Two kids running in the snow. We all need nature—and nature needs you. Together, we can protect the wildlife and wild lands of Massachusetts for generations to come. Make a tax-deductible donation today.
Two kids running in the snow. We all need nature—and nature needs you. Together, we can protect the wildlife and wild lands of Massachusetts for generations to come. Make a tax-deductible donation today.
Magazine beach building with people out front and a bicycle next to a bench
Magazine Beach Nature Center, Cambridge

Old Building Becomes New Nature Center

March 28, 2022

Located along the Charles River in Cambridge, Magazine Beach Park has long been a haven for city residents seeking the outdoors close to home. 

Thanks to a partnership between Mass Audubon and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Mass Audubon will bring nature education programming to this urban greenspace.

Connecting to the Community

From April to October, Mass Audubon naturalists will turn the historic Powder Magazine building into a drop-in nature center and the home base for school, family, youth, and adult programming on and around the river. With activities ranging from nature galleries to climate cafés, this building will serve as a space for Cambridge residents to connect and learn about environmental advocacy.

The oldest standing structure along the Charles River, the Powder Magazine building was built in 1818 for gunpowder storage. Renovated in 2018, the solid granite building is the perfect backdrop for Mass Audubon’s hands-on nature education programs, as well as a place for visitors to take part in monthly themed evenings celebrating the music, art, and culture of the city.

Off to a Great Start

Prior to being selected by DCR as manager of the Powder Magazine building, Mass Audubon ran events at Magazine Beach last summer as part of DCR’s teen focused Summer Nights program. Over the course of several weeks, naturalists welcomed young people to take part in wildlife demonstrations, nature art, and even kayaking on the river.

Programming continued through the fall with a series of events that invited visitors to explore the outdoors. Thanks to support from Magazine Beach Partners and the Charles River Conservancy, the programs became wildly popular, with over 100 children and adults joining the weekly fun by the end of the summer.

Long-Term Goals

As part of our Action Agenda, Mass Audubon is committed to inclusive and equitable access to nature for all. Our partnership at Magazine Beach will bring us closer to achieving this goal.

Learn more about Magazine Beach Park, check out the schedule of events, and find out how you can support this work at massaudubon.org/magazinebeach.

This article was featured in the Spring 2022 issue of Explore, our quarterly magazine for members.