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Guide 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

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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!

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!

DCR and DAR are partnering with the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association and member nurseries across the state to offer Growing Wild Starter Kits that will help you plant a pollinator friendly garden and observe what you see throughout the seasons. Please visit one of the following nurseries to pick up your starter kit – please note the kits are being given out on a first come first served basis starting on Wednesday June 2nd so you may want to hurry!

  • Russell’s Garden Center – Wayland
  • Rogers Spring Hill Garden Center – Haverhill
  • Wolf Hill Garden Center – Ipswich
  • Weston Nurseries – Hopkinton
  • Randall’s Farm & Greenhouse – Ludlow
  • Ward’s Nursery - Great Barrington
  • Bemis Farms in Spencer MA
  • Whitney’s Garden Center in Cheshire MA

DCR will also be launching a series of interactive webinars year-round to stay connected after you have started your garden. We look forward to hearing what you created and what you are seeing and offering tips and guidance to make your garden a success.

Also coming soon will be the launch of our Growing Wild hub page where you will be able to record your garden in an interactive statewide pollinator habitat map. You will be able to upload information about garden location, size and plants and share pictures of your garden to show everyone the great work you have done. We hope this map will fill up over time as we add more pollinator friendly areas in our parks and people like you get involved.

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

Choosing Pollinator-Friendly Native Plants in Home Gardening or Landscaping
Tools for developing pollinator-friendly landscapes using native plant species

Mass Audubon Plant a Native Pollinator Garden -  https://www.massaudubon.org/learn/nature-wildlife/help-pollinators-thrive/plant-a-pollinator-garden

 More Than Just a Yard

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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