Published on February 6, 2017

South Coast Sanctuaries Year In Review

Buzzards Bay from Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary

As members of the extended Allens Pond family, you know what a beautiful place the sanctuary is—from the view of the pond over the fields to the tranquility of one of our wooded streams to the stately Stone Barn with its gorgeously restored interior.

We consider it a modern miracle that we have public access to nearly a thousand acres of stunning open space along the coast of New England offering a fascinating assemblage of habitats and dense with rare species. Mass Audubon is privileged to be the stewards of this property as well as similar jewels in Westport, Fairhaven and Wareham. Allens Pond and the surrounding landscape shine with nature’s richness and beauty and Mass Audubon continues to maintain a strong legacy of protecting, managing, and making land accessible for all in perpetuity. Not only do you have the opportunity to experience what it offers, we hope you will share this miracle with others.

We’d like to express gratitude to supporters of our work like you and the collaboration of several other conservation groups that advance our common goal. We invite you to find your favorite moment from among a few of our accomplishments listed below.

You are part of this success! When you explore our trails, enjoy your lunch at a brownbag presentation, volunteer to clear a wall, practice at a yoga session, sponsor an osprey platform, or attend a fundraising event, you are helping us approach our vision of being recognized as the place for people to embrace their passion for the South Coast and share environmental experiences.

Please consider supporting our work. Let’s make sure we are able to not only continue the work of today but also optimize the possibilities of tomorrow.

With warm thanks,
Gina Purtell, Sanctuary Director


2016 Snapshots at Allens Pond & Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuaries

Connecting People With Nature

  • AP staff at Great Neck
    In a single morning at the end of April, a mighty six volunteers removed 12 wheelbarrow’s worth of weeds from the gardens at Stone Barn Farm and 6 trailer loads of invasive plants from trailheads and stone walls.
  • A growing crew of Osprey Project assistants skillfully readied our skiffs, repaired nest platforms, and helped count and band young of the year: 174 young expected to venture from our waters.
  • Junior Bird Club members counted barn swallow nests, hiked the beach loop looking for piping plovers, and walked the Allens Neck trails listening for owls at dusk.
  • Participants of our free Monarch tagging programs tagged a whopping 126 Monarch butterflies at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary this year. Several participants brought home Monarch caterpillars to raise them at home, then release the adult butterflies.
  • Education and service learning programs through the Onset Boys and Girls Club, Minot Elementary, Friends Academy, Westport Elementary, and more hit the trails, observed nesting osprey, listened for frogs, removed invasive plants, and built toad houses and bird nesting boxes.

Conservation Practices

  • banded piping plover barneys joy beach
    A second pair of American Oystercatchers established a nesting territory at Allens Pond; 75 pairs of Least Terns produced several dozen fledglings, and 18 pairs of Piping Plovers produced 35 fledglings which ranks us among the top producers of beach nesting birds for the state.
  • While counting osprey pairs, eggs, chicks, and fledglings, the Osprey Team banded 156 juveniles, released one bird rehabilitated in Barnstable, and rescued a youngster that fledged too soon. A wayward, wet and weary Least Tern youngster was also rescued from the marsh.
  • Bobolink, a melodious grassland nester, expanded their population at the sanctuary by half, in testimony to our field management. Staff counted 60 individuals in our grassland by the end of breeding season.
  • New England Blazing Star bloomed in abundance on our beach loop, benefiting from invasive plant removal.

Cultivating Future Conservationists

  • Naturalist with kids at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary
    Two exceptional UMass Dartmouth students, Ashley and Baldwin, collaborated in bringing together science, art and advocacy for a Boys and Girls Club “Save Our Salt Marsh” display and parade float for Jane Goodall’s April visit to Dartmouth.
  • Voc Tech Coop student, Zack, leveled a lopsided boardwalk, repaired Osprey platforms, and installed multiple signs and symbolic fence posts to protect nesting piping plovers.
  • Dartmouth High School intern, Ally, spearheaded bluebird box monitoring for the season and is now a freshman studying wildlife at University of Rhode Island.
  • Summer College Interns Holly, Megan, and Emma from UMass Amherst, SUNY-ESF, and Skidmore, pursued interests in identifying insects, plants, and bird songs and seamlessly folded themselves into the Osprey and Coastal Waterbird monitoring projects.

On the Horizon

  • Emily, our new AmeriCorps/MassLIFT team-mate, will be forming a volunteer trail team to help us extend and maintain our walking paths.
  • This spring we’ll introduce our first two Adult Field School programs for 2017 that will allow participants to take deep dives into the herpetology of vernal pools and the world of osprey. Contact us for more details on these weekend programs in May and June.
  • Those with mobility challenges will soon find a universally-accessible nature trail at Allens Pond Stone Barn Farm. Stay tuned.