‘Cape’s Best Kept Secret’

By Lisa Leigh Connors

You can walk around on your own and feel as though it’s all yours. It’s the Cape’s best-kept secret,” says Ian Ives, director of Mass Audubon’s Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary. Located off Route 6A on Bone Hill Road, Long Pasture offers stunning views of Sandy Neck Barrier Beach and Barnstable Great Marsh. It’s a peaceful place where visitors can explore trails and sign up for bird walks. In the visitor center, you can observe turtles, marine shellfish and invertebrates and tadpoles on display in tanks, and register for summer kayak trips, aquatic excursions or island cruises (see sidebar). Piglets will also be in the fields starting in June.

This year, the sanctuary is celebrating its 10th anniversary and Ives says the milestone will help raise the sanctuary’s profile to the Mid-Cape and beyond. “We are ultimately trying to make Long Pasture everyone’s third place,” says Ives. “Everyone has work, and everyone has home, but a lot people are looking for a third place that is special to them.”

Sherman Parker bequeathed the home (circa 1948), including 110 acres of land, to Mass Audubon in 1996. It officially became Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary in 2006. The home is in need of renovation and repair, so the sanctuary’s big push in coming years, says Ives, will be to renovate and expand the building. He would like to add an improved exhibit area with more live animal exhibits, as well as a new greeting area and program space, such as a wet lab with sinks, suitable for a large group of kids.

This past spring, Long Pasture collaborated with Falmouth Academy and Monomoy Middle School in Chatham to create wetlands for endangered species, such as the spadefoot toad. “These vernal pools are great living labs or living classrooms for students,” says Ives. “By using the landscape, we will be able to take advantage of these wetlands for our programs.”

Upcoming Events At Mass Audubon’s Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary

Explore Cape Cod by Kayak
From a Barnstable Harbor sunset paddle to Sampsons Island in Cotuit, the sanctuary’s experienced naturalist will lead you away from the crowds to discover rich aquatic life and beauty of Cape Cod. Kayaks, paddles and life vests provided. $43-$48. Pre-registration required: 508-362-7475 or massaudubon.org/longpasture. Through Sept. 24.

Aquatic Explorations
Explore marine habitats with Mass Audubon naturalists on a two-hour boat cruise aboard Hy-Line’s Sea Swan. Use an otter trawl net, fish pots and plankton tow to bring up creatures from the deep—spider and calico crabs, pipefish, glowing comb jellies, even small sharks will be presented to see and touch! This family oriented cruise will launch from Hyannis, and travel through Lewis Bay, Hyannis Harbor and near shore Nantucket Sound. $28-$40. 1:30-3:30 p.m., Thursdays, June 30-Sept. 1. To register, call 508-790-0696, and ask for Mass Audubon’s Aquatic Exploration Cruises.

The Summer Soiree
Annual chef’s tasting event and 10-year anniversary celebration to benefit Mass Audubon’s Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary. This gala at the sanctuary will feature cuisine prepared by distinguished local chefs using fresh, local, sustainably grown ingredients. Dining followed by a live auction, dancing, celebrating and relaxing under the stars. All proceeds will benefit Long Pasture’s conservation and education work throughout the mid- and upper Cape. Several local schools and districts created 350 clay toads to present as gifts for guests at the summer soiree. 5:30 to 9 p.m., Aug. 11, $125 per ticket.

Cuttyhunk and Elizabeth Island Cruises
Escape to the unique Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Cape Cod, step back into a simpler time and explore “the sleeping land out in the water.” Cruise through Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay with commentary focusing on landmarks, geology, wildlife, and the history of these quiet, protected islands. $48-$58. Preregistration required. Call 508-362-7475, ext. 9353. Mass Audubon’s Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary, 345 Bone Hill Road, Cummaquid, massaudubon.org/longpasture

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