Published on February 18, 2021

New Property Protected Next to North River

Stone walls & forest on the now-protected McLarey property in Marshfield
Stone walls & forest on McLarey property

Mass Audubon received a new permanent Conservation Restriction from the Town of Marshfield for land bordering our North River Wildlife Sanctuary.

This land was protected in a collaboration between Mass Audubon and the Town. It's the final stage of a long project to purchase this land from the McLarey Family. We are immensely grateful that the McLarey family approached us and considered conservation for their land.

The property itself is a little over 13 acres of oak and pine forest with a lovely tributary to Hannah Eames Brook running through the middle of it. The forest offers an important buffer to the neighboring wetlands to help reduce the impacts of flooding.

This section of Marshfield ranks highly in terms of habitat integrity and climate resilience. Both Mass Audubon and the Town of Marshfield recognized this as a strategically important parcel to conserve because of its natural value and its location next to our wildlife sanctuary and other conserved land.   

This was one of Mass Audubon's highest priority parcels in this section of Marshfield.

Map of McLarey property & other protected land around North River Wildlife Sanctuary

Gratitude to All Involved

There is no question that this project would not have happened without Karen O'Donnell and other members of the Marshfield town government. Karen is a Marshfield resident and chair of its Open Space Committee. In this role, she volunteers to help conserve land on behalf of Marshfield as a community.

Karen and Mass Audubon staff worked closely to reach an agreement that met the needs of all involved, including the McLarey family. Negotiations went through several iterations and required a good deal of creative thinking by all parties.

Sue Macallum, former Sanctuary Director of North River Wildlife Sanctuary, also played a major role helping to protect this land.

Much of the conservation done by municipalities is thanks to individuals quietly donating their time to negotiate deals, find funding, and generally organize projects. They are often the unsung nature heroes making conservation happen in their local communities.

We want to take the opportunity to send Karen an enormous "thank you" for her help as well as others in the Town of Marshfield.

If you are inspired to do more to help protect and steward land in your local community, consider joining your local government's conservation commission or open space committee!