Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary Adds 25 Acres to North Side of Property
Michael P. O'Connor
ATTLEBORO, MA.—Visitors to Oak Knoll in Attleboro are going to discover a lot more to enjoy at the wildlife sanctuary, thanks to a successful $375,000 campaign to purchase a 25-acre parcel on the popular nature center’s northern boundary.
Supporters were racing to meet a mid-June deadline to secure the funding for what was known as the Dorrance property. Norma Dorrance, a longtime neighbor of Oak Knoll, wished to have her land become part of the wildlife sanctuary; before passing away last July, she had signed a one-year option for Mass Audubon to purchase the mix of woodlands and wetlands.
It is impressive enough that the property—now conserved in perpetuity—increases the wildlife sanctuary’s size by nearly 50 percent, to more than 76 acres. But the multiple elements of the land transfer will exponentially boost Oak Knoll’s potential for nature-based education and visitor engagement, including:
- Expanding its trail system
- Protecting additional endangered species habitat
- Ensuring good water quality and healthy pond habitat at Lake Talaquega–the focus of the sanctuary’s outdoor programs
- Providing public transportation access to the sanctuary at a bus stop on Park St. (Rt. 118)
- Furthering a vision to eventually connect Oak Knoll and its sister wildlife sanctuary Attleboro Springs, located a short distance to the north, along a connected corridor of protected conservation lands.
The acquisition is especially fitting because the newly enlarged sanctuary now includes a small hill dominated by oak trees—almost certainly the geographic landscape feature for which the property is named.
“We are so grateful for the many donors who helped ensure that the Dorrance property will be protected and provide a crucial addition to the sanctuary,” said Lauren Gordon, director of the Oak Knoll and Attleboro Springs wildlife sanctuaries. “And we will forever be grateful for Norma Dorrance, whose generosity and forward-looking conservation ethic has made this land protection possible.”
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.