The crew at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary is hard at work preparing for expanded outdoor programming options, allowed under Governor Baker’s recent phase three announcement. Grab a quaran-team, defined by Felix Neck as “a bubble of people who create their own tight-knit social circle that doesn’t interact with others outside their group,” and head into the great outdoors.
“What that means is, essentially you self-select your bubble and your group of folks,” said Suzan Bellincampi, sanctuary director at Felix Neck. “So, if you want to go on a sunset kayak tour with us, you can do so. If you want to do a seashore discovery, or a bird walk, or guided meditation, all of that is available, but we’re not mixing groups. You find your quaran-team and call us to register.”
Bellincampi spoke to changes that may come as a result of Governor Baker’s recent announcement.
“The change would probably mean additional people to these groups, but all of the programs are outside,” she said. “We limit based on guidelines and on what we can handle. Right now, it’s up to nine people plus a naturalist, which is 10, but with the change we may be able to accommodate more moving forward.”
She also addressed the changes that Felix Neck has made to outdoor programming in order to maintain safe practices.
“We have a one-way trail system, so that people are not running into each other on the trails. We have asked that people wear their masks and distance,” said Bellincampi.
The programs offered are naturalist-led, though the Felix Neck naturalist will wear a mask and will maintain social distance from members of your quran-team. “Both parties are wearing masks to protect each other,” said Bellincampi.
For any activities that may require gear, such as kayaking, participants are welcome to bring their own. Felix Neck also has installed a sanitation program; all equipment is sanitized before and after use.
Even the annual event, the Sanctuary Supper program, a fundraiser for the group’s climate education initiative, has been adapted to fit the new regulations. Ky Keenan, a holistic nutritionist and the founder of Not Your Sugar Mamas, Frankie’s Flatbreads, and Well Retreats, will still lead the program this year. Participants, in a group of up to 10 people, can choose from Felix Neck’s four curated experiences for an in-house brunch, lunch, or dinner, scheduled at the participants’ request. To learn more and register, participants can email email@example.com.
Overall, Bellincampi has observed an increased demand for outdoor programming and nature appreciation. “People want to go on a nature adventure, and that’s not going to change. Being outside is a really good place to be, and it’s a place where people feel inspired and comfortable, and can take a moment to remember what they value: beauty, nature, family, friends.
“We’re seeing a lot of folks out here,” said Bellincampi. “People want to be outside, and they feel safe, especially in a place like this, where it’s 200 acres. We’re seeing a lot of interest.”
In particular, the quaran-team kids’ program has received a lot of interest, especially for parents with a hopeful eye toward the reopening of school in the fall.
“Families need options. This is a one-day, drop-off program that you can do up to three times a week. We’ve gotten a lot of response for that,” said Bellincampi. “People are super-excited to get their kids out and also get them acclimated. We’re all hoping that school is going to reopen, so getting kids acclimated to giving each other space is going to be good as far as the educational piece and getting ready for school.”
Specific details around offered programs can be found on the Felix Neck website.