Staff team hired to lead new Onset Bay Center

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is excited to announce that Katherine Garofoli and Tom Tucker have been hired to serve as the Onset Bay Center’s first Director and Program Manager.

Computer rendering of the final Onset Bay Center

The Coalition is in the process of transforming the 19th century Onset Bathhouse into a 21st century facility that honors the building’s original intent while actively providing educational and community services.

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is in the final stages of a four-year effort to create and fully launch its new “Onset Bay Center” – a year-round Bay exploration and on-the-water program facility on Onset Bay in Wareham, MA. The Onset Bay Center (OBC) will provide high-quality, on-the-water programs that engage people of all ages in a wide range of outdoor activities and educational programs focused on building connection and a sense of stewardship toward Buzzards Bay. The opening of the Center is planned for early summer 2020.

For the past five years, Katherine Garofoli has worked as Director of the Dennis Conservation Land Trust, where she has energized and transformed the organization to become one of the most active town land trusts on Cape Cod. During her tenure, Katherine managed 20 land conservation acquisitions, including a broad partnership with the town to protect and sustain the 39-acre Aquacultural Research Corporation. The ARC facility plays a vital role in local and regional shellfish communities by providing the highest quality shellfish to growers, distributors, chefs and reef-builders across the country.

Prior to DCLT, Katherine worked for Barnstable County, managing the AmeriCorps Cape Cod federal grant award and providing grant writing and technical assistance to County departments and Cape municipalities. AmeriCorps Cape Cod is a 24-member national service organization that places young adults in a year of focused service. There, participants help meet Cape Cod’s environmental and disaster response needs through a dedication to community service and local collaboration. Katherine received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut: Avery Point in Coastal Studies.

Kids in kayaks in Onset

During the summers of 2018 and 2019, the Coalition piloted the Onset Bay Center summer camp, where kids enjoyed sailing, swimming, kayaking, and coastal ecology on Onset Bay — just a preview of what’s to come with the opening of the Onset Bay Center.

Katherine’s unique mix of coastal ecology training, Americorps service, municipal partnership experience, and nonprofit management and fundraising skills make her the ideal fit to lead the Onset Bay Center.

Katherine will be joined in launching and bringing the Onset Bay Center to life by Tom Tucker. A Mattapoisett native who now lives in Burlington, Vermont, Tom will assist in the development and implementation of high-quality on-the-water educational and recreational programs at the OBC. Since 2017, he has served as the Head Sailing Coach for Middlebury College. Prior to that he worked in a variety of roles at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center, including the delivery of adaptive sailing programs for people with disabilities and floating classrooms programs in partnership with the Burlington School district. Tom will continue to coach at Middlebury part-time, providing an ongoing connection to competitive sailing instruction.

Prior to moving to Vermont, Tom worked for four years as waterfront director at the Southcoast YMCA’s Camp Massasoit, supervising all aspects of their waterfront programming including sailing and river ecology.

“We are extremely fortunate that Katherine and Tom were both drawn to the exciting potential to create a vibrant Bay exploration center to serve the people and communities of Upper Buzzards Bay,” said Mark Rasmussen, President of the Buzzards Bay Coalition. “Their backgrounds cover the full range of skills needed to create something truly special at the Onset Bay Center, and I can’t wait to watch them breathe life into the lands, boats and facilities we’ve assembled.”

Rasmussen was assisted in the review and selection of candidates for the Onset Bay Center by an interview committee comprised of:

  • Garry Buckminster, Director of Natural Resources, Town of Wareham
  • Sam Gray, Vice-Chair of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Wareham resident
  • Deb Hood, Event Manager at Buzzards Bay Coalition, Wareham resident
  • Kat Jones, Executive Director, Onset Bay Association
  • Ted Lawson, Executive Director, Duxbury Bay Maritime School
  • Geoff Swett, Chair, Wareham School Building Committee

Learn more about our plans and vision for the OBC at

Category: On the Bay

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Working to Save Buzzards Bay

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is a membership-supported organization dedicated to improving the health of the Buzzards Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

We work to protect clean water on the Bay and on the land: