Making Meaning at Tidmarsh

Summary and Index: Making Meaning at Tidmarsh

Seven years post restoration, 51 people from 21 organizations assembled at Mass Audubon's Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary to walk, explore, and learn how this wetland restoration has responded to the restoration intervention. The goal of the day was to learn together about the process of recovery at Tidmarsh, and collect insights that can be applied to other wetland restorations of cranberry farmland.

The walk followed the format of a site walk at the Eel River Headwaters Restoration Project in July 2017, approximately 7 years post wetland restoration of that property. The Eel River was the first project that sought to transition retired cranberry farmland to a self-sustaining wetland in Massachusetts. Tidmarsh Farms was the second such project and remains the largest freshwater wetland restoration in Massachusetts.

The Tidmarsh Making Meaning walk on July 28, 2023 was led by:

  • Alex Hackman (currently Director of Ecological Restoration at Mass Audubon, formerly a restoration specialist at MA Fish and Wildlife Division of Ecological Restoration, founder of the Cranberry Bog Program at DER, and technical lead on the restoration of Tidmarsh Farms)
  • Nick Nelson (Regional head and Sr. Geomorphologist at InterFluve, the engineering firm that designed the Tidmarsh Restoration
  • Glorianna Davenport, Founder and President of Living Observatory and the representative of Tidmarsh Farms for the restoration.

What follows is a summary with links to the collective Notes and Observations made by site walk participants as well as other associated documentation. This project provides a template for how walks with similar objectives might be organized.

The day starts off with introductions all around

The day began with an initial session in the barn to discuss objectives and invite participants to introduce themselves. The group then walked to the first of five stops. At each stop, the group reviewed before/after images, objectives, restoration actions, and high level expectations. Participants then fanned out to make observations before reassembling to discuss their observations. At the end of each discussion period, the group headed to the next stop. Pins on the google map indicate the location of the five stops. The index follows this map.

A google earth image from 2023 showing the 5 stops for the Making Meaning site walk at Tidmarsh

Notes and Observations


Visit the files page for additional media:

  • A plant species list recorded during the site walk
  • The list of participants
  • The handout for the Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary Making Meaning Session - July 28, 2023. Much of what is included in this handout was reproduced in the Notes and Observations pages, linked above.
  • Notes and Observations from the Making Meaning Session -- Eel River Headwaters Restoration Project (Plymouth), July 2017.
Group shot of participants taken and the end of this fun, informative and very hot day.

By Glorianna Davenport
October 20, 2023