Tag Archives: tidmarsh

Volunteers Lisa Meeks (left) and Jan Spence plant the final shrub—a winterberry—at a ceremony celebrating the completion of the Tidmarsh restoration project.

In Your Words: Lisa Meeks

Volunteers Lisa Meeks (left) and Jan Spence plant the final shrub—a winterberry—at a ceremony celebrating the completion of the Tidmarsh restoration project.
Volunteers Lisa Meeks (left) and Jan Spence plant the final shrub—a winterberry—at a ceremony celebrating the completion of the Tidmarsh restoration project.

“Hi, my name is Lisa and I’d like to volunteer here.” When I first introduced myself to the newly hired sanctuary director at Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary in Plymouth, the site wasn’t even open to the public yet. I met Lauren Kras at a “sneak peek” event where she was leading the public on tours of the former cranberry farm-turned-sanctuary and demonstrating just how extensive the largest freshwater ecological restoration project in the Northeast really was. Several months later, I was volunteering for the first time, at an open house event.

My second volunteer experience was a little rougher— it even had me briefly questioning my decision to be a volunteer. The task was invasive plant removal— specifically, the purple loosestrife that was encroaching on part of the wetlands. I should have been a bit suspicious when I showed up and was the only volunteer there to help the staff. It seemed simple enough though: dig up the plants, place in a bag, and repeat. The complicating factor was the weather—it was a hot, humid, August day and there were only a few small trees to provide shade. After several long, sweaty hours and many full bags, we were finally done. I thought, “Anything else I can do to volunteer at the sanctuary has to be easier than that!”

Native plants are thriving at Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary as nature reclaims the former cranberry farm
Native plants are thriving at Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary as nature reclaims the former cranberry farm

It’s three years later and I’m still volunteering. What I like is the variety of things I’ve been able to do: education programs, trail building, general clean-up, counting herring, planting pollinator gardens, installing benches, serving as trail steward, and planting trees and shrubs in a newly restored area.

Recently, another longtime volunteer, Jan Spence, and I had the honor of planting the final shrub at the ceremony celebrating the completion of the restoration project. It was a special moment, but honestly, the best part of being a volunteer is working with the staff. In the beginning, there was just Lauren. Each new person has been an excellent addition to the team. And we truly are a team, volunteers and staff, with a common goal of making Tidmarsh the best sanctuary it can be.

Which is why, when walking the trails, I proudly wear my name tag that identifies me as a Tidmarsh volunteer.

Jan’s Story

Lisa’s volunteer partner, Jan Spence, has her own story to tell about why she volunteers at Tidmarsh—read about it here.


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 their story—why Mass Audubon and protecting the nature of Massachusetts matters to them. If you have a story to share about your connection to Mass Audubon, email [email protected]  to be considered for In Your Words in a future issue!