Manomet celebrated its 50th anniversary on August 4, 2019. A lot has changed from those early days when volunteers hoisted the first mist nets on our property, but one thing surely has not—the support and dedication of the staff, volunteers, and supporters who believe in Manomet’s work and share our commitment to creating a sustainable future.

Manomet’s work over its first 25 years expanded organically from landbirds, shorebirds, and forests and opened the door to a broader understanding of the world around us. This understanding of how the many facets of our world are connected—and a belief that we cannot solve the complex challenges that we are facing by ourselves—is integral to understanding our most recent past and how we are preparing to lead in our next half-century.

Our history: 1969-2019

In the fall of 1966, at the oceanfront property that would eventually become Manomet, a crew of volunteer birders began banding birds as part of a project to study migration along the East Coast. Based on their visits to other bird observatories, Kathleen “Betty” Anderson, Rosalie Fiske and her husband John approached Ruth Ernst, the property owner at the time, to bequeath her house and land to establish their own environmental research non-profit.  The goal of Manomet’s founders was to provide a site and opportunity for long-term studies of birds and other aspects of the natural history and ecology of southeastern Massachusetts. Anderson was asked to be the first director and in August 1969, the Manomet Bird Observatory was created.

At the Beginning

Manomet Bird Observatory has become a reality, the first of its kind on the Atlantic Coast of North America…The response of the volunteer workers and of the public to the membership drive has enthusiastically ratified the decision to open permanently on August, 4, 1969.

Kathleen Betty Anderson - The first executive director of the Manomet Bird Observatory

Since Manomet’s beginnings, its science programs have branched out far beyond the Plymouth-based banding operation. With shorebird recovery and habitat management, forestry and climate science, fisheries, and more, Manomet has its foundation in science, but seeks diverse viewpoints from its many partners to work towards solving the problems we’re facing today.

An Evolving Organization

Bird populations are in trouble; the causes are many and complex…today, Manomet is focused on building science-based solutions to environmental problems. To reach this goal, we actively catalyze many partners in using science generated by ourselves and others to create long-term solutions that meet both human and ecological needs.

Linda Leddy - Manomet President, 1984-2008