Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
Woman holding binoculars Join today and get outside at one of our 60+ wildlife sanctuaries.
People on trail during summer at Habitat
Habitat Education Center, Belmont

Sandy Vorce Leaves a Legacy at Habitat

April 17, 2024

After 18 years working at Mass Audubon, Sandy Vorce recently retired, leaving a legacy of accomplishments.  

Sandy’s Start at Mass Audubon 

In March 2005, after leaving a career in health tech, Sandy Vorce began volunteering at Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont. Although her first gardening session was snowed-out, she came back time and time again, falling in love with the sanctuary more each visit. It wasn’t long before she was hooked. 

Little time passed before Sandy was hired as a part-time employee working in Habitat’s gardens and greenhouse, and at weddings and events. Loving her new role and wanting to do more, she became a Master Gardener and completed Mass Audubon's Field Naturalist Certificate program, which gave her the necessary knowledge to lead guided sanctuary walks. Just a year after beginning her journey at Mass Audubon, Sandy became Habitat's Property Manager, a position she dove headfirst into. Most recently, she became Metro West’s Regional Property Manager, leading the region’s entire property staff team.  

An Evolving Sanctuary 

Sandy’s work and passions at Habitat were ever-changing. In her years, she helped the sanctuary evolve, too. She oversaw the construction of many large projects like the link building, an accessible entrance to the education center, and the new Habitat Nature Preschool

Habitat’s herd of goats are some of the sanctuary’s most well-known “staff” members.  When a neighbor sparked Sandy's interest in livestock for ecological management, she spearheaded the effort and filed for a permit from the town and renovated the estate’s greenhouse into a goat pavilion. Today, the goats accomplish a tremendous amount each year managing invasive species across the sanctuary and have a devoted volunteer community around them. 

An Eye on Sustainability 

Sandy’s mind always churned with ways to support and help enhance the sanctuary’s work. The solar array installation in Habitat’s community garden, a perfect location to “harvest” sunshine, was the first of its kind in Belmont. She oversaw the rainwater cistern installation, changed to energy efficient lightbulbs, and updated insulation in the education center—just a few of many initiatives to decrease Habitat's carbon footprint. 

On the grounds, she focused on native planting and using hand tools for habitat restoration instead of power equipment. One year, this initiative allowed the property staff to go almost completely carbon emissions free. 

Beyond the sanctuary, Sandy looked to improve both her work and efforts statewide as a member of Mass Audubon's sustainability and energy conservation committees. 

Welcoming All 

Sandy passionately promoted the importance of volunteerism throughout her tenure at Mass Audubon. She firmly believes everyone has an important role to play at our sanctuaries. Over the years, she welcomed volunteers each week and had a position for everyone – gardening groups, MAPLE participants, Habitat Intergenerational Program, and individual volunteers of any age looking to get involved. Sandy also often engaged school, religious, civic, and corporate volunteer groups, who made transformative impacts to the sanctuary. 

“I’ve been inspired by the thousands of volunteers who happily engage in stewarding our properties and continue to be moved by the stories of how the work we do, and power of nature, can change lives.” 

Looking Forward

In her retirement, Sandy looks forward to traveling with her wife, Becky, working on political campaigns, and tending to her own garden! She is thankful for the support of her wife and her colleagues, especially her right hand, Erika, who helped Sandy through many challenges over the years. 

Sandy leaves Habitat in the hands of a great team —Simon Camp, Metro West’s new Regional Property Manager, and Hannah Fletcher, Habitat’s new Property Manager. 

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