Newsroom

The Nature Conservancy and BiodiversityWorks Partner on Bargain Sale and Purchase for The BiodiversityWorks Center for Wildlife Studies

The Nature Conservancy has sold its former Vineyard Haven office building at a substantial discount to BiodiversityWorks for its operations.

Vineyard Haven, MA

After months of collaboration, The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts and BiodiversityWorks have completed the transfer of TNC’s former office building at 18 Helen Avenue to the Martha’s Vineyard-based BiodiversityWorks.

With the $350,000 acquisition, BiodiversityWorks—a nonprofit focused on wildlife research and monitoring on Martha’s Vineyard—takes over the building that will house its Center for Wildlife Studies.

BiodiversityWorks had leased office space in the building from TNC since 2011. With the bargain sale, TNC—a global conservation organization with a longtime presence on the Island—will become a tenant there.

“We’re thrilled with our partnership with BiodiversityWorks, and we’re thrilled with this outcome,” said Wayne Klockner, state director for TNC in Massachusetts. “We knew we wanted this property to remain in the Island conservation family, and we were committed to offering a sale price that would make that possible.

“Now, 18 Helen Avenue will provide a base not only for TNC’s exciting work on Martha’s Vineyard but also for BiodiversityWorks’ headquarters,” Klockner said.

TNC purchased the building and 1.6 acres located next to the Wakeman Conservation Center from the Mary Storer Trust in 2002. In 2019, the assessed value of the building and property was $482,700, and the market value is higher.

In September 2019, BiodiversityWorks launched a successful capital fundraising campaign to acquire the property from TNC at the $350,000 bargain sale price.

“Our donor base saw the need for BiodiversityWorks to have a ‘forever home’ and the importance of this once in a lifetime opportunity. We are grateful to the 125 donors who responded enthusiastically to make this dream a reality for us,” said Luanne Johnson, director/wildlife biologist with BiodiversityWorks.

Board President David Faber said: “We are very honored by our donors’ generosity and grateful to TNC for making this transfer happen—they were very accommodating to us throughout the entire process. BiodiversityWorks now has a permanent home to continue our mission for many years to come. This is so exciting and could not have worked out better.”

 Since 2011, BiodiversityWorks has monitored and studied wildlife across the Island while mentoring students and adults in field biology. The organization collaborates with conservation and private landowners on projects that include bats, beach-nesting birds, turtles, snakes, and insects.

BiodiversityWorks plans to improve the building at 18 Helen Ave, add lab space, and offer wildlife-focused programs and classes at the facility in the near future.

Starting immediately, TNC will lease an office at 18 Helen Ave., as a base for its Cape and Islands land steward.

“BiodiversityWorks’ purchase of The Nature Conservancy’s former office building at 18 Helen Avenue represents the best possible outcome for both environmental groups,” said Pamela Kohlberg, a TNC trustee emeritus, supporter of BiodiversityWorks, and long-time Vineyard summer resident. “With shared aspects of their mission and values, they have a longstanding partnership in conservation on the Vineyard. The stars were truly aligned for this transfer of the property with a bargain sale and will promote enhanced wildlife research and environmental conservation on the Island. Hearty congratulations to both groups and cheers to wonderful news for environmental work on the Vineyard."

Brian Mazar, a former TNC trustee, supporter of BiodiversityWorks and Vineyard resident, said: “This is a wonderful outcome for The Nature Conservancy and BiodiversityWorks, and it’s an even better outcome for Martha’s Vineyard. My wife and I feel that this agreement positions both organizations to build upon their remarkable accomplishments, and it affirms their commitments to providing critical benefits for natural habitats and wildlife—and for all of us who love both here on the Island.”

The change does not impact TNC’s Hoft Farm Preserve and Field Station, which TNC uses in part to provide subsidized temporary housing for scientists, interns and volunteers from other conservation organizations working on the Island.

TNC owns almost 1,000 acres of land on Martha’s Vineyard and helps manage almost 700 acres more. TNC’s first land management work on the Island started in 1987.

The organization also works to advance science-based ecological restoration on the Island, including recent sandplain grassland restoration work at Katama Airfield and TNC’s nearby Bamford Preserve.

Other TNC on-Island initiatives include working closely with the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust since 2014, to support the nonprofit’s efforts to preserve the Island’s historic fishing communities while sustainably harvesting local seafood. 

About BiodiversityWorks

BiodiversityWorks is a Martha’s Vineyard non-profit dedicated to biodiversity conservation through participation; participation from landowners, volunteers, and students who want to learn from and with us. Our priority is to grow understanding of the habitat needs of rare and common wildlife and the current issues that threaten wildlife populations or cause population imbalances. We work to inspire and support budding wildlife conservation biologists via mentorship programs; and engaged citizens through volunteer opportunities and education about backyard wildlife. To learn more, visit www.biodiversityworksmv.org.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.