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Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches Fourth Year of Growing Wild Program Encouraging Residents to Preserve and Protect Pollinator Habitats

Healey-Driscoll Administration and Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association are Giving Free Pollinator Starter Kits at 17 Nurseries and Six Parks to Promote Statewide Movement
For immediate release:
5/31/2024
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • Department of Conservation & Recreation
  • Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches Fourth Year of Growing Wild Program Encouraging Residents to Preserve and Protect Pollinator Habitats

Brenna Galvin, DCR Press Secretary

Lincoln — Today, the Healey-Driscoll Administration launched the fourth year of Growing Wild Massachusetts, a program dedicated to engaging residents across the state in the important work of enhancing and preserving pollinator habitats. Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rebecca Tepper, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Brian Arrigo and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) Commissioner Ashley Randle kicked off this year’s program at Weston Nurseries in Lincoln to encourage customers to shop for native plants.  

"Planting native plants in our gardens is not just about aesthetics - it is a commitment to safeguarding Massachusetts’ natural habitats,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “Through the Growing Wild program, we are partnering with nurseries to transform lawns into a haven for local pollinators. I am eager to join other residents this planting season, planting and nurturing native plants in my own backyard. Together, these actions will ultimately help preserve biodiversity in Massachusetts.”  

As part of Growing Wild Massachusetts, DCR, MDAR, and Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association (MNLA) have partnered with 17 local nurseries to offer free native pollinator garden starter kits. Customers can find kits at nurseries starting on Friday, May 31, while supplies last. These kits include plants and wildflower seeds indigenous to Massachusetts, as well as educational resources that can be found on DCR’s website and social media platforms. Gardeners are encouraged to share their pollinator progress using #GrowWildMA. Additionally, starter kits will be available at DCR properties on the following days and times:

·       Middlesex Fells State Reservation on Tuesday June 4 at 10 a.m.    

·       Lawrence Heritage State Park on Tuesday June 4 at 10 a.m.

·       Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on Wednesday June 5 at 10 a.m.  

·       Mt. Greylock Reservation on Thursday June 6 at 10 a.m.    

·       Holyoke Heritage State Park on Thursday June 6 at 10 a.m.    

·       Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center on Thursday June 6 at 10 a.m.     

“We’re thrilled to kick off the fourth year of Growing Wild, a program that enables us to partner with other agencies and nurseries across the state to give families and residents the tools to grow their own native pollinator gardens,” said DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo. “By providing these free native pollinator kits at nurseries and parks across the state, we are fostering a shared sense of stewardship of our public lands and natural ecosystems, nurturing a brighter, greener future one garden at a time.” 

“Over the past four years, the Growing Wild initiative has allowed us to showcase the beauty and importance of native plants and how residents can help support our nurseries and greenhouses by selecting pollinator-friendly species at their locations,” said MDAR Commissioner Ashley Randle. “We know the complimentary kits provided will jumpstart the creation of more pollinator gardens across Massachusetts, and we are grateful to our sister agency at DCR and our partners at MNLA for continued promotion of this program.” 

Pollinators, including bees, birds, bats, butterflies, and others, are essential to Massachusetts' agriculture, supporting over 45 percent of its commodities by aiding in crop pollination and food production. Alongside their agricultural contributions, these species enrich the state's ecosystems and provide valuable products like honey, propolis, royal jelly, and wax. Despite their importance, some pollinator species encounter challenges such as habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and improper use of pesticides. 

DCR, MDAR, and MNLA are working to increase pollinator habitats to support their vital role in food production by promoting and protecting these habitats, planting pollinator gardens, managing wildflower meadows, and preserving limited-mow zones. The agencies urge Massachusetts residents to contribute to these efforts by creating their own pollinator gardens using the Growing Wild starter kits. 

As part of its ongoing work to mitigate the effects of climate change at its properties and within its operations, DCR is implementing low mow zones, planting pollinator gardens and managing wildflower meadows at properties across the state. This includes pollinator gardens at Natural Bridge State Park, a managed meadow at Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, and a low mow zone at Ponkapoag Golf Course, among other places.

Over the last three years, Growing Wild has distributed 5,825 kits, 11,650 plants, and 5,825 seed packets, resulting in over six acres of pollinator habitat. The creation of these incredible spaces reflects the significant impact that cultivating pollinator habitats have on the health of natural ecosystems and supporting local biodiversity. Additionally, the giveaway events are expanding to more areas of the state to reach more communities.  

Learn more about the Growing Wild Massachusetts movement, how to get involved, and how to register for the program by visiting: Growing Wild - MNLA Plant Something Massachusetts

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Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Launches Fourth Year of Growing Wild Program Encouraging Residents to Preserve and Protect Pollinator Habitats

  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

    EEA seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.
  • Department of Conservation & Recreation 

    DCR manages state parks and oversees more than 450,000 acres throughout Massachusetts. It protects, promotes, and enhances the state’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
  • Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources 

    The Department’s mission is to cultivate a robust and equitable agricultural economy, promote a safe and resilient food system, and preserve a healthy environment for Massachusetts farmers, animals, and consumers.
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