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Butterfly

NATIVE PLANTS & POLLINATORS

Why are native plants important?

It is generally known that native plants are the best at feeding native pollinators and wildlife, such as local butterflies, bumblebees, moths and birds.  They are beautiful, are important for biodiveristy, and are resilient in the face of drought, flooding, and temperature challenges.  

 

You may be surprised to know that 96% of Native American songbirds feed their young an almost exclusive diet of caterpillars, as discovered in a study by Doug Tallamy (detailed in his book Bringing Nature Home Without native plants, our songbirds would have nothing to eat (click on the songbird to the right to learn more).

Where can you find a list of native plants to grow in your yard?

Grow Native Massachusetts has a great list (click on the image to the right). 

Where can you buy native plants?

Although many nurseries and big box stores sell native plants, often they have been grown with pesticides.  The pesticide residue from treated plants can harm, and even kill, pollinators and other beneficial insects.  Plants grown with the systemic neonicitinoid "neonics" contain the toxic pesticides in all plant parts.  So the pollen and nector foraged by pollinators is toxic to them.

It is important to buy native plants only from sources known to be pesticide free.  Grow Native Massachusetts has an extensive list of sources.  You can also find a great selection at the Native Plant Trust  (see link to the right)

 

Here is a link to "Buying Bee-Safe Plants" from the Xerces Society.

What can you do if your local nursery is not on the Grow Native Massachusetts list of native plant sources?

Talk to them and let them know you want plants free of pesticide contamination.  Ask the nursery personnal what, if any,  pollinator safe practices they use.  Watch this webinar "Buying Bee-Safe Plants - How You Can Help" for tips on how to have a conversation.  If the nursery personnel are too busy to talk, download and leave them a copy of "Offering Bee-Safe Plants:  A Guide For Nurseries".

Grow your own native plants!

Gather seeds responsibly from native plants growing locally, check out the Seed Library at your local library, or buy seeds from bee-friendly seed companies.   Tutorials can be found at the Wild Seed Project's How to Grow From Seed and Cornell University's Growing Native Plants From Seed

 

Learn about this process here Winter Seed Sowing

Fresh New Leaf

E X P E R T S   W E   T R U S T

Doug Tallamy

Watch  Nature's Best Hope:  A Virtual Evening with Professor Doug Tallamy by clicking on the link to the right.

Learn about Doug Tallamy's Homegrown National Park®, a grassroots call-to-action to regenerate biodiversity and ecosystem function by planting native plants and creating new ecological networks.

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Rebecca McMackin

Watch Rebecca McMackin's TED Talk:  Let Your Garden Grow Wild - Rebecca McMackin by clicking on the link to the right.

Rebecca McMackin www.rebeccamcmackin.com shows the beauty of letting your garden run wild, surveying the success she's had increasing biodiversity even in the middle of New York City — and offers tips for cultivating a garden that can be home to birds, bees, butterflies and more.

Jessica Walliser

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser www.jessicawalliser.com is a co-founder of the popular gardening website SavvyGardening.com.  She is a former contributing editor for Organic Gardening magazine and a regular contributor to many national gardening publications.  She is the author of the Amazon best-seller Good Bug, Bad Bug: Who’s Who, What They Do, and How to Manage Them Organically.

Listen to "Jennifer Walliser: On Attracting Beneficial Bugs" podcast

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Dr. Robert Gegear
 

Dr. Robert Gegear, an Assistant Professor at UMass Dartmouth, has conducted extensive and important research on pollinator/native plant ecological systems.  His National Science Foundation work through Worcester Polytechnical Institute resulted in the establish-ment of the Beecology Citizens Science Project (beecology.wpi.edu) for which he received the 2018 Regional Impact Award from the Native Plant Trust.  His native plant lists focus on supporting native bees at risk as well as butterflies.  He is currently working to gather information on moths.   His website, including native plant lists: Plants for pollinators at risk

Click on the link to the right to see his Native Pollinators talk at the Concord Free Library on March 29, 2023

Native Plant YouTube Channel

Visit the Native Plant YouTube Channel for more talks by Doug Tallamy and others.

Green Satin

R E S O U R C E S

Here are some organizations that protect and support our pollinators and the native plants that nourish them.  Please check back often as this list will grow.

A program to promote sustainable landscapes by encouraging both private landowners and public land managers to adopt practices that protect our health and environment.

Inspiring people to action across the Commonwealth, on behalf of native plants and the diversity of life they support

Public or private pesticide-free corridors of native plants that provide nutrition and habitat for pollinating insects and birds.

Striving to support urban pollinators through habitat creation and community education

A volunteer coalition of gardeners, native plant and pollinator enthusiasts who have come together to promote nature-based solutions for the environment

Dedicated to sharing information and resources for residents of West Newbury to integrate native plants, support pollinators and work to eradicate invasive plants.

Protecting natural areas and farmland around the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers

The nation’s first plant conservation organization and the only one solely focused on New England’s native plants

Green Leaves

More

Find a Pollinator Group Near You

The Mass Pollinator Network supports the growing number of individuals, communities, organizations, and research groups working to protect pollination systems across the Commonwealth.  This clickable map displays community groups and conservation organizations across the state that are focused on improving pollinator health. Also displayed are towns that have passed pollinator-friendly resolutions and related local policies.

Seed Libraries in Massachusetts

Seed libraries can be a great source of

free seeds.  This is a list of ones located

in Massachusetts. Check out one near

you to see if they have seeds of locally

grown native plants. 

 

If you know a seed library but don't see it listed, please contact  gcfmwebmaster@gmail.com and let us know so we can post it.

NAME
ADDRESS
TOWN
West Acton Citizens Library
21 Windsor Ave
Acton
Memorial Hall Library
2 North Main Street
Andover
Beverly Public Library
32 Essex Street
Beverly
Boston Public Library
700 Boylston Street
Boston
Newbury Town Library
0 Lunt Street
Byfield
Easthampton Public Library
9 Park Street
Easthampton
Framingham Public Library
49 Lexington Street
Framingham
Georgetown Public Library
2 Maple Street
Georgetown
Grafton Public Library
35 Grafton Common
Grafton
Harvard Public Library
4 Pond Road
Harvard
Reuben Hoar Library
35 Shattuck Street
Littleton
Mattapoisett Free Public Library
7 Barstow Street
Mattapoisett
Medford Public Library
111 High Street
Medford
Melrose Public Library
263 West Foster Street
Melrose
Norwell Public Library
64 South Street
Norwell
Peabody Institute Library
82 Main Street
Peabody
Reading Public Library
64 Middlesex Ave
Reading
Gaylord Memorial Library
47 College Street
South Hadley
Suzanne Davis Seed Library
95 Feeding Hills Road
Southwick
Conant Public Library
4 Meetinghouse Hill Road
Sterling
Goodnow Library
21 Concord Road
Sudbury
Tewksbury Public Library
300 Chandler Street
Tewksbury
Topsfield Town Library
1 South Common Street
Topsfield
J. V. Fletcher Library
50 Main Street
Westford
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