An image of a prehistoric-looking snapping turtle as it climbs over a small log is the Grand Prize Winner in Mass Audubon’s 2020 Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The popular contest annually draws thousands of submissions from hundreds of photographers from across the state and beyond.
On Monday, December 21, leaders from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia officially signed on to the Transportation Climate Initiative Program (TCI-P). This bold agreement, which is the first of its kind in the nation, will significantly reduce regional carbon emissions, improving air quality and reducing pollution.
“Mass Audubon applauds Governor Baker and his staff for their leadership on TCI-P. This program is urgently needed to address the largest sector of greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region – the transportation sector,” states David J. O’Neill, President of Mass Audubon. “In the implementation of the TCI, we also will advocate vigorously for increasing funds to mitigate air pollution and provide more affordable and just transportation options for communities who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”
Furthering its commitment to connect people of all ages and backgrounds to nature, Mass Audubon is now participating in the Wonderfund Access Card program, which serves thousands of children engaged with Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) foster care.
Through the Wonderfund card program, DCF foster families can now enjoy free access (for up to four individuals per visit) to Mass Audubon’s network of wildlife sanctuaries, which stretches from Cape Cod and the Islands to the Berkshires.
A pair of Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, Allens Pond in Dartmouth and Great Neck in Wareham, have been awarded $150,000 through an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program to promote resilient ecosystems of clean water, healthy diverse habitats, and sustainable communities in Southeast New England.
Mass Audubon is committed to the preservation of the Bear Hole landscape in West Springfield and Holyoke, to permanently protect the 1,500-acre open space and ensure it is open to the public in perpetuity. The statewide conservation organization is facing an end-of year deadline to reach its $450,000 fundraising goal, with $342,000 raised so far.
Mass Audubon’s Berkshire wildlife sanctuaries will partner with a pair of community health centers to help share with their patients the healthful benefits of nature and the outdoors. The wildlife sanctuaries will work with East Mountain Medical and MACONY Pediatrics, both located in Great Barrington, to support physical and mental health through connection with the natural world and guided activities that promote well-being, stress reduction, exercise, and a sense of community.
Mass Audubon invites one and all to head outdoors during Hike-a-thon, taking place statewide Friday, November 27 through Sunday, the 29th.
Hike-a-thon’s goal is to encourage as many people as possible to get outside the weekend after Thanksgiving and discover for themselves how time spent in the natural world benefits both physical and mental health.
Mass Audubon’s Museum of American Bird Art in Canton has been awarded a $48,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to engage young learners in a multisensory, hands-on art and design project, "The Nest", that cultivates a stronger bond to natural systems and enhances understanding of essential STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) concepts.
Mass Audubon is inviting one and all to celebrate Fall Fest, a week-long Halloween party full of seasonal and spooky-themed activities beginning Saturday, October 24 and running right up to the Big Night itself, Saturday, October 31.
The statewide conservation nonprofit want to help make autumn even more awesome for all ages, with lots of online and in-person opportunities to connect with nature and build community.
Mass Audubon is expanding to year-round an offer of free admission to its wildlife sanctuaries for active-duty members of the military and their families.
Mass Audubon’s annual photo contest, Picture This: Your Great Outdoors, is into its final month, with the popular competition running through Wednesday, September 30.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary's Opening Doors to Nature capital campaign will support the expansion of its Program Barn with a focus on accessibility, updated facilities, and related amenities. The campaign is now within $220,000 of its $1.12 million goal and with construction scheduled to begin next week, Pleasant Valley staff and sanctuary friends are urging people to contributing now.
The Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in Barnstable held a celebratory groundbreaking yesterday that officially signaled construction was under way for the sanctuary’s Discovery Center Campus Project.
The centerpiece is a free-standing Discovery Center building that will include an array of updated and accessible learning features, including flexible classroom/laboratory space, a reception and exhibit area for interaction between program participants and staff, and floor-to-ceiling windows that will offer inspiring views of Barnstable Harbor, Sandy Neck, and Cape Cod Bay.
Mass Audubon has recently acquired two distinct land parcels comprising more than 30 acres on Cuttyhunk Island, the smallest and southwesternmost of the Elizabeth Islands, which stretch between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.
