Growing Wild Massachusetts

Welcome to the Home Page of Growing Wild Massachusetts.

This is your source for information about how you can join the movement to reverse the loss of biological diversity, foster and protect endangered species and add to the natural beauty of our Commonwealth right in your own backyard!

Table of Contents

DCR is Growing Wild for Pollinators – Learn How

growing wild

DCR is Growing Wild for Pollinators by enhancing our landscapes to benefit pollinators and the environment. For the past few years, DCR staff have been installing pollinator gardens, managing meadows to enhance native plant diversity and converting portions of lawn into low mow zones. These habitats are installed and maintained following DCR’s Pollinator Habitats and Gardens Best Management Practices and with the support of DCR staff, partners and Friend’s groups.

meadow

DCR staff will be installing Growing Wild signs to highlight these areas. We invite you to visit a DCR Growing Wild site near you to learn more!

Pollinator plants being installed by Friends of Harold Parker State Forest – plants provided by Oakhaven Sanctuary, Native Plant Nursery & Consulting

Pollinator plants being installed near the restored dam by the Friends of Harold Parker State Forest – plants provided by Oakhaven Sanctuary, Native Plant Nursery & Consulting

By Growing Wild DCR is not only improving habitats for pollinators! These habitats are also important for our local birds, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles. In addition, by reducing mowing we are using less fossil fuel such as gasoline and diesel, increasing storm water and carbon absorption by the land and improving air quality!

DCR’s efforts support the Commonwealth’s Leading by Example Program’s Sustainable Landscape Initiative .

Growing Wild for Pollinators – How you can help!

Please join us for the celebration of the 2023 Growing Wild Season Launch on June 2nd at 10am at Bemis Farms Nursery - 29 N Brookfield Rd, Spencer, MA.
wildflowers

Join the Growing Wild Movement and register your garden at https://www.plantsomethingma.org/

Learn about the Native Seed Mix we are offering in our starter kits called “New England Showy Wildflower Mix”  at https://newp.com/product/new-england-showy-wildflower-mix/

Starting on June 2nd, DCR will once again be working with local nurseries to offer pollinator garden starter kits free of charge to customers.  The kit contains two native pollinator friendly plants, a Growing Wild yard sign and a packet of native wildflower seeds.  Please note that the kits are offered on a first come, first served basis and they move fast! Please plan to visit one of the following nurseries to pick up your free kit:

Spencer, MA                     Bemis Farms Nursery

Northborough, MA          Bigelow Nurseries

Granby, MA                     Dave's Natural Garden

Plymouth, MA                  Dutchies Greenhouses

Southborough, MA           Gulbankian Farms

Dennis, MA                      Hart Farm Nursery

Scituate, MA                     Kennedy Country Gardens 

Grafton, MA                     Perreault Nurseries

Ludlow, MA                     Randalls Farm

Haverhill, MA                   Rodgers Spring Hill Garden and Farm Center

Falmouth, MA                  Soares Flower Garden Nursery

Hingham, MA                   Weston Nursery

Hopkinton, MA                Weston Nursery

Chelmsford, MA               Weston Nursery

Cheshire, MA                    Whitney Farms

Conway, MA                     Wilder Hill Gardens

Ipswich, MA                     Wolf Hill Gardens

DCR will also be hosting Growing Wild events at three DCR Park locations where you can pick up a starter kit, talk to staff about your garden and spend your day in the great outdoors.   Please find information on these events below:

Middlesex Fells State Reservation in Stoneham – Wednesday June 7th, 10am.   address is 4 Woodland Rd, Stoneham, MA 02180

Mt. Greylock Reservation – Thursday June 8th, 10am.  address is 30 Rockwell Rd, Lanesborough, MA 01237

Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve  - Thursday June 8th, 10am address is 131 Waquoit Hwy, East Falmouth, MA 02536

Growing Wild with Pollinators

butterfly

Pollinators are mostly insects (but also some animals) that play a critical role by carrying pollen from plant to plan to create seeds that will become the next generation of plants.  

Some plants can pollinate with pollen that is blown around by the wind, but a huge percentage of the plants that we see every day (including up to 75% of all flowering plants and 35% of the plants that we eat) rely upon insects for this vital function that sustains life. In Massachusetts we have many species of native insects that thrive on and support our native plant communities. 

Unfortunately, pollinators are having a tough time right now.  Loss of native plant habitat, the spread of invasive plant and insect species, climate change impacts on native species and the improper use of some pesticides is threatening our pollinators. 

Our native plants and animals will have a hard time thriving if pollinators continue to decline.  Growing Wild for Pollinators is one way to help.

Growing Wild is Growing Natives

Being native to an area gives these plants, animals and pollinators strength to endure challenges that arise in their local area.  For example, the dry, hot conditions of the Southwest are home to native plants and animals that include highly specialized species like cacti and lizards that can thrive in those demanding conditions.   

Here in Massachusetts our native plants, pollinators and animals have created communities that define the character of our state in much the same way, from the dune grasses, scrub oak and cranberry bogs of the east, to the deciduous forests and wetlands of central Massachusetts to the alpine communities of the Berkshires.  Growing Wild Massachusetts is helping to grow plants that are native to our state.  

Resources to Get You Started Growing Wild

Related

State Environmental Agencies Kick-Off Third Year of Growing Wild Pollinator Habitat Campaign Throughout the Commonwealth 
DCR, MDAR, and MNLA partner to continue the statewide movement encouraging residents to preserve and protect pollinators with free pollinator habitat starter kits for Massachusetts residents  

DCR Natural Resources Program
Focuses on the identification, conservation, and stewardship of ecological resources

Growing Wild is a collaborative effort of the following partners:

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs – Leading By Example Program

Mass Wildlife

Mass Department of Agricultural Resources

Mass Audubon

Mass Department of Mental Health

Mass Department of Corrections

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