June 2019

Vol. 47, No. 3

A Guide to Birding Mass Audubon's Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Lisa Schibley

In 2008, Glorianna Davenport and Evan Schulman had a decision to make. Throughout the 80s and 90s, their successful 600-acre Tidmarsh Farms in Plymouth was producing 1% of Ocean Spray’s cranberry crop, but when the time came to move on none of the couple’s three children had an interest in continuing the work. Once they decided to sell, however, there was plenty of enthusiasm from local developers. One proposal showed an impressive subdivision of more than 400 homes. But Davenport, a cofounder of MIT’s Media Lab, and Schulman, a financial entrepreneur, chose another direction. 

Instead of selling to the highest bidder, they committed to restoring the Beaver Dam Brook wetlands to their original splendor, launching the Tidmarsh Farms Restoration Project, the largest freshwater wetland restoration project to date in the Northeast. Nine dams were eliminated, over three miles of meandering stream channel were created, and thousands of tons of sediment were removed to reconnect the headwaters of Beaver Dam Brook to the ocean for the first time in a century. In place of the monoculture of cranberry bogs, there emerged a mosaic of ponds, streams, red maple and Atlantic white cedar swamps, grasslands, and pine-oak forests that patchworked the property.


Tidmarsh Sanctuary, Plymouth, Massachusetts.

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