Press Releases

New $1.5M Coastal Education Center Planned for Crane Beach

Ipswich, MA  |  November 18, 2020

New center, courtesy of an anonymous donor, will bolster The Trustees’ commitment to coastal resiliency

November 18, 2020 – The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) today announces its plans to build a Coastal Education Center at Crane Beach that solidifies the organization’s commitment to climate issues by providing visitors an immersive educational experience regarding our changing coast.

Situated between the Atlantic barrier beach and the estuaries of the Great Marsh, the Center will be a resource that dovetails naturally for field-based and other experiences that promote the environment and climate literacy. Featuring a combination of open-air classrooms, educational space, and retail areas, the Center will become a regional hub for coastal exploration and education that serves as a model for sustainable design.

“There’s no better way for people to learn about our coastal ecology than by witnessing and interacting with it in person,” said Trustees Executive Vice President Jocelyn Forbush. “We’re so thankful to our generous anonymous donor because this center will tell the story of our coastal communities in completely experiential ways by immersing visitors in our dynamic landscape, with the goal of spurring people to take action on crucial issues like climate change, sea level rise, and erosion.”

The $1.5 million to build the center comes courtesy of an anonymous donor. Pending local approvals, construction could begin as soon as September 2021 with the center open and operational by May 2022.

The new two-story building proposed at Crane Beach will be built on the site of the current refreshment stand, taking into account future flood models and sand dune migration. The upper level will be education space with an adjacent open-air classroom. The education space will feature experiential learning tools such as touch tanks, while the lower level will consist of food and retail areas so beachgoers still have access to snacks and refreshments.

Access to the Center will be included in the cost of tickets to Crane Beach so that the 350,000 annual visitors to Crane will learn more about coastal resiliency and be inspired to take action. While the Center will operate on a year-round basis, the bulk of programming and events will take place in the spring, winter, and fall so there is no expected increase in summer traffic.

“This new education center will play an important role in helping young people understand the future climate and coastal problems that will impact our community,” says David Scudder, former chairman of The Trustees North Shore Advisory Group and longtime Argilla Road resident. “This Center is such a valuable resource because it will educate and inspire the next generation of problem-solvers by planting the seed of interest as early as middle and elementary school.”

A final design for the Center has not yet been developed but sustainability and resilience will be key elements, making sure the Center blends well with landscape features and the adjacent bathhouse structure. The Trustees will also host its initial socially-distanced, outdoor community information session to gain public feedback on Nov. 27 from 10AM-2PM in front of the beach refreshment stand. Additional sessions will be announced at a later date.

For more information about the Coastal Education Center at Crane Beach visit


More about The Trustees

Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 125 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the nation’s first preservation and conservation organization, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. We are a nonprofit, supported by members, friends and donors and our 120 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually.