality and aquaculture pathology testing labs will support municipal and commercial customer’s water testing needs as well as the regional aqua farming community. 

Our Story


The next generation

At the end of the day - it's all about their future.  


Social Impact

We aim to help educate young people to be the next generation of water thought leaders for their communities and the wider world. That could be as simple (and important) as serving on a local water resource committee, or exploring the burgeoning opportunities and career pathways in the water and blue tech infrastructure and innovation sectors.


Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Participating in the 2017 CleanTechOpen Accelorator convinced us to pull the innovation pillar out of the non-profit business model, and set up a separate legal entity called the Blue Incubator - a Public Benefit Corporation committing 10% of its profits towards scholarships & fellowships at the Blue Institute. Our sister institution, creating regional and global economic development, supports innovation and entrepreneurship in clean water, aquaculture, and marine technology. The Blue Incubator is the first oceanfront "Blue Tech" incubator on the eastern seaboard!

What You Can Do!

Get Involved

 Are you passionate about what we're doing? Are you ready to dig in? Let us know! We are always looking for volunteers to help us make our vision a reality. We'll help you find a way to volunteer that best suits you. We're excited to have you join the team! 

Summer 2019 Cape Cod & Plymouth


Join us next summer on Cape Cod to learn more about the water all around us  & in Plymouth to explore STEM related BlueTech and underwater robots. Email us for info:

Thank You


Whether you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time with us, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth, thank you. We couldn't accomplish our goals without the help of supporters like you.  

Donate Here - Thank you 


Office Hours by Appointment Only

Cape Cod Office

Blue Institute at Cape Cod Bay

Harwich Cultural Center, Suite #205 

Harwich Cultural Center on Facebook 

Contact us

Mailing Address:

Blue Institute at Cape Cod Bay

PO Box 333

Harwich Port, MA


+1 508.939.3435

Plymouth Office

Blue Institute at Cape Cod Bay

at the Blue Incubator, PBC 

N41 58’ 47”   W70 41’ 01”