Appy Chandler: A conservation spirit shared by father, son, and family

Appy Chandler

In Rowley, Massachusetts, a family’s unwavering commitment to conservation became manifest in the form of a wildlife sanctuary—the family is the Chandler family, and the wildlife sanctuary is Rough Meadows.

Thanks in large part to Appy Chandler, the Great Marsh Conservation Initiative was able to save 75 acres of beautiful salt marsh, coastal woodland, and tidal creeks in October of 2011. When the 75 acres of priority habitat were threatened, Appy stepped in. He played an invaluable role in ensuring that a conservation opportunity for the land could happen when the longtime owner was threatened with foreclosure.

Years earlier in 2007, an initial 125 acres at the Great Marsh were protected via a bequest to Mass Audubon by Appy’s dad, the late Professor Alfred D. Chandler. Professor Chandler had recognized that the area was excellent duck habitat, and so he and a few friends bought and saved the land piece by piece over the years before he ultimately left it to Mass Audubon for permanent conservation.

The 200 total acres of land saved by father and son are now owned and protected by Mass Audubon. In combination with several adjacent parcels of marshland owned by Essex County Greenbelt Association, Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary has now been formed. The sanctuary, which currently consists of more than 250 acres, officially opened to the public with a grand opening ceremony that took place on June 1 of this year.

"As far as our family is concerned, Rough Meadows is our father's memorial," said Appy Chandler at the celebration of the sanctuary’s opening. "He would be thrilled to see the list of those who cared enough to donate to establish this sanctuary. This is just wonderful."

Laura Johnson, President of Mass Audubon, said, “The vision and generosity of Alfred D. Chandler laid the foundation of Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary, and Appy Chandler’s dedication and commitment to furthering the conservation of the Great Marsh in Rowley has made the sanctuary what it is today—a 250-acre preserve of rare and sensitive habitat that links an amazing mosaic of 8,000 acres of conserved land on the North Shore.”

The legacy of Professor Alfred D. Chandler lives on through the conservation spirit shared by his son and family. And through Rough Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary, the conservation legacy of the Chandlers will exist forever as a permanent part of the land and water, diverse wildlife, and extraordinary beauty of the Great Marsh.