Mass Audubon Joins State, Cambridge in Urban Greenspace Partnership at Magazine Beach On Charles River
Michael P. O'Connor
LINCOLN, MA—Mass Audubon is embarking on an exciting new chapter in its mission to connect people and nature, through a collaboration that will establish an urban greenspace and seasonal nature center at Magazine Beach on the Charles River in Cambridge.
Partners in this community-centered initiative, which will focus on nature-based education and programming, include the City of Cambridge, Magazine Beach Partners, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).
The state environmental agency, which oversees miles of riverbank along both sides of the Charles, has awarded Mass Audubon a five-year license to the historic Powder Magazine, a former ammunition storage site dating to 1818 and for which the 17-acre property is named.
As part of the statewide conservation organization’s Nature in the City commitment, Mass Audubon will transform the Powder Magazine building into a three-season facility that will host a range of free drop-in nature programs, while also serving as a home base for school, family, and adult programming on and around the river.
The center will also include restrooms, and offer snacks and drinks for park visitors. Mass Audubon will also be partnering with local arts, cultural, and community organizations to bring a range of program experiences and educational opportunities to the park.
The collaboration also aligns with Mass Audubon’s five-year Action Agenda, which prioritizes partnerships in growing access to nature for all, and exemplifies what can be achieved through the conservation organization’s new $1 Billion for Nature campaign, by targeting state and federal funds to bring about once-in-a-generation change.
The formal announcement will be made at a celebratory event Tuesday, November 23 at 1 pm at Magazine Beach.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with our friends at Mass Audubon to activate this important area along the Charles River,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper. “This is a unique collaboration that will invigorate the park with new programming and new visitors while engaging the community in a shared sense of stewardship.”
“We welcome Mass Audubon. Their coming to the park is a dream come true for us,” said Magazine Beach Partners President Catherine Zusy. “We have been advocating for the Powder Magazine to become an urban nature center—with arts and community engagement—since 2016, and now it’s happening. We are grateful to DCR for responding to the community and to Mass Audubon for stepping up.”
Mass Audubon President David J. O’Neill noted, “Magazine Beach Park is a wonderful example of how an urban greenspace can offer so much in a small space for the public, including important wildlife habitat in and around the Charles River.
“This terrific collaboration with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and Magazine Beach Partners will provide unique opportunities for people in the community to spend time outdoors, strengthening connections to the environment,” O’Neill added. “We are excited to have the historic Powder Magazine building as our home base for Mass Audubon's nature programming in Cambridge."
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.