The two successful land conservation projects, which include a mile and a quarter of shoreline and one of the island’s finest panoramic views, bring the total amount of land protected by Mass Audubon on Cuttyhunk to nearly 60 acres.
For the seventh consecutive year, Mass Audubon has earned a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest and most consulted evaluator of charities.
In again recognizing with its highest rating Mass Audubon’s consistent financial health and commitment to accountability, Charity Navigator has placed the state’s largest nature conservation organization within the top 10 percent of the thousands of charities the organization assesses.
With many fresh-air camp experiences for children still limited and uncertain, Mass Audubon is bringing a little bit of the outdoors inside and online, through a unique, engaging, and fun series of week-long nature-education experiences. Mass Audubon Virtual Camps, designed for Kindergarten-Grade 2 and Grades 3-5 age groups, begin July 20 and run through late August.
Mass Audubon is seeking to raise $442,000 by January in order to purchase the remaining 67 hilltop acres at Patten Hill in Shelburne, after having acquired 167 acres of the farm property in 2016.
Patten Hill is located just east of Mass Audubon’s 792-acre High Ledges Wildlife Sanctuary and if the 67 acres are secured, an unfragmented expanse of protected public, private, and municipal land will be created totaling more than 1500 acres.
Mass Audubon is working against an October deadline to raise $442,000 in order to purchase the remaining 67 hilltop acres at Patten Hill in Shelburne, after having acquired 167 acres of the farm property in 2016. If not protected for conservation, this property could be sold and developed.
Boston Parents Paper’s has selected Mass Audubon a 2020 “Family Favorite” for multiple categories in the respected parenting magazine’s annual Reader's Choice awards.
The state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit was named No. 1 in the Animals and Nature Summer Camps category; placed within the Top 5 in both the Family Summer Camps and Farms categories; and was a Top 10 finisher among School Vacation Camps.
Mass Audubon’s annual statewide photography contest, Picture This: Your Great Outdoors, is now under way
The friendly photo competition has become a tradition as it enters its second decade, drawing shutterbugs of all ages, backgrounds, and levels of experience to share the natural beauty of the Bay State through their photography.
Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program (CWP), which has monitored and supported vulnerable shorebird species including Piping Plovers for 35 years, has announced that the 2019 season was its best in a decade.
The Mass Audubon program, which works with local, state, and federal wildlife partners, protected 226 pairs—30% of the Commonwealth’s population of Piping Plovers and roughly 12.5% of the Atlantic Coast population estimated at 1,800 pairs.
In order to respond to dramatic revenue losses related to the global pandemic, Mass Audubon has made difficult decisions to weather the crisis and emerge stronger so that it can continue critical conservation work. These decisions include layoffs, furloughs, reduced hours, and hiring freezes.
Mass Audubon applauds the U.S. Senate’s bi-partisan support for the Great American Outdoors Act, which will fully fund the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, and urges the House of Representatives and President Trump to quickly make it law.
“The Great American Outdoors Act is one of the most important pieces of natural resource legislation in a generation,” Mass Audubon President David O’Neill noted, “and passage will serve as an historical milestone in guaranteeing the nation’s environmental security during a time of great uncertainty and challenge."
Mass Audubon has reopened trails at nearly all its wildlife sanctuaries statewide after careful analysis and consultation with local officials and community leaders, and in accordance with health and government guidelines on easing restrictions due to COVID-19.
Nature centers, restrooms, and other facilities maintained by the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit remain closed, but Mass Audubon is happy to again welcome members and other visitors to explore 200 miles of trails at more than 50 sanctuaries, from the Cape and Islands to the Berkshires.
Mass Audubon is inviting active duty members of the military and their families to enjoy its statewide network of wildlife sanctuaries free of charge through Labor Day, September 7.
With Mass Audubon re-opening trails at nearly all its wildlife sanctuaries from the Berkshires to the Cape and Islands, we welcome our country’s service men and women (including National Guard and Reserve) to explore nature and observe wildlife.
Mass Audubon’s Coastal Waterbird Program (CWP), which has monitored and supported vulnerable shorebird species including piping plovers for 35 years, has announced that the 2019 season was its best in a decade.
