Happy Trails to South Shore Sanctuaries' Sue MacCallum!
Please join us in extending immense gratitude and best wishes to Sue MacCallum, Director of South Shore Sanctuaries for the past 15 years, as she retires this October!
Prior to taking this position, Sue was already 20 years in to her Mass Audubon career in the education department at Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary in Lincoln.
One of Sue’s greatest accomplishments in her time helming South Shore Sanctuaries has been transforming North River Wildlife Sanctuary from an office building to a visitor-friendly destination. Sue’s goal was to increase outreach by welcoming visitors to not just walk the trails, but to also to linger, enjoy our building and grounds, and interact with staff and volunteers.
True to her style, Sue immediately dove into an ambitious project to redesign North River’s front entrance. Stairs were removed in favor of a gradually-sloping, ADA-compliant brick walkway. Parking was expanded; bike racks, picnic furniture, and interpretive sign panels were installed; and the sanctuary gardens were enhanced and supplemented with native perennials. An entrance vestibule was built to help with climate control, and the reception area was redesigned by adding an attractive desk made of reclaimed materials. The gift shop was expanded, and a Bird Observation Room was set up and stocked with binoculars, field guides, and self-guided exhibits and activities for visitors.
Sue spearheaded the construction of a bridge over the Hannah Eames Brook, expanding North River’s trail network by half a mile, and added an outdoor nature play area to the grounds. She also commissioned a new Children’s Discovery Room in the building’s former library. At the other end of Marshfield, Sue oversaw installation of a ponding platform at Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary where countless children and families have examined pond critters, tested water quality, and reported their findings to a worldwide database. In partnership with Mass Audubon’s Land Protection department, Sue increased acreage of South Shore Sanctuaries from 679 to nearly 950 acres of protected land for wildlife during her tenure.
In keeping with Mass Audubon’s commitment to make nature accessible to all, Sue had a portion of Daniel Webster's main trail resurfaced with packed gravel designed for wheelchairs and other mobility devices. She also launched the creation of a quarter-mile Fern Loop Sensory Trail at North River, complete with rope-and-post guides, seating areas, educational panels with tactile elements and braille translations, and a downloadable audio-tour.
Sue will be greatly missed by all who worked alongside her, as well as those who attended her monthly Birding by Van programs and joined her trips to exotic locations like Cuba, Panama, and Namibia. While her accomplishments are impressive, she will also be remembered for her warmth and approachability, her energy and passion, and the incredible efficiency and perseverance with which she handled all tasks large and small.
And the feeling is mutual! As Sue’s tenure comes to a close, her most treasured memories involve all of the wonderful people she has met—volunteers and staff, fellow birders and travelers, donors, and community supporters, all of whom have been so generous and helpful by sharing their thoughts and expertise. She’s learned so much from the South Shore Sanctuaries community and will truly miss these meaningful interactions and casual conversations alike.