Sam Kefferstan Named New Sanctuary Director for Nantucket

Release Date:
January 14, 2020

NANTUCKET, MA—Mass Audubon, the state’s largest nature conservation nonprofit, has named Sam Kefferstan to oversee its wildlife sanctuaries on Nantucket. He succeeds Ernie Steinauer, who has retired after 20 years as Sanctuary Director.

Kefferstan served earlier with Mass Audubon as a TerraCorps member specializing in land stewardship before taking a position in private industry, focusing on the permitting of renewable energy projects. He holds two degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a B.S. in Natural Resources Conservation (fisheries) and a B.A. in Sociology.

While in Amherst, he served as President of the UMass Outing Club and between his junior and senior years Kefferstan worked as a Wilderness Ranger with the U.S. Forest Service in Sequoia (CA) National Forest.

Mass Audubon’s most notable wildlife sanctuary on Nantucket is Sesachacha Heathlands, an 875-acres expanse of rare heathland and sandplain grasslands on the eastern side of the island. The other sanctuaries include Lost Farm (which includes the staff office) near Hummock Pond in the west-central part of Nantucket and property at Smith’s Point at the island’s southwest corner.

Kefferstan is still getting settled, and understands that he’ll both be learning on the job and becoming accustomed to life 30 miles out to sea. That said, he has made raising Mass Audubon’s profile on the island a priority.

“I want to be sure that we at Mass Audubon are doing our best to serve the needs of the Nantucket community, both human and wild, so I need to practice patience and be intentional as we grow our presence on the island,” Kefferstan said.

“The most rewarding part of my job will be creating a sense of community,” he added. “A sense of community among people living on Nantucket and those who vacation here, as well as facilitating their relationships with nature.”

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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 140,000 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.