Published on December 12, 2018

7 Acres Added to Family’s Conservation Legacy at Allens Pond

Salt marsh on Angelica Russell's protected land
Salt marsh on the newly protected land

On December 11, 2018, Mass Audubon was given a 7-acre Conservation Restriction near our Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in South Dartmouth.

This land is one of the last remaining pieces of unprotected shoreline along the sanctuary’s namesake pond.

And it was protected by the children and grandchildren of the woman that first started conserving land in this area some 50 years ago.

Continuing a Conservation Ethic

We owe the start of conservation around Allens Pond—the water body and surrounding sanctuary—to Angelica Russell.

Angelica Russell © Deedee Shattuck
Angelica Russell © Deedee Shattuck

Angelica first came to Mass Audubon back in 1971 with an interest in protecting her substantial property at Barney’s Joy Point, which borders Allens Pond. After some negotiations, she ultimately donated Mass Audubon’s very first Conservation Restriction (CR).

This was at a time when CRs were a brand new concept in Massachusetts. It was also the first piece of land that Mass Audubon protected in South Dartmouth.

The scale of Angelica’s donation is noteworthy:

  • Her first donation protected 156 acres of coastline, grassland, and sand dunes.
  • In 1986, Angelica and her family added to this by protecting another 88 acres of important habitat.
  • Including this new property, the entire area protected by Angelica and her descendants totals about 250 acres—truly a remarkable act of conservation for coastal Massachusetts.

Pieces of a Puzzle

After Angelica’s first donation, Mass Audubon worked for decades to protect the rest of the area around Allens Pond. Bit by bit we worked with dozens of private landowners and supporters to conserve one piece of land at a time—filling in a conservation jigsaw puzzle.

This newly conserved land can be seen then as a further fulfillment of Angelica’s intent to preserve Allens Pond and Barney’s Joy.

Mass Audubon is grateful for Angelica Russell’s vision of preserving this beautiful landscape, and we are happy to work with her family members and others to continue it today.