At 30 miles out to sea, Wellfleet Bay is, so to speak, pretty out there. But Melissa Lowe, a 25 year Mass Audubon veteran, is venturing even farther!
Melissa, who’s been Wellfleet Bay’s education director since 2014, is joining the Center for Coastal Studies located at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown. She’ll be trading in the sanctuary’s focus on turtles and birds for the whales and seals the CCS has studied and protected for years.
But enough about them; what about us? We asked Melissa what she’ll miss about Wellfleet Bay when she her job takes her to the end of Cape Cod?
“Geez, what won’t I miss about this place? It has been my second home, my second family, for so long. I’ll miss my colleagues, dearly—their creativity, passion and commitment, kindness, and wonderfully smart sense of humor.”
Melissa says in in more than 20 years of work at the sanctuary (she started her Mass Audubon career at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum 25 years ago), she’s most proud of building up the sanctuary’s adult programs, including the Cape Cod Field Schools–weekend programs that offer intensive, in-the-field outdoor experiences.
A lot has changed since Melissa first arrived at the sanctuary. There were only 6 full-time staff members and space was at a premium. “My desk was wedged in-between several others in the old office space and the tiny staff kitchen (read, no sink and a dorm-sized fridge) that is now part of the large, redesigned exhibit hall.”
Other significant changes during Melissa’s tenure here now seem almost unimaginable, such as the fact cold-stunned sea turtle strandings occurred at a relative trickle. (Sea turtles come in by the hundreds now.) And there were no Wild Turkeys back then. (Today they’re as common as squirrels.)
But, as Melissa notes, not everything has changed. “The unwavering energy and vision of Bob (Prescott), our director persists. His guidance throughout my career has been instrumental in my success. And the passion and commitment of all my colleagues over the years has also been steadfast. This organization really attracts special people.”
Bob says Melissa has brought a thoughtful and collaborative approach to her job overseeing the education staff. ” It can actually be harder pulling lots of people into a discussion rather than making a decision yourself,” he notes. By the same token, Melissa’s never been timid about speaking out about an overly ambitious idea. “She’s not afraid to tell me why something can’t be done!” Bob says. “You need someone who can do a reality check.” Bob adds that Melissa’s great sense of humor will also be missed.
Now, we realize we can’t compete with the Center for Coastal Studies’ dog-friendly office policy. And Melissa is very dog friendly.
“Taking my new pup to work every now and then may just make up for the lack of sweeping views and hooting owls outside my Wellfleet Bay office window…maybe!”