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.

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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!

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The Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Agricultural Resources want to help you start Growing Wild!

This spring, DCR will once again be working with local nurseries to offer pollinator garden starter kits free of charge to customers.  Please note that the kits are offered on a first come, first served basis and they move fast!  Kits will become available starting on June 1st at the following nursery locations: 

  • Dighton:                    Araujo Farms & Greenhouses 
  • Spencer:                     Bemis Farms Nursery 
  • Northborough:         Bigelow Nurseries Inc.
  • Granby:                     Dave's Natural Garden
  • Southborough:        Gulbankian Farms Garden Ctr and florist
  • Saugus:                       Little Brook Farm and Garden
  • Framingham:            Native Plant Trust
  • Grafton:                     Perreault Nurseries
  • Haverhill:                   Rogers Spring Hill Garden & Farm Center
  • Falmouth:                  Soares Flower Garden Nursery 
  • Hopkinton:               Weston Nurseries of Hopkinton 2
  • Hingham:                  Weston Nurseries of Hingham
  • Chelmsford:             Weston Nurseries of Chelmsford
  •  Ipswich:                    Wolf Hill 

Later this summer, DCR and DAR will be launching a series of interactive webinars year-round to stay connected with people who picked up a pollinator garden starter kit at one of our partner nurseries this spring. We look forward to hearing what you created and what you are seeing and offering tips and guidance to make your garden a success.   We hope to work with the nurseries again in the spring of 2023 to offer starter kits again and hopefully to even more people.  So please continue to check this page for updates and announcements about this offer.  

Growing Wild with Pollinators

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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

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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