Land Conservation Project Will Increase Size of Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary by Half
Michael P. O'Connor
ATTLEBORO, MA—If Mass Audubon can raise $375,000 by June to purchase a property adjacent to its Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary in Attleboro, visitors to the popular nature center and trails network will discover a dramatically larger sanctuary that offers even greater opportunities to connect with nature.
Norma Dorrance, a longtime neighbor of Oak Knoll, desired to have her land become part of the wildlife sanctuary and before she passed away last July, signed a one-year option for Mass Audubon to purchase the 25-acre parcel for conservation.
Not only will the addition increase Oak Knoll’s size from 51 to more than 76 acres and expand its trails capacity, but because the land includes frontage on Park Street at a bus stop, many more persons and families without access to a vehicle will be able to enjoy the sanctuary.
Securing “Norma’s Woods” will also increase protections for forest and endangered species habitat, as well as ensure good water quality and healthy pond habitat, and preserve the current experience for sanctuary visitors at Lake Talaquega—a major focus of outdoor environmental programs at the sanctuary.
And it will extend a north-south corridor of greenspace just west of Park Street (Route 118), advancing an ultimate goal of linking Oak Knoll to its sister Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary, Attleboro Springs.
“We have before us a remarkable chance to not only honor Mrs. Dorrance’s wish that her property become part of Oak Knoll, but also to expand our capacity to engage more visitors on a much larger sanctuary land base,” said Sanctuary Director Lauren Gordon. “But facing a June fundraising deadline, we really need the support now of Mass Audubon members and the greater Attleboro community to turn this important opportunity into a real conservation success.”
More than 20,000 people live within a two-mile radius of the sanctuary, making it one of the most significant settings for Mass Audubon to connect people and the natural world. School programs and summer camp are just some of the educational opportunities offered for the community, serving more than 10,000 youth and adults annually.
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.