BiodiversityWorks acquires Vineyard ‘forever home’

The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) former office building on Helen Avenue in Tisbury will become the permanent home base for BiodiversityWorks Center for Wildlife Studies, according to a press release.

In September 2019, BiodiversityWorks launched a successful capital fundraising campaign to acquire the property from TNC.

TNC finalized the transfer of the property to BiodiversityWorks, a nonprofit focused on wildlife research and monitoring on the Island, for $350,000, significantly below market price. 

BiodiversityWorks had initially leased the space from TNC since 2011, but TNC, a global conservancy organization, will now become a tenant in the building.

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.

“We’re thrilled with our partnership with BiodiversityWorks, and we’re thrilled with this

outcome,” Wayne Klockner, state director for TNC in Massachusetts, said in the press release. “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.”

Luanne Johnson, director and wildlife biologist for BiodiversityWorks, told The Times she is looking forward to having a space that the wildlife organization can utilize to the fullest — providing research opportunities, mentoring, and educational programming in the years to come.

“It will be nice to have a space that is ours. We are doing a lot of improvements inside to make the building nicer,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she is hoping to hold public outreach sessions about bats, birds, and other animals on the Island; they’re even planning a “Bio-Blitz,” a one-day survey of all the plants, animals, and insects in the area surrounding their new headquarters.

“We’ve been here, but now we can really use the entire property, and will be renting out one office space to TNC,” Johnson said. “We are looking for another nonprofit to rent the other office space. Maybe we can find another conservation nonprofit to fill the space.”