Category Archives: Advocacy

In Response to News About Paris Climate Accord

A message from Mass Audubon’s President, Gary Clayton. 

I am extremely disappointed at the news that President Trump is considering withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, which is a massive step backward from confronting the greatest environmental threat to the planet.

As the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, the U.S. should be setting an example for the world in combating increasing global temperatures and the devastating impacts it will cause such as catastrophic weather events, sea-level rise, and rampant disease.

Abandoning the Accord would put America alone with Syria and Nicaragua (the only countries not officially participating in the deal). More disturbing, it turns our back on 194 other nations that remain steadfast to ensuring the Earth’s health and geo-political stability.

Mass Audubon, founded more than 120 years ago by a pair of women who pledged to speak out on behalf of the environment and biodiversity, today honors their legacy in re-asserting our commitment to protect the nature of Massachusetts and America for people and wildlife.

President Trump’s disheartening action will only inspire us to re-double our efforts at the state and local levels of government to combat the ill-effects of climate change.

But we need your help.

Talk about climate change with your friends and family, get involved in your communities, protect open space, and stand with Mass Audubon to advocate on behalf of the environment.

UPDATE: On June 1,  2017 President Trump officially withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord.

Mass Audubon Goes to Washington

Mass Audubon’s President Gary Clayton and Legislative Director Karen Heymann are in Washington DC meeting with our legislators as part of the Land Trust Alliance Advocacy Days.

While there, the team is advocating for land conservation and is also delivering all of your Speak Up for Nature letters, drawings, and postcards. Check out a few pics from the day here.

Gary Clayton in DC

Gary with Senator Warren

Gary with Congressman Capuano

Gary, Karen, and Senator Markey’s Staff

Gary with Congresswoman Tsongas’ staff

Speak Up for Nature!

Mass Audubon relies on science, advocacy, and education to protect the environment. We want to make it easy for you to speak up and voice your support for the nature of Massachusetts.

From now until April 24, you can Speak Up for Nature at many of our wildlife sanctuaries. Tables at participating sites (see below) will be set up with writing and drawing supplies, so visitors of all ages can share what nature means to them with our Congressional delegation in Washington DC.

Taking this opportunity to ask your Congressperson or Senator to continue protecting our clean air and water, wildlife, wetlands, and other important natural habitats will send an important message.

All of the letters and drawings made at our sanctuaries will be hand delivered to our elected officials in Washington by the President of Mass Audubon!

Click the image to see larger

Participating Sanctuaries

Please call ahead to make sure materials will be out during your visit.

Pleasant Valley, Lenox

Connecticut River Valley
Arcadia, Easthampton & Northampton

Central Massachusetts
Broad Meadow Brook, Worcester
Wachusett Meadow, Princeton

Greater Boston
Boston Nature Center, Mattapan
Broadmoor, Natick
Drumlin Farm, Lincoln

North of Boston
Ipswich River, Topsfield
Joppa Flats, Newburyport

South of Boston
Moose Hill, Sharon
North River, Marshfield
Oak Knoll, Attleboro
Stony Brook, Norfolk

Cape Cod and the Islands
Felix Neck, Edgartown
Wellfleet Bay, Wellfleet

Can’t make it to a sanctuary?

Download a coloring sheet, color in the front, and write your message on the back.

Action Alert: Support the Clean Power Plan

On Tuesday, President Trump signed an Executive Order that essentially cripples the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which set standards for reducing US greenhouse gas emissions. The CPP would have closed hundreds of emissions-heavy, coal-fired power plants and frozen construction of new plants, instead supporting cleaner and lower-polluting renewable energy sources.

The president claims that his environmental interests lie in ensuring “clean air” and “crystal clean water” for the US. Increasing our coal production and the pollution that comes with it is in absolute opposition to that goal.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has spoken out against the decision, saying her office will oppose the president’s latest action in court. Mass Audubon will stand with her.

