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If you ask Jack Reynolds, past president of the Westport Fishermen’s Association, about the organization’s legacy, he’ll tell you that there are still too many fish left to save and too much pollution to stop to save the Westport River. The WFA’s most important role, he contends, was to “shine a light” on the river’s pressing water quality issues.

But a quick list of the WFA’s 35-year history of action to protect the Westport River clearly shows what the organization accomplished: Creating a bacteria monitoring program that allowed the river’s closed shellfish beds to reopen. Stopping the largest-ever source of pollution to the river. Pushing for lasting state policy amendments that halted the threat of development near the river’s shoreline. Saving Buzzards Bay’s last remaining historic Life-Saving Station. And most recently, bringing to light the devastating disintegration of the river’s precious salt marsh islands.

A young girl beachcombing on Swifts Neck Beach in Wareham

Beachcombing is a fun activity for kids of all ages throughout the year.

Every day, waves, wind, and the ceaseless cycle of the tides touch more than 200 miles of shoreline around Buzzards Bay. As the water comes and goes, it leaves behind an incredible variety of objects from the sea. For beachcombers, the Bay’s combination of exposed shores and protected coves offer a banquet to explore.

The best time to comb the beach is usually after a stormy or windy day, when large waves lift heavier items and wash up objects from deeper waters. You’ll find some of the best treasures in the “wrack line”: the thick ribbon of seaweed, shells, and debris that forms on beaches at the high tide line.

Although beachcombing is a four-season activity, winter can actually be the best time to take a beach walk: winter storms often bring some of the best finds ashore, and fewer crowds mean you have a better chance of finding a treasure.

Here are 14 of the most common shells and objects you might find when you go beachcombing – and a list of Buzzards Bay beaches to get you started on your adventure.