Mass Audubon’s Accessibility Outreach Project Wins State Award
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA—Mass Audubon will be recognized for its accessible trails expertise by the office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew A. Beaton on Monday, May 2, at the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
The respected conservation organization will receive a Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education for its All Persons Trails Guidelines Project. The project, which has emerged from Mass Audubon’s commitment to developing trails at its wildlife sanctuaries for visitors with a full range of functional abilities, will provide guidance and support materials for like-minded organizations nationwide.
A guidelines manual, providing best practices for other organizations and agencies interested in developing similar trails, will be available online at no cost. A chief goal is for a much broader audience of individuals, families, and groups to be able to independently enjoy experiences along these interpreted, accessible trails opening all over the country.
Mass Audubon will be opening its 12th All Persons Trail this year at Habitat Education Center in Belmont. Trails at Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary in Princeton and at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Westport and Dartmouth are underway or in the planning stages. This organization-wide initiative has been overseen by Statewide Education Projects Manager Lucy Gertz and Stu Weinreb, Director of Capital Assets and Planning.
“As an organization committed to encouraging all people to connect with nature, we are particularly honored to receive the Secretary’s Award,” Mass Audubon President Gary Clayton said.
“Our All Persons Trails initiative introduced at our wildlife sanctuaries has not only been a tremendous success statewide, it has become a national model, encouraging other groups and agencies across the country to engage their own communities as broadly as possible,” Clayton added. “We congratulate the other winners, and thank Secretary Beaton for providing this important platform to promote energy and environmental education.”
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.