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Mass AudubonsAllens Pond
A Brief Guide to Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary in Dartmouth, Massachusetts
Mass Audubons Allens Pond
2011 Karley Searles
All rights reserved
Printed in the USA
The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747
Typefaces used are Archer, Meta, and Whitney
For Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary
A brief history of
Mass Audubon and
Discover the habitats
and wildlife at Allens
Learn how you can
help at Allens Pond.
The Sanctuary How to Help
Mass Audubon works to protect the nature of Massachusetts for people and
wildlife. Together with more than 100,000 members, Mass Audubon cares for
33,000 acres of conservation land, provides education programs for 225,000
children and adults annually, and advocates for sound environmental policies at
the local, state, and federal levels.
Mass Audubon works with other conservation organizations, legislators,
universities and citizen groups to shape, strengthen and ensure the fulfillment
of environmental laws, policies and regulations. They inform and educate people
about pending legislation and its potential impact, and enable the public to better
understand the governments actions regarding environmental issues. Working
with scientists from Mass Audubon and other organizations, Mass Audubon
provides data and analysis to help guide public policy.
What is Mass Audubon?
John James Audubon
Editor of Forest and Stream, he formed the first
Audubon Society in 1886 with close to 40,000
initial members. Their numbers grew so quickly
throughout the next year that he had to disband
George Bird Grinnell
George Bird Grinnell was tutored by Lucy Audubon, John
Jamess widow. Knowing Audubons reputation, Grinnell
chose his name as the inspiration for the organizations
earliest work to protect birds and their habitats. Today,
the name Audubon remains synonymous with birds and
bird conservation the world over.
Harriet Augustus Hemenway
Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall started
a campaign urging fellow socialites to stop wear-
ing hats adorned with the feathers of endangered
birds. Their work led to the founding of the
Massachusetts Audubon Society.
Influential People of Mass Audubon
Propper Boston ladies Harriet Hemenway and her cousin Minna Hall are absolutely
incensed by the latest style: ladies hats topped with not just feathers but whole birds.
The fad dovetails with the womens suffrage movement: Fashion was killing birds as
well as killing womens chances to have the right to vote and be listened to. For who
would listen to a woman with a dead bird on her head?
Harriet and Minna found the Massachusetts Audubon Society; take their crusade to
sportsmen, socialites and schoolchildren; lobby for laws to protect wildfowl; and even
help bust an illegal feather warehouse. Catrow contributes flamboyant caricatures of
the behatted Bostonians in convincing period costume, and his watercolors of birds
mimic John James Audubons own naturalistic paintings. Despite Laskys and Catrows
enthusiasm, however, Harriet and Minna in their zealotry seem just as exaggerated and
one dimensional as their fashionably feathered foes. Publishers Weekly
In Childrens Literature
Mass Audubon in Numbers
public Mass Audubon sanctuaries
Dartmouth was first settled in 1652 and was officially incorporated in 1664.
It was named for the town of Dartmouth, Devon, England, from where the
Puritans originally intended to depart for America.
The land was purchased with trading goods from the Wampanoag chiefs
Massasoit and Wamsutta by elders of the Plymouth Colony; reportedly thirty
yards of cloth, eight moose skins, fifteen axes, fifteen hoes, fifteen pairs of
shoes, one iron pot, and ten shillings worth of assorted goods.
Dont be fooled by the sanctuarys address; the sanctuarys mailbox is across Horseneck Road in Westport, but all of the sanctuarys land is in Dartmouth.
34,000public Mass Audubon sanctuaries
The field station as viewed from the entrance at Allens Pond.
Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1986 with the purchase
of seventy acres along Horseneck Road and Buzzards Bay from one of the
oldest families in the community. As years went by, the sanctuary grew as
Mass Audubon and accquired more land.
With 905 acres and a diverse variety of habitats including a coastal salt
pond, salt marsh, heath, scrub and forested uplands and early successional
agricultural habitats, Allens Pond offers miles of hiking trails accessible
from two locations: a small parking lot is located at Allens Neck Road next
to the Horseneck Holy Ghost in Dartmouth and the Field Station is located
at 1280 Horseneck Road in Westport.
The entrance to the trail walking from the Allens Neck Road location.
Mass Audubons goal is to use the sanctuary as a model for research and adaptive
ecological management and the staff as a community resource for local avian
research and conservation initiatives.
Staff members work year-round to maintain seven miles of trail, provide outreach
to local schools and communities, support a corps of volunteers, and conduct
ecological monitoring of animals such as piping plovers, least terns, ospreys,
grassland birds, and butterflies, as well as habitats including the salt marsh
and a fifty five acre, warm-season grassland.
Staff members also work with local towns and organizations to help protect and
preserve the watersheds of Buzzards Bay. Buzzards Bay has only a few coastal salt
ponds and, as they are productive habitats for wildlife such as fish, shellfish and
birds, they are a particularly valuable resource to protect.
The Sanctuarys Goal
A staff member looks for a Monarch to tag.
A sand ridge that rises slightly above the surface of the sea that runs roughly parallel to the shore.
Coastal Salt Pond
Pond and marsh communities with brackish to fresh water.
Flat land that is overflowed by salt water.
Land covered chiefly with trees and undergrowth.
Land on which shrubs are the dominant vegetation.
Land occupied chiefly by herbaceous plants and grasses.
Allens Pond is one of the most ecologically
significant coastal systems in southern New England.
Because of the pristine and rare habitats the sanctuary protects, Allens Pond is seen
as one of the most ecologically significant coastal systems in southern New England.
In fact, it is centered within a site identified by The Nature Conservancy as one of the
most intact coastal complexes remaining in the North Atlantic Coast Ecoregion and,
as such, they have designated it a portfolio site of conservation priority.
Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to observe spectacular bird life
and salt marsh activity with over 300 bird species recorded during migration or
The sanctuarys half-mile stretch of beach provides important nesting habitat
for rare piping plovers and least terns. The sanctuary also attracts birds of
prey in all seasons including nesting ospreys, migrant bald eagles, short-eared
owls,peregrine falcons,and northern harriers. From midsummer through fall the
salt marshes and tidal flats host many species of shorebirds and wading birds
such as yellowlegs, snowy and great egrets, willets, and great blue herons.
Rare Birds at Allens Pond
Some rare birds sighted at Allens Pond include the Common Loon, Pied-billed Grebe, Sharp-shinned
Hawk, Northern Harrier, Bald Eagle, American Bittern, Peregrine Falcon, Piping Plover, Least Tern,
Roseate Tern, Common Tern, Common Moorhen, King Rail, Short-eared Owl, and Coopers Hawk.
A Piping Plover at Allens Pond Photo by Myer Bornstein
A Common Tern at Allens Pond Photo by Myer Bornstein
Allens Pond has a butterfly garden that serves as a way-station for these
butterflies. The way-station provides necessary resources for monarchs to
produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Volunteers tag
these monarchs to track them as they migrate. Data is sent to the University
of Kansas Monarch Watch program in an effort to help better understand
how and why monarchs migrate.
An Orange Sulphur butterfly
Common butterflies at Allens Pond include the Black Swallow Tail, Mourning
Cloack, Monarch, Red Autumn, Cabbage White, Orange Sulphur, Clouded Sulphur,
Eastern Tailed-Blue, American Lady, Painted Lady, Question Mark, Common Buck-
eye, Pearl Crescent, Least Skipper, Pecks Skipper, and American Copper butterfly.
Monarch butterflies are not able to
survive the cold winters of most of t