Published on October 17, 2022

Expanding the Invitation to Enjoy Nature

Cape Abilities and Pat the Patriot

When a group from Cape Abilities, a local organization that supports people with disabilities, recently asked if they could come to Long Pasture to meet-up with the official mascot of the New England Patriots, our visitor services team immediately replied, “Absolutely!”

How often do you get to see Pat Patriot tossing a football on your lawn?

Long Pasture has served as a resource for many local groups, such as garden clubs, newcomers groups, and professional organizations.  Office manager Ellen Taylor says making the property and the staff available to even more community groups is part of Mass Audubon’s goal to provide inclusive and equitable access to nature.

Helping to Meet Special Needs

A year ago, a group from Community Connections visited both Long Pasture and its sister sanctuary Wellfleet Bay for nature walks, part of a program to help build social skills. Mass Audubon’s Cape region has also offered free sensory-friendly hours for people with autism or other sensory sensitivities to visit the sanctuaries during quieter times of the day.

Recent physical improvements have increased sanctuary accessibility. Wellfleet Bay’s All Person’s Trail was resurfaced in spring to ensure smoother travel. Long Pasture plans to install a universal access trail and picnic area that will allow more people to enjoy the beauty and wildlife of Night Heron Pond and the Barnstable Harbor overlook.

Jim Sweeney with Community Connections Explorers_resized

Sanctuary director Ian Ives says the goal is to allow a wider audience to visit and enjoy Long Pasture. “We saw during the pandemic how vital it was to have access to nature and the outdoors and it’s important that everyone has it.”

A Chance to Connect with Wildlife

Ellen says Cape Abilities also visited Long Pasture regularly to volunteer for outdoor chores, such as filling the sanctuary’s bird feeders. She says while it was clear the groups loved being out in the fresh air, she was also struck by their commitment to making sure every feeder was topped off and that the birds got enough to eat. “Their concern for wildlife and their compassion was really wonderful,” she says. “They even came on freezing cold days to make sure the birds had enough food!”

To learn about group opportunities available at Long Pasture, email the sanctuary or call 508-362-7475.