Southampton’s Manhan Meadows Sanctuary getting upgrades

  • One of the three benches built by students at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. The benches will be placed in the Manhan Meadows Sanctuary in Southampton, which recently received a $50,000 MassTrails grant for its restoration. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/25/2021 9:57:41 AM

SOUTHAMPTON — The Manhan Meadows Sanctuary will receive an upgrade with help from a $50,000 MassTrails grant and three benches constructed by students at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School.

The renovations will help make the sanctuary’s Hazel A. Young Trail “safer, more accessible and more attractive,” according to Diana Federman, a member of the Southampton Conservation Commission, which oversees the sanctuary’s maintenance. 

Work includes clearing the trail and installing new boardwalks and stairs, as well as a kiosk at the trailhead. The three benches will be installed at points that are ideal for relaxing and watching wildlife, Federman said. The work will likely not begin until June. 

The town is matching at least 20% of the MassTrails grant, according to Federman.

The Conservation Commission also received contributions from organizations including Friends of Southampton Open Space, the Southampton Woman’s Club, Friends of the Council on Aging and bankESB.

Smith Voc students engineered the benches for easy transportation into the sanctuary, said Chadd Meerbergen, a carpentry instructor and department head at the school, especially because not all of the sanctuary is accessible by car. 

“We had to figure out how to have the volunteers pull them apart and put them together without a lot of tools or knowledge,” Meerbergen said, “so we put our heads together on that and we created these projects for the Southampton Conservation Commission.”

Meerbergen expects all three of the benches to be completed next week.

Smith Voc commonly works with local communities and organizations, Meerbergen said, including Northampton, Audubon Society and Habitat for Humanity.

“We appreciate being part of this community and being able to serve the community,” Meerbergen said.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at

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