You can add your support too.

Please call Attorney General Healey’s office at 617-727-2200 and say: I support the Attorney General’s pledge to oppose President Trump’s actions against the Clean Power Plan in court. Thank you for your leadership and commitment to environmental protection.

Read more about Mass Audubon’s advocacy efforts on our Political Landscapes blog.

Action Alert: Demand 1% for the Environment

Last week, Governor Baker filed his budget proposal for the 2018 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018). The budget includes a small increase in funds devoted to environmental programs. But, it still only accounts for .6% of the budget.

This is not enough. Spending on the environment needs to be increased to no less than 1% of the overall state budget, especially as the White House and Congress prepare to curtail environmental progress and drastically cut funding to the EPA.

Why? Because state forests and parks, and several programs to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the lands we live, work, and play on all rely on state funding.

Take, for example, the Blue Hills Trailside Museum. Owned by the state of Massachusetts and managed by Mass Audubon, Trailside relies on the Commonwealth for a large portion of their operating budget. This current fiscal year, Governor Baker cut the $500,000 allocated to Trailside. And he did not include any funding for the museum in next year’s budget.

It is time for Beacon Hill to get back to devoting one percent to the nature of Massachusetts in the upcoming budget. Please call your local representative and senator and insist that they allocate 1% for the environment in their budget proposal.

Help Trailside Museum Secure Funding

Help Mass Audubon’s Blue Hills Trailside Museum secure the state funding it needs for FY2017! Trailside is the interpretive center for the state-owned Blue Hills Reservation and features a natural history museum and outdoor exhibits of rescued wildlife.


Trailside Museum Sanctuary Director Norman Smith sharing his passion with adults and children. Photo © Kent Harnois

Mass Audubon operate the museum in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which means we receive a crucial component of Trailside’s funding through the state budget each fiscal year. Learn more about how the funding works.

Now that the House and Senate have both filed their FY2017 budgets, the two versions will be reconciled in conference committee. The Senate version of the budget allocated Trailside with $500,000, but the House version only budgeted $150,000.

We are asking for the conference committee budget to fund the full $500,000.

You can help!

Please call or email the conference committee members and urge them to include full funding for Trailside in their budget.

Senator Karen E. Spilka

Senator Sal DiDomenico

Senator Viriato DeMacedo

Representative Brian Dempsey

Stephen Kulik

Representative Todd Smola

Thank you for your advocacy!

Good and Bad News on the Pipeline Front

This week one of the major proposed natural gas pipelines in Massachusetts suspended its work. Kinder Morgan’s Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline is halting development as it has been unable to find enough major customers to merit moving forward with the project. Fierce opposition by Mass Audubon, community activists, and politicians compounded their challenges.

While this is great news, there is more work to be done defending open space and important conservation land from other pipelines. Several other projects are still in the works including the Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline Connecticut Expansion and Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast project.

The decision by Kinder Morgan to halt NED may actually help these other pipeline projects that we actively oppose. As the Boston Globe reports:

“…the decision could provide a big boost to the other large pipeline construction project proposed for New England, Spectra Energy Partners’ Access Northeast, which has the financial backing of utilities Eversource Energy and National Grid.”

Learn more about our advocacy against new pipelines, along with our position statement on the major proposed projects.

Proposed Pipelines Put Conservation Land at Risk

Mass Audubon opposes several proposed natural gas pipeline projects in Massachusetts, and we have been actively involved in the project review process.

Most recently we submitted an amicus brief to the Berkshire Superior Court in support of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, for their defense against the Kinder Morgan Tennessee Gas Pipeline Connecticut Expansion. This proposed natural gas pipeline project is attempting to remove protections on state land designated for permanent conservation.

The land in question is a large parcel of Article 97 conservation land in Otis State Forest in Sandisfield. Among its many valuable features are a 425-year-old eastern hemlock old growth forest, rare plant and animal species, mature deciduous woodlands, rolling meadows, and the entire 62-acre Lower Spectacle Pond.

