Boston Nature Center Food Forest Volunteer A ‘Heroes’ Finalist

Release Date:
September 3, 2015

MATTAPAN, MA—A volunteer leader in the food forest project at Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center Wildlife Sanctuary (BNC) has been named one of only three finalists in the Boston-region Cox Conserves Heroes program, organized through WFXT-TV Fox 25.

Daniel Schenk of the Boston Food Forest Coalition (BFFC) led the groundbreaking of the BNC food forest in April 2014, and since then has accomplished an astounding amount of work to organize, design, and create the BNC food forest with more than 200 volunteers.

A food forest is a gardening technique or land management system that mimics a woodland ecosystem with edible trees and fruits, shrubs, and other plants and flowers.

The nationwide Heroes program, created by Fox25 parent company Cox Enterprises and The Trust for Public Land, honors volunteers who work to create, preserve, or enhance the shared outdoor places in our communities.

Dan and the other finalists are profiled on the Cox Conserves Heroes website and in local media, during which the public is asked to vote online for their favorite. The deadline for voting (one vote per individual) is Thursday, September 24.

Visit the Cox Conserves Heroes website Boston page to learn more about Dan and the other finalists and to vote.

A total of $20,000 will be donated to local environmental nonprofits on behalf of the three finalists. Dan has already secured a $5,000 donation for Boston Nature Center and is now competing for an additional $5,000—which would bring the total award for BNC to $10,000. The winner will be announced in October.

The BFFC is a group of volunteer stewards that connects urban youth and adults to space for outdoor recreation and provides opportunities to grow and share food—including establishment of a public food forest network throughout the city of Boston with BNC as the flagship site. 

“Daniel has become an integral member of the Boston Nature Center community and his achievements here are emblematic of the important work the Boston Food Forest Coalition does on behalf of urban residents,” said Anne and Peter Brooke Sanctuary Director Julie Brandlen. “We also commend the Cox Conserves Heroes program for understanding how healthy neighborhood environments and community-based sustainability initiatives are key to our collective quality of life.”


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