Long Pasture Hosts Groundbreaking for Discovery Center
Michael P. O'Connor
BARNSTABLE, MA.—For years, staff at Mass Audubon’s Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary has conducted nature programs in the tight quarters of the former private home overlooking Barnstable Harbor that not only includes the Visitors Center but also offices and other administrative functions.
Yesterday, their dream of more space and greater capacity in which to provide nature-based education—a cornerstone of Mass Audubon’s mission— came much closer to reality, with a celebratory groundbreaking that officially signaled construction was under way for the Sanctuary’s Discovery Center Project.
The centerpiece is a free-standing Discovery Center building, situated at the terminus of an all-persons stone walkway, across from the existing Visitors Center. It 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.
The project also features dedicated space for early childhood education and a nature preschool as well as exterior breakout spaces amongst the landscaped campus. In further addressing the needs of the community, the new campus will be fully ADA accessible, to help ensure that visitors of all abilities and backgrounds can forge their own connections with nature.
In keeping with COVID-19 guidance, yesterday’s event was limited to a dozen guests, representing sanctuary friends and other donors, the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, and the Town of Barnstable.
A “live virtual event” took place under a tent, so that those not in attendance could participate on their computers and other smart devices. Speakers included Long Pasture Director Ian Ives and Lisa Oliver, President and CEO of the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, a $25,000 funder to the Discovery Center Building and a corporate sponsor of the Sanctuary.
The Discovery Center Project is the keystone to Long Pasture’s $1.7 million Comprehensive Capital Campaign designed to strengthen sanctuary capacity and broaden its impact throughout Cape Cod. More than 150 gifts and pledges ranging from $25 to $500,000, have catapulted the campaign to $1.6 million, closing in on the $1.7 million goal.
““With the completion of this Discovery Center, Long Pasture will have the built-in capacity to meet our year-round community’s need for high-quality public nature programming for all ages,” Ives said. “We will also bolster our commitment to establishing a fully accessible, modern, and energy-efficient facility at Long Pasture.”
After the ceremonial groundbreaking, guests enjoyed a tour of the sanctuary, against a spectacular view of the harbor with Sandy Neck in the background.
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.