"Nature is for Everyone: Increasing Accessibility and Inclusivity at Mass Audubon Sanctuaries" with Becky Cushing

Becky Cushing is the Berkshire Sanctuaries Director for Mass Audubon, overseeing six wildlife sanctuaries, twelve miles of hiking trails, and the Berkshire Environmental Literacy program. In her log lunch talk on Friday, she spoke about their efforts to make nature accessible to everyone, not only because being connected to nature can provide many physical and mental benefits to people, but also because we are part of nature and depend on it so should have a certain level of environmental literacy to help us understand nature. Mass Audubon’s programs aim to remove barriers to getting out into nature, and to educate and involve the community in their natural and built environments. They collaborate and partner with other organisations to work towards their goals and expand their audience. Some of the projects include running Berkshire Nature Camps for kids at their sanctuaries, organizing nature programs in elementary schools in western Mass, and building accessible all-person trails and picnic areas at the sanctuaries in order to offer welcoming, accessible, and inclusive visitor experiences. They plan on expanding all of their projects in the future, as well as starting new ones, because, as their website says, “Nature is for everyone. And everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy and protect it.”

Emma Levy, Becky Cushing, and Scott Lewis

By Maya Spalding-Fecher ’21