Veteran Wellfleet Bay Staffer Heads to Outermost Coast

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 (left) with poet and naturalist Liz Bradfield during a Cape Cod Field School.

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.

Melissa and Sam Peabody, the new pup.

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!”

7 thoughts on “Veteran Wellfleet Bay Staffer Heads to Outermost Coast

  1. Mary Craig

    Melissa, all the best in your new adventure with CCS! I will miss your bright smile and cheerful greetings, but I’m sure I will see you around.
    Mary Craig

  2. Marla S. Perkel

    Dear Melissa,

    Wellfleet Bay needed and loved you, as did all the day, front desk volunteers, like me, who always could ask you questions, directions and just talk , whenever time on our hands during long winter days with few guests allowed that. Your cheer and friendliness were so uplifting and always made me feel glad to be there. I am so happy that you are moving on to Coastal Studies another wonderful organization, and I will look for you there!

  3. Elizabeth Suttell

    Melissa: thanks for all the wonderful field school experiences. Audubon won’t seem the same without you. Best wishes for happiness in your new adventure. Betty

  4. Mary O'Neil

    Dear Melissa,
    I didn’t get to really know you on a personal basis, but you have never failed to be pleasant, welcoming and smart when we have met up. I am a volunteer naturalist now, but for years prior and since, have thought the Wellfleet Bay Education Program the best. I am sure you will carry on this great record of achievement in P-Town.

    I wish you the very best.
    Mary O’Neil

  5. diana abrashkin

    DEar Melissa — I, too, must thank you for all you’ve done to make the Field Schools so much fun. I’ve had a great time and learned so much through them. Enjoy your Provincetown future, and consider a pet cat too. Cheers, di

  6. Diane Silverstein

    Melissa, wow!! I am so happy for you! Can’t believe that you won’t be at WBWS another 20+ years!! You may remember that I cried a lot at my goodbye party…I suspect you will flood the place between your tears and everyone else’s! Michael and I wish you mucho fulfillment and happiness at CCS. They are beyond lucky to have you! Love you!

  7. Molly Mead

    Melissa, I have so enjoyed the field schools I have taken while you were at WBWS. I would like to send you a video of a wonderful song – “Seal Lullibye” I came across on Utube. Will go right along with your new job. Please send me your email. Best of luck in your new position! Thanks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *