Category Archives: In Your Words

In Your Words: Lorna Gibson

Mass Audubon Board Member and Professor

Lorna Gibson smiling in front of a green scenery.
Lorna Gibson

My mother always loved walking in nature. I wouldn’t say she was a birdwatcher, but she always fed the birds in the winter. It wasn’t until my older brother became interested in birdwatching that I started paying more attention to birds.

When I moved to Boston from Canada in 1984, I got one of those AMC books called Country Walks Near Boston. Several of Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuaries were included, such as Broadmoor in Natick and Drumlin Farm in Lincoln. That was my first exposure to Mass Audubon, and as an avid walker and birdwatcher, I thought I needed to join this organization.

For years, my involvement consisted of mainly visiting sanctuaries until about 2000. At the time, I worked as a professor of materials science and engineering at MIT. My wife, Jeannie, had been doing community service with her class at Harvard Medical School and suggested I do the same with my students.

I would give a few talks about birds to the class and then we would visit Boston Nature Center in Mattapan and work on a variety of projects with the staff. From there, I joined the Advisory Council and then the Board of Directors. Now that I’m retired, I have more time to dedicate to Mass Audubon. I currently sit on several committees including Design Review, Governance, and Engagement.

Red-bellied Woodpecker on a tree covered in a dusting of snow.
Red-bellied Woodpecker © Cheryl Rose

I just love Mass Audubon. I love all that they do with kids (camps, nature preschools, working in the schools), land conservation, and advocacy, too. And now with the Action Agenda and an increased interest in nature and birding, Mass Audubon is stronger than ever before.

I still love visiting Broadmoor, walking by the marsh on the boardwalk, where you see kids getting so excited to spot a frog or turtle. And I enjoy checking out new Mass Audubon properties, like the Magazine Beach Park Nature Center in Cambridge. Being out in nature, in places like Boston Nature Center, Broadmoor, or Magazine Beach Park, saved me during the past few years; it was my solace and my sanctuary.

To learn more about Lorna’s research, including how woodpeckers avoid brain injury, visit

In Your Words: Shawn Carey 

Mass Audubon Council Member and Photography Instructor 

Shawn Carey

Around 1987, I started with just a general interest in wildlife and casually watching birds. Then, I wanted to identify them, and before I knew it, I had become a birder. There were very few bird photographers then— this was back in the film days, before digital cameras. This hobby proved to be much harder than I had anticipated, until I got a boost from working with Mass Audubon.  

I first met staff from Mass Audubon in 1989 when I supplied some AV equipment for Drumlin Farm, which was participating in the annual Boston Flower Show. We kept in touch, and as my connections deepened and more staff became aware of my work, I was asked if I’d teach a photography class at Drumlin Farm. I didn’t think people would be interested in participating, but to my surprise, more than 20 people signed up.  

Marsh Wren © Shawn Carey

As I continued to improve my skills as a bird and wildlife photographer, I picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. With patience and timing, you can learn where you should set up to catch some amazing action shots. For example, when capturing shorebird pictures, I look to the tides. The incoming tide fills tidal pools and streams, attracting birds with a tasty snack. Settle in for high tide, and you can catch a shorebird resting before prowling the shoreline for food. Watch the tide go out and the birds move back along the shoreline, picking out their next meal in the receding waves.  

Mass Audubon staff members have helped me become more knowledgeable about the natural world, and in turn, I felt the need to do my part in helping to protect wildlife and wild places. My involvement with Mass Audubon has expanded over the years, largely because I believe in what the organization stands for and the work it does to help protect wildlife. Over many years and hours of volunteering, teaching, and helping Mass Audubon with various projects, I get the satisfaction of being part of an organization that I am proud to support.