Children enjoying the trails at Boston Nature Center

In Your Words: Patricia Spence

In Your Words is a regular feature of Mass Audubon’s Explore member newsletter. Each issue, a Mass Audubon member, volunteer, staff member, or supporter shares his or her story—why Mass Audubon and protecting the nature of Massachusetts matters to them.


In Your Words: Patricia Spence

Patricia Spence at Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center

My love for exploring nature probably originated from summers spent on Cape Cod with my grandparents. Days were filled investigating my grandfather’s vegetable and flower gardens, catching frogs, swimming, and going on Cape trips.

As a single mom raising two boys in Dorchester, I wanted my sons to know the fun and excitement of all things “nature”—discovering salamanders under rocks, hiking the Blue Hills, and learning about birds, bugs, and bees. I also wanted them to understand that they are the stewards of our planet. So off they went to classes at Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center (BNC). There, they experimented and explored in a wonderful outside-classroom setting.

The BNC connection led to more nature experiences at other Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries, including the Blue Hills Trailside Museum, Drumlin Farm, Allens Pond, Ipswich River, Broadmoor, and Moose Hill, as well as at Wildwood overnight and family camps.

While they took classes, I spent time reconnecting with nature by volunteering at BNC. Through these experiences, I gained a deep appreciation for the director, staff, youth leaders, and all of the committees. The wildlife sanctuary continues to passionately seek ways to involve diverse families from all walks of life from across the city and region.

Children enjoying the trails at Boston Nature Center

Children enjoying the trails at Boston Nature Center

My boys are now men, but I will always remember the BNC programs that opened an entire world of nature for us, our family, and our friends. BNC has been a critical path to nature and the environment for folks living in the city that would not normally experience nature programs, wildlife, and the joy of birds, butterflies, and other small critters.

I love the space, the serenity, and the beauty of nature right in my own backyard at the Boston Nature Center, and I encourage all who live near and far to come visit.


Pat Spence is a Mass Audubon Council member, former chair of the Boston Nature Center Sanctuary Committee, and Mass Audubon member since 2000.

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