Boston Nature Center Receives Major Funding to Support Net-Zero Energy Use Project
Michael P. O'Connor
BOSTON, MA.—Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center (BNC) in Mattapan has embarked on an ambitious commitment to become carbon neutral by 2022, thanks in large part to crucial $100,000 commitments from the City of Boston’s George Robert White Fund, Tern Foundation’s TernSOLAR challenge grant program, and several generous individual donors.
This funding provides substantial support for the $600,000 project, a major component of which includes the installation of rooftop and ground-mounted solar arrays by ReVision Energy that will provide clean energy, eliminating the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions from 102, 678 pounds of coal burned annually.
The rooftop panels will be placed on the City of Boston’s first “green” municipal building, the George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center to kick off its 20th anniversary. Along with adjacent ground-mounted arrays, the combined systems will produce electricity for all of BNC’s nature center and preschool buildings.
“The City of Boston is pleased to partner with Mass Audubon in taking this bold step forward and once again lead by example about creating a clean, green energy future together,” said City of Boston Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space, Rev. Mariama White-Hammond.
The project also calls for converting three vintage brick cottages—home to the wildlife sanctuary’s state-licensed nature preschool and other educational programs—from natural gas to a more efficient electrical heating infrastructure.
Achieving “net zero” energy status (producing more energy than BNC consumes) aligns with the climate priorities of Mass Audubon’s five-year Action Agenda as well as with city and state goals.
“We’re thrilled to support this project,” said Tern Foundation’s Lisa Linnehan and Marianne Lampke. “Our TernSOLAR grant program is designed to assist bold nonprofit organizations to fully engage in the renewable energy movement. This allows them to save on electricity costs, reinvest the savings back into their programs, and serve as a climate action role model to the community. Special kudos to the team at Boston Nature Center for transforming a vision into reality.”
“We all understand that committing to renewable energy and leaving carbon-based sources behind is critical to mitigating climate change,” said Mass Audubon President David J. O’Neill. “Since the pioneering George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center was designed as a building that teaches about green design and building practices, Boston Nature Center has modeled the vision of a clean-energy future.
“In rolling out this net zero, carbon neutral project at our wildlife sanctuary in Mattapan, an urban neighborhood facing disproportionate climate threats,” O’Neill added, “we’re determined to make that vision a reality.” To learn more, please visit BNC’s Green Features.
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.