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.”


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