Published on August 13, 2021

Retiring Development Manager Contemplates Next Chapter

Mass Audubon Cape Cod developement manager Sheila Hoogeboom

When she retires in September, Wellfleet Bay Development Manager Sheila Hoogeboom's not entirely sure what she'll do with her new free time. But she does know she'll be back in Wellfleet for the upcoming sea turtle season. "I'm going to be a sea turtle volunteer—we usually do the night walks!”

Sheila and her husband Karst have deep roots here. Karst, who’s also retiring, has served as the Cape Cod National Seashore's director of operations and facilities and spent childhood summers in Eastham. Both love what Sheila calls "the wildness" and open spaces of the Outer Cape.

"Where else can you see the full moon rise and the setting sun while standing in one spot?"

Appreciating the Sanctuary's Reach

Sheila says she also loves swimming in Wellfleet's ponds, biking and hiking. "And I love meeting people," she adds.

In the past five years that she's worked here, Sheila's met and greeted people from all over the world at Wellfleet Bay. She says she's seen how far the sanctuary's influence has traveled, from the people who never miss annual visits here, to those who sent kids to day camp or who went to camp, to college grads who launched science or educational careers here.

"As you meet all these people, you can see the stretch of Wellfleet Bay and Mass Audubon into the community," she says, "Far beyond what we can measure."

As for the future? Sheila says she's been inspired by the work of the sanctuary's energetic and accomplished volunteers and hopes to find a similar opportunity. "It's like the old saying: 'It's never too late to become what you might have been!'"

Lasting Impact

Since 2016, Sheila Hoogeboom has worked closely with Mass Audubon Cape Cod's Leadership Friends and Wellfleet Bay's science and education staff on foundational funding for conservation science and local school programs.

As Regional Development Director Wendy O'Keefe puts it, "Sheila has proven herself to be one of the sanctuary's biggest champions and a team player through-and-through."

Wendy adds, "She is skilled at promotion, relationship building, making connections, confidence boosting, and at delivering kindness to all those around her."