Mass Audubon Protects an Additional 110 Acres at Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Wareham

Release Date:
August 26, 2019

LINCOLN, MA.—Mass Audubon has completed the purchase of the 110-acre Sacred Hearts property in Wareham, six months after raising $2.6 million in a mere 27 days from generous donors. This acquisition will ensure that the spectacular coastscape along Buzzards Bay will be permanently protected from private development.

The property formally becomes part of Mass Audubon’s Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, which now includes more than 200 acres of saltmarsh and uplands, including a mile of coastline, in one of the most beautiful and ecologically vibrant areas of the South Coast. The wildlife sanctuary, which hosts a variety of species, including egrets, ospreys, and Eastern box turtles, abuts an additional 130 acres protected privately through conservation restrictions.

By conserving this land, Mass Audubon helps ensure the wildlife sanctuary’s salt marshes can adapt to rising sea levels, while also serving as buffers against higher tides and stronger, more frequent coastal storms.

In February, conservation-minded neighbors of Great Neck and nearly a hundred additional donors stepped up and made possible the purchase of this land, which had been owned by the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts since 1943.

Mass Audubon, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit, will now begin to prepare the newly acquired land for visitation and interpretation, including the restoration of upland habitats as well as an expanded walking trail network. Great Neck sanctuary staff expect to welcome members and the general public to enjoy this new property in Wareham in 2020.

“Adding this beautiful property to our existing Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary enhances its already extraordinary scenic landscape and wildlife value,” Mass Audubon President Gary Clayton said. “In the face of climate change, this addition improves the resilience of the Buzzards Bay shoreline while offering visitors more opportunities to explore this natural area. 

 “My heartfelt thanks again to all the generous donors who made this possible and have ensured this land is forever protected,” Clayton added.

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Mass Audubon protects 36,500 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—a 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 125,000 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 massaudubon.org.