Celebrate the Grand Opening of Mass Audubon's Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday, September 23, 2012
Michael P. O'Connor
GROTON, MA — On Sunday, September 23, 2012 from 3-5 pm, Mass Audubon will celebrate the grand opening of Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, the permanent protection of nearly 400 hundred acres in Groton. The event will include family-friendly activities; a live animal demonstration from Drumlin Farm’s Audubon Ark; a short natural history talk on what you can see out on the trails; and guided walks of various lengths led by Mass Audubon naturalists on newly upgraded trails. Light refreshments will be served. All activities are free and the public is welcome.
“The Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is the result of an extraordinary gift made to Mass Audubon as part of the land that was developed by David Moulton and Robert Lacombe. The Town of Groton holds a conservation restriction over the entire property and we are grateful for the vision, determination, and collaboration of so many individuals and organizations who came together to make this project possible,” said Mass Audubon President Laura Johnson. “Mass Audubon is thrilled that this spectacular landscape will be open for public enjoyment, and we look forward to sharing the experience of this land with the community and beyond.”
This spectacular land contains vernal pools, forested upland, and freshwater wetlands including an active heron rookery and a beaver pond that provide habitat for several unusual species. The Commonwealth designated the property as among the most important to protect due to the hundreds of plants and animals that depend on the habitat, including the rare Blanding’s turtle.
Mass Audubon worked with the Student Conservation Association, an AmeriCorps trail crew and led a volunteer effort to make sense of the existing trail network and simplify it so the visitor has a high-quality trail experience. A favorite loop trail brings visitors into the sanctuary past the power lines to heron rookery and then toward the exposed rock outcrops where porcupine live. There have been three documented moose sightings on the property since Mass Audubon has taken over the stewardship of Rocky Hill.
“It is wonderful that we are finally able to welcome visitors to Rocky Hill Wildlife Sanctuary,” says Gail Yeo, Mass Audubon’s Central/West Regional Director. “I look forward to working with area residents on stewardship of the land and am so pleased that Mass Audubon is a partner in protecting this beautiful natural landscape for current and future generations to enjoy.”
The celebration will start at 3pm. A guided walk along the trails will begin at approximately 3:45pm; walkers should wear warm clothes and sturdy shoes. All are welcome, and light refreshments will be provided. The grand opening event will be held rain or shine.
The sanctuary entrance is located on Cardinal Lane just off Route 119 and Robin Hill Road in Groton. Parking for the event will be along the road near the tent and trail head. For more information, please visit www.massaudubon.org or contact Allison Kern at 781-259-2127 or [email protected]
Mass Audubon protects more than 38,000 acres of land throughout Massachusetts, saving birds and other wildlife, and making nature accessible to all. As Massachusetts' largest nature conservation nonprofit, we welcome more than a half million visitors a year to our wildlife sanctuaries and 20 nature centers. From inspiring hilltop views to breathtaking coastal landscapes, serene woods, and working farms, we believe in protecting our state's natural treasures for wildlife and for all people's vision shared in 1896 by our founders, two extraordinary Boston women.
Today, Mass Audubon is a nationally recognized environmental education leader, offering thousands of camp, school, and adult programs that get over 225,000 kids and adults outdoors every year. With more than 135,000 members and supporters, we advocate on Beacon Hill and beyond, and conduct conservation research to preserve the natural heritage of our beautiful state for today's and future generations. We welcome you to explore a nearby sanctuary, find inspiration, and get involved. Learn how at www.massaudubon.org.