The Mass Audubon program, which works with local, state, and federal wildlife partners, protected 226 pairs—30% of the Commonwealth’s population of piping plovers and roughly 12.5% of the Atlantic Coast population estimated at 1,800 pairs.
Mass Audubon’s Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox has been awarded a $200,000 Cultural Facilities Fund grant by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) that will provide crucial support for the popular wildlife sanctuary’s capital campaign.The $1.125 million Opening Doors to Nature campaign will help ensure Pleasant Valley’s aging facilities are brought up to date, with a focus on accessibility and related amenities.
Mass Audubon has re-opened trails on many of its wildlife sanctuaries across the Commonwealth, from the Cape and Islands to Worcester County, the Connecticut River Valley, and the Berkshires.
Its nature centers and other buildings remain closed at present, but after careful analysis and discussions with local officials and community leaders, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit is welcoming its members and other visitors to miles of trails on two dozen wildlife sanctuaries.
Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, through its Drumlin Farm Food Donation Project, is partnering with Food For Free of Cambridge to provide fresh vegetables and eggs to Cambridge families in need.
Each week, the popular Lincoln wildlife sanctuary and working farm delivers some of its sustainably grown bounty to Cambridge, where Food For Free distributes it to those facing food insecurity, a crisis made more dire because of the coronavirus.
Mass Audubon’s Bird-a-thon, which typically sends teams of birders rambling throughout the Commonwealth in a friendly competition to identify the most species in 24-hour period, is staying at home this year, to respect social distancing. Participants in the statewide event, taking place Friday-Saturday, May 15-16, will spend time observing and identifying species from selected observation spots—a window, backyard, or a green space within short walking or biking distance from their homes.
Mass Audubon, like every public and private institution in Massachusetts and across the country, is confronting enormous challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since mid-March, our offices and wildlife sanctuaries have been closed and all programs cancelled for the safety of staff and visitors. These actions, while necessary, have led to a substantial loss of income.
Despite implementing many cost-saving initiatives, we have come to the distressing realization that further measures must be taken including furloughing a number of employees and reducing the salaries of remaining staff based on salary levels.
Mass Audubon has named David O’Neill the 11th President of the state’s largest nature conservation organization.
O’Neill has dedicated his professional career to conservation. For the last five years, he has served as the Chief Conservation Officer and Senior Advisor to the CEO of National Audubon Society (NAS). While there, his powerful vision, collaborative nature, and ability to raise critical funds elevated the entire organization.
Manomet, the respected environmental organization that is marking 50 years as a leader in avian research and conservation, has been awarded Mass Audubon’s Hemenway + Hall Wildlife Conservation Award for 2020. The Award is named for Mass Audubon founders Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall, who in 1896 organized what would become a successful national campaign to stop the slaughter of birds for their feathers.
Carroll School and Mass Audubon, longtime neighbors in south Lincoln, have re-affirmed that sense of community with a generous donation by the School of 85 acres to the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit.These 85 acres are part of an acquisition of 103 acres made possible by a generous donation to Carroll School.
The property is located adjacent to Mass Audubon’s Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary.
The second annual Alternative Spring Break for Aspiring Environmental Leaders program will take place on Nantucket from Monday, March 16 to Saturday, March 21. As Massachusetts continues to grow more diverse it is vital that Mass Audubon, Massachusetts’ largest nature conservation non-profit, create opportunities for communities to connect students with local landscapes while mindfully providing opportunities to historically underrepresented low-income communities and people of color.
The state continues to conserve land at an encouraging rate, but development is also increasing in a time of climate crisis when every acre lost is worrisome, according to Mass Audubon’s Losing Ground: Nature’s Value in a Changing Climate. The study is the sixth in a series by the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit, documenting changes in land use across the Commonwealth over four decades.
Rebecca Goodlett of Fitchburg’s South Street Elementary School and Erin Sarpard, formerly of New Covenant School in Arlington, have been named recipients of Mass Audubon’s Conservation Teacher of the Year Award for 2019, sponsored by the New England Farm and Garden Association.
Mass Audubon, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit, has named Sam Kefferstan to oversee its wildlife sanctuaries on Nantucket. Mass Audubon’s most notable wildlife sanctuary there is Sesachacha Heathlands, an 875-acres expanse of rare heathland and sandplain grasslands on the eastern side of the island.