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 protects more than 38,000 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's 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 135,000 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 www.massaudubon.org.