Lower Spectacle Pond in Sandisfield

Lower Spectacle Pond in Sandisfield

Mass Audubon is committed to the permanent protection of this land. We were heavily involved in its acquisition when we purchased and preserved it as conservation land, then conveyed it to the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

We previously submitted testimony to the Massachusetts State Legislature in opposition to the transfer of Article 97 protections from this land for access to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline through legislation. We have also submitted comments from Mass Audubon to the Baker Administration.

In addition to the Connecticut Expansion project, Kinder Morgan has proposed the Northeast Energy Direct Pipeline, which would pass through Mass Audubon’s West Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Plainfield.

A third proposed project involving Mass Audubon land is Spectra Energy’s Access Northeast pipeline, which would cut across Mass Audubon’s 100-year-old Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon. We will continue to oppose all three projects.

Learn more about our position and steps we have taken >

Action Alert: Support Climate Change Adaptation

Time is running out! Mass Audubon urges you to contact your Massachusetts House member today and ask them to support climate change preparedness legislation (S.2121).

This bill, which would help make sure Massachusetts has a plan in place for adapting to climate change impacts, is a priority for Mass Audubon and we want to see it passed before the formal session ends! A few of the legislation’s goals for the state include:

  • Compiling data on existing and projected sea level rise using best available science
  • Producing a report documenting the preparedness and vulnerabilities in Massachusetts’ emergency response, energy, transportation, communications, health, and other systems
  • Establishing a grant program to provide financial assistance to regional planning agencies for the development and implementation of a climate adaptation plan, including vulnerability assessment and strategy development

By identifying where we are most vulnerable and taking these measures, the legislation will help protect public health, public safety, and the economy.

Save Ocean Treasures

Mass Audubon supports the permanent protection of New England’s offshore treasures: Cashes Ledge and the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts Area. Protecting these special ocean places from current and future threats will help ensure the health and biodiversity of the region’s ocean waters for generations to come.

The New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts Area and Cashes Ledge are striking examples of what a healthy ocean should look like—a living seabed covered in rare and vibrant cold-water corals or a thriving kelp forest, schools of iconic New England fish swimming above, and regular visits by a variety of whales, sea birds, sea turtles, and large predatory fish like sharks, tuna, and swordfish.

Kelp Forest at Cashes Ledge; 70-miles off the coast of Maine

Kelp Forest at Cashes Ledge; 70-miles off the coast of Maine

Their ecological integrity makes them important to the broader regional ecosystem, helps them to contribute to the regional ocean economy, and makes them living laboratories for scientists hoping to learn about the health and function of New England’s oceans. The species that they support are critical for New England’s vibrant whale watching, recreational fishing, and seabird viewing industries.

Fragile Habitats at Risk

A combination of use restrictions and natural protective features has kept these special ocean places remarkably free from human disturbance to date. But the push to exploit more and more places puts these fragile habitats at risk. Permanent and holistic protection of these offshore marine jewels from all commercial extractive activity will preserve them as thriving biodiversity hot spots and living marine laboratories. Such protection can also build resilience against the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.

America has a long tradition of protecting our remarkable natural heritage and biological bounty. In contrast to our public lands and the Pacific Ocean, where very large areas have been protected, no areas fully protected from commercial extraction exist in the U.S. Atlantic. Now is the time to right the balance, and safeguard these marine treasures to avoid irreversible damage to remarkable ecosystems

Special Event

Join Conservation Law Foundation, Mass Audubon, and world renowned National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry at the New England Aquarium’s IMAX Theater on September 2, 2015. See Skerry’s amazing photographs, speak with members from many environmental groups, and show your support for protecting these marine treasures. RSVP for the free event

Keep Reading

Find out why Cashes Ledge and the New England Coral Canyons and Seamounts Area are dubbed the Jewels of the Atlantic. Learn more