With shovels in hand, Trevor Lloyd-Evans, Director of Landbird Conservation; Paddy Wade, Manomet Trustee; and Deb Harrison, Manomet Councilor, stood in front of the Banding Deck during our annual Summerfest event to break ground on Manomet’s newest project: making Manomet’s Headquarters accessible to all visitors.
Every year, Manomet has welcomed over 1,000 visitors to our Headquarters in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to visit our Banding Lab, learn about the long and short-term biological changes we have detected through our 50-year dataset, and experience the magic of birds up close. However, throughout the years we have had to turn students away because of accessibility constraints on our campus. We were determined to change that.
In February 2015, Manomet was awarded a $120,000 grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s (MCC) Cultural Facilities Fund for an Accessibility Improvement Project that was subject to a 1:1 cash match requirement. With important seed money in hand, Manomet continued to raise nearly $160,000 in additional cash and in-kind gifts to meet the match. This included a grant from an anonymous foundation who generously awarded $80,000 in May 2016 to complete the fundraising goal and meet MCC’s matching requirements.
Beth Brazil, Senior Manager, Foundation & Corporate Giving, shared, “We have been working on this project for several years and cannot wait to see the end result, especially the outdoor classroom! There’s nothing better than being able to share Manomet’s beautiful facilities with people of all ages and physical abilities and watch their expressions as they see a bird in hand.”
Construction will begin by the end of June and will be completed by August 10 before the fall banding season begins on August 15. Once complete, the project will allow accessibility for all: school groups, colleges, organizations, partners, supporters, guests, and visitors of all ages. The project includes a new Outdoor Classroom that will replace the banding deck and will hold up to 30 people; an Indoor Classroom that will be furnished with audio-visual equipment, tables and chairs; and other enhancements that will improve the campus’ all around accessibility, such as: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible lavatory, toilet, and baby-changing station on the main floor; compliant compacted walkways with proper lighting between the parking lot, garden, and Banding Lab; and ADA accessible parking.
These important improvements will allow Manomet to bring more people onto campus—giving more people a chance to experience birds up close and to learn about the long and short-term biological changes occurring from climate change and other social and environmental changes. Birds have proven to be extremely sensitive indicators of ecological changes, and we believe sharing their stories will help improve awareness of our changing climate.