Project to Protect Rollie’s Farm in Lowell Awarded $1 Million In Land and Water Conservation Funding
Michael P. O'Connor
LOWELL—The project to protect Rollie’s Farm in Lowell, which will be transformed into an urban wildlife sanctuary, environmental education center, and community food-growing center, has received $1 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grant Program.
The 20-acre land conservation project is a collaboration among Mass Audubon, the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, and Mill City Grows.
The funding will support the purchase of a Conservation Restriction by the City of Lowell and the permanent protection of the land. Once conserved, it will become part of an expanded urban open space mosaic between the 1,200-acre Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest and the Merrimack River.
Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito chose the longtime popular tree farm in Lowell’s Pawtucketville neighborhood to announce a package of LWCF grants, of which Rollie’s Farm was one of only nine awardees chosen statewide.
Representatives of the three conservation partners were on hand for the October 11 ceremony. In addition to Polito, speakers included state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Bethany Card, whose office oversees the LWCF grant program, and Lowell political leaders.
“Mass Audubon is thrilled to be partnering with two incredible locally-based organizations to protect the last family farm in Lowell,” said Renata Pomponi, Senior Regional Director for Metro Boston. “This grant will provide significant momentum towards our goal of the purchase and protection of this land, and the community and ecological benefits it will bring.”
Jane Calvin, Executive Director of the Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, explained that “protecting Rollie’s Farm will provide access to nature for generations to come. Greenspace is critical to our health and wellbeing, the protection of the Merrimack River corridor, a critical drinking source for the city, and for increasing our resilience to climate change.”
Mill City Grows Executive Director Jessica Wilson noted, "Access to land is one of the key elements in Mill City Grows' mission. Ensuring this space is available to and benefiting our community will be a tremendous asset to our residents. We are so excited about the growing and learning that will take place here and working with our partners and residents to steward this land for years to come."
To learn more about the project, which has a working title of Pawtucketville Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, and how to provide your support, please visit the project website at massaudubon.org/Lowell.
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.