A groundbreaking partnership to preserve a historic farm in Lowell, Massachusetts
Lowell Parks & Conservation Trust, Mass Audubon, and Mill City Grows, in collaboration with the City of Lowell, have reached an agreement with the Perron family to purchase and protect in perpetuity Rollie’s Farm, the last family-owned farm in Lowell. The project partners are pleased to announce that land acquisition was finalized in December 2023 for Pawtucket Farm Wildlife Sanctuary.
Pawtucket Farm is one the first open space projects to use funds from Lowell’s Community Preservation Fund, created in 2019. By protecting and managing the property, we will broaden the ways we are able to connect people to nature in the city, including creating accessible trails, hosting a summer camp, field research opportunities for high school and college-aged students, and hands-on programs for families and adults. Plans for the site also include restoration of the former Christmas tree farm; establishing a working farmland that includes a farm stand, food forest, and community gardens; and building a nature center that offers educational programming.
Together, we will create a vibrant neighborhood destination accessible by bike, car, and city bus.
“Pawtucket Farm Wildlife Sanctuary provides a full on experience with the outdoors and nature. You walk 20 or 40 feet into the brush and you forget you’re in the city. We have a truly unique opportunity to impact the health and vitality of our communities while preserving a special part of Lowell’s history.”
Dai Kim, Mill City Grows Co-Executive Director
We are incredibly excited for the work to come in 2024! The three partners have committed, together, to raise the resources for Pawtucket Farm Wildlife Sanctuary. Mill City Grows fundraising will focus on farm infrastructure and operations, educational programming, and the launch of a farm stand on the site to expand our food access points. The current working budget for this project is:
- $4,500,000 – land acquisition: Complete
- $2,500,000 – restoration plan, trail improvements, parking area and signage, technical and design support
- $6,000,000 – Building a shared Discovery Center and improving current facilities
- $2,000,000 – seed support for staff (across all three partner organizations)
- $15,000,000 – TOTAL
Mass Audubon has committed to raising at least $9 million of this total. Now that the land acquisition is complete, the most immediate goal is to raise the $2.5 million required to open the property to the public by late 2024. We hope you will join us today and support Pawtucket Farm Wildlife Sanctuary with a tax-deductible contribution.
This historic project gives all of us an exciting opportunity to increase equitable and inclusive access to nature in the City of Lowell. As project partners, we are honored to preserve this land for future generations to explore, expand, and enjoy. Thank you for supporting Pawtucket Farm Wildlife Sanctuary!