Program areas at Massachusetts Audubon Society
Environmental education and wildlife sanctuary stewardship: mass Audubon maintains 25 field offices and staffed wildlife sanctuaries (including 20 sanctuaries with nature centers, two of which are in urban areas) and an additional 35 unstaffed wildlife sanctuaries which are prepared for public visitation. Mass Audubon sanctuaries serve as the base for nature and environmental education courses and programs, scientific research, ecological management and other conservation-related activities. As of june 30, 2021, mass Audubon protected 40,434 acres of open space in Massachusetts, owning 32,820 acres in fee and protecting the remainder with conservation easements. These diverse protected habitats range from the berkshires to cape cod and the islands and help preserve the rich biodiversity of Massachusetts. Mass Audubon actively pursues both donations and purchases of additional conservation land and is the largest private conservation landowner in the state. An estimated 571,000 visitors came to enjoy mass Audubon properties in fy 2021.mass Audubon is the also largest non-governmental provider of nature education in the state. Mass Audubon develops educational materials and environmental policy materials for students, teachers, legislators, and the general public. In fy 2021, mass Audubon taught nature programs to more than 50,000 children and adults, enrolled more than 3,700 children in its summer day and residential nature camps, and conducted science/nature training for more than 657 teachers, despite the constraints of the pandemic. In addition, mass Audubon was fortunate to have more than 3,275 volunteers contribute more than 63,000 hours of service across the state in fy 2021.
Conservation science: mass Audubon utilizes and develops scientific knowledge to support its longstanding tradition as an organization which uses science as the underpinning for its education, land protection, advocacy and habitat stewardship activities. Current research and/or ecological management work focuses on the protection and stewardship of selected Massachusetts habitats such as grasslands, coastal heathlands and salt marshes. In addition, monitoring of key groups of organisms such as birds, amphibians, invertebrates and plants continues across the state in order to provide an important baseline to evaluate changing environmental conditions associated with climate change and land development. Mass Audubon has also developed and implements an invasive species management strategy to protect the integrity of its lands as well as to provide guidance for other landowners throughout the state.mass Audubon lands play a critical role in the delivery of its mission and its land protection efforts focus on conserving ecologically significant tracts of land adjacent to existing wildlife sanctuaries, thereby protecting and enhancing their biological integrity and viability as program sites. Mass Audubon also advances the protection of selected high priority focus areas beyond its existing wildlife sanctuaries through collaboration with state and local public agencies and local and regional land trusts. Collectively, these protection priorities include a wide range of Massachusetts habitats.
Member services: in addition to the member services provided by the network of sanctuaries and the education programming referenced in 4a above, mass Audubon produces a newsletter four times per year for members (explore) as well as an e-newsletter (explorations) which is also produced four times per year, a comprehensive annual report, and publications to increase public awareness of wildlife, nature, and environmental issues. For example, in fy 2020 mass Audubon completed work on the sixth edition of its definitive report on land use in Massachusetts entitled losing ground: nature's value in a changing climate. This report calculates and analyzes the causes associated with the loss of open space in Massachusetts and calls for a bold state-wide land conservation goal to preserve open space and combat climate change.in addition, the mass Audubon website (www.massaudubon.org) offers a wide variety of information on mass Audubon's sanctuaries, conservation efforts, land protection projects, advocacy issues, climate change work, and the natural world. Currently, mass Audubon has 22 sanctuary e-newsletters and ten other e-newsletters on specific topics, as well as a number of blogs. Mass Audubon also operates a gift shop in lincoln which sells merchandise related to nature, wildlife observation and environmental education to both members and non-members as well as a number of smaller nature-themed gift shops at many of the sanctuaries.