Robie Hubley

14 entries
  • "Just visited Arcadia today for the first time in decades..."
    - Chris Carey
  • ""We're not here for the rhyme; we're here for the reason." ..."
    - Rob Kusner
  • "Robie lent both a calming and mischievous air to our..."
    - Jonathan von Ranson
  • "We felt so honored to have Robie and Anne move to Jewett..."
    - Holly Hanson
  • "Dear Anne, Gale, and Lincoln, I am so sorry to just now..."
    - Marge Holland
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Service Information
Douglass Funeral Home
87 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA

Robie Hubley, aged 81, died Thursday, June 27th at home in South Hadley, MA. The son of Bert A. and Hazel D. Hubley (Moser), Robie grew up in Waltham, MA, and learned the value of hard work at his father's side in the family plastering business. At the family dinner table he learned the value of a good education while enjoying lively discussions of world events, science, philosophy, music, art, and history. Following graduation from UMass Amherst, he taught Biology and General Science at South Hadley High School, where he challenged convention by taking his students outside to explore the ponds on the school grounds. In 1964 he became Caretaker of the Massachusetts Audubon Society's Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton, MA. He soon was appointed Director and made the Sanctuary blossom through the 1960's and 70's as a center of nature study, education and activism during the budding environmental movement.

Robie joined forces with the Connecticut River Watershed Council working to clean up the Connecticut River and its watershed, helping to stop the practice of dumping raw sewage and other pollutants into the river. He was instrumental in the closing of the old Northampton Dump, which was bulldozing burning trash into the Mill River up-stream of the Sanctuary. He also expanded the Sanctuary, preserving key acreage in the Northampton Meadows. He oversaw the creation of Arcadia's visitor center in the 1970's, rejuvenated the summer natural history day camp, and founded the Arcadia Nature Nursery School in 1976. The camp and school continue to gently educate children from pre-school to middle school to feel comfortable in, love, and protect the natural world.

Robie loved to share his ideas about the world and how to work within the system to get things done. He served as a member of Northampton's Conservation Commission for many years and was instrumental in saving Fitzgerald Lake and Elwell Island in Northampton. He wrote his Master's thesis on the diversity of bird species in the Northampton Meadows, identifying hundreds of species by song. He made upwards of a dozen films, some independent productions, some for The Nature Conservancy. He made films, not to head to Hollywood, but to help save the earth.

In the 1980's, Robie became Massachusetts Audubon's Legislative Director, (aka Chief Lobbyist), working with a team in the State House shepherding through key legislation with his quick mind, fluent grasp of politics, strategic fortitude, and sheer will. He wrote and was instrumental in the passage of the Inter-basin Transfer Act, which stopped the transfer of water from the Connecticut River to Boston, and he played a critical role in preventing the rerouting of Route 2 through Wendell State Forest. After retiring from his successful career with the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Robie was elected to the Amherst Selectboard in 2003, helping to guide the town he dearly loved. In that role he prioritized protection of designated conservation areas, historic sites, public school programs, and the acquisition of strategic areas that protected biodiversity.

Robie was an avid photographer amassing a slide collection of more than 10,000 slides of family and nature. He served as the family archivist, accumulating a rich variety of books, art, memorabilia and natural objects which he has now left to his children to manage. He took fierce pride in his children, played a mean folk guitar, and sang with friends for the sheer joy of it. He loved rock and classical music, kids, wild and domestic critters, and sharing good food with friends and family. He was a man of integrity who taught his children and hundreds of others, to love the earth, do good work, and live well...and he reminded us frequently that "The weather is always wonderful." He had a wonderful life and often proclaimed as much, with arms open wide and a huge smile on his face.

Robie is survived by his wife Anne Awad, his sister Beth Thomson of North Reading, his brother Warren Hubley of Northampton, his first wife Judith Pierce of Pelham, his daughter Gale Hubley (husband Stanley Swiercz) of Pelham, his sons Lincoln Hubley of Haydenville and Dylan Nelson of Ann Arbor, MI, his granddaughters Jessica and Katharine Swiercz of Pelham, and his stepchildren Yusef Awad (wife Muthoni Magua) and Asha Santos (husband Kevin). He was predeceased by his brother Bert Hubley, Jr., and his dear friends Dr. Lincoln Brower and Terry Blunt.

A memorial celebration will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to the Massachusetts Audubon Society - Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary - Land Protection Fund, 127 Combs Road, Easthampton, MA 01027.

Memorial register at
Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on July 3, 2019
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