Published on November 7, 2017

New Fund Connects Sanctuary to Worcester Public Schools

Announcing the Dr. Deirdre Loughlin Fund

You can contribute too!

Students exploring BMB in the snow

The new Dr. Deirdre Loughlin Fund will link two of Deirdre’s highest priorities: Broad Meadow Brook, where she has served for many, many years as chair of the advisory board; and Worcester Public Schools, where—as a teacher, and later, as a top administrator—she inspired generations of students to be curious and confident about science.

Deirdre Loughlin’s involvement with Broad Meadow Brook dates back to before the sanctuary’s establishment in 1991, when she served as an early advisor to Mass Audubon when it opened a Worcester office in 1985. Deirdre always had her students’ needs in mind and saw that collaborating with Mass Audubon would open the world of nature to Worcester Public School students. Deirdre herself authored several grant requests that brought funding to the Worcester Public Schools and Mass Audubon to support nature-based education.

Today, thousands of Worcester Public School students visit Broad Meadow Brook annually, engaged in programs that complement STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) curriculum objectives:

  • HeadStart preschoolers come with animal ‘Bingo’ cards, developing observational and record-keeping skills when they search for a bird, a squirrel, a frog and other species.
  • Fourth and fifth graders may come to learn about ‘Adaptations,’ why a duck has a webbed foot while an eagle has talons; why the hummingbird has a long, needle-like beak while the cardinal has a shorter, thicker beak.
  • Sixth and seventh graders test their math skills as they find the biggest tree at the sanctuary and learn the economic and environmental benefits of trees. 
Student reaches top of BMB waterfall

Broad Meadow Brook also collaborates with the Worcester Public Schools on afterschool programs. The most well-established of these initiatives is Let’s GO!, an outdoor exploration program at the nearby Worcester East Middle School. Approximately one-third of the school’s students take advantage of the opportunity to hike, canoe, bike and climb with an experienced youth guide.

Nature education is valuable for many reasons. Classroom subjects literally come alive in the outdoors. And, environmental literacy is an essential skill for civic engagement.

When a student visits Broad Meadow Brook with their school, they return home knowing that the sanctuary offers free admission for all Worcester residents. They can return with their whole family!

As the schools lack the resources to pay for these programs, funds like the Dr. Deirdre Loughlin Fund are essential. For more information, or to contribute to this important fund, please contact Sanctuary Director Deb Cary.