Reasons to Support Joppa Flats

Find out how you can help >

Mass Audubon has two sanctuaries in northern Essex County: Joppa Flats Education Center in Newburyport and Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary in Rowley. Together, they offer an educational gateway to the area’s rich natural heritage through the fantastic birds and marine life of the Great Marsh and Plum Island.

Joppa Flats was created in 2003 to respond to the rising popularity of bird watching, and we now operate Mass Audubon’s premier resource for bird education and outreach. At the same time, we engage people of all ages to connect to nature through our dynamic programs that focus on marine life and the surrounding coastal habitats.

Through these programs and our stewardship of Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary, we nurture a dedicated community of naturalists, conservationists, and advocates for protecting our natural heritage.

Birds & So Much More

Every year, Joppa Flats reaches 15,000 adults and children with more than 300 natural history education programs and trips. See all upcoming programs >

  • Seasoned and beginning birders join us throughout the year for weekly birding excursions on Wednesday and Saturday mornings in the greater Newburyport area.
  • We also run seasonal workshops, a wintertime birding competition (Superbowl of Birding), and extra programs at the height of spring and fall migration.
  • Our college-level ornithology course, the Birder's Certificate Program, sells out every year.
  • Our trips to exciting destinations from South Carolina to Alaska, Maine to California, and throughout the world are open to adults who want a global perspective on birds and habitats.
  • Families flock to our parent-and-child pre-school programs, cruises on the Merrimack River, afterschool and homeschool programs, free open houses like Meet Beach Creatures from our marine touch tank, and our summer day camp
  • And, of course, there’s the free Merrimack River Eagle Festival!

School Work

Natural science comes alive for students through field trips and school visits led by Joppa Flats’ excellent education team. We run more than 100 school programs and reach nearly 10,000 school children every year.

Mentoring Educators

Joppa Flats’ educators train dozens of young teens and adults to be environmental leaders and teachers though our Young Naturalists Program, our Intern Program, and teacher-naturalist classes.

Bird Science

Joppa Flats birding leaders engage in environmental education and habitat protection on a global level.

  • Currently in our 20th year of bird banding on the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, we have banded, measured, and released over 47,000 birds of 182 species, some of which travel thousands of miles in migration.
  • We collaborate on Mass Audubon’s State of the Birds reports and participate in many outreach and research projects.

Ways to Help

Make a donation

Every little bit helps Joppa Flats continue its educational mission. Donate Today >

Become a Leadership Friend

Leadership Friends gifts are particularly important to Joppa Flats, giving us the security we need in order to plan and provide the best possible natural history education experience for our many constituents. Please consider joining our:

  • Founder’s Circle with a gift of $2,500+
  • President’s Circle with a gift of $1,500+
  • Guardian with a gift of $1,000+

For more information on Leadership Friends or to join, please contact Joppa Flats Sanctuary Director David Moon.


We are always looking for helping hands for Visitor Services; children, family, and school group education; bird banding; and gardening, landscaping, or facility care. Find a list of current volunteer opportunities or contact us to learn more.