Mass Audubon Protects an Additional 110 Acres at Great Neck Wildlife Sanctuary in Wareham
Michael P. O'Connor
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.
Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 160,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.