Tag Archives: biodiversity

Common Milkweed © Laura Ferraguto

Take 5: Native Plants that Pollinators Love

It’s not an exaggeration to say that the biodiversity of our entire ecosystem depends on pollinators. Animals like birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, and other insects feed on plants, and in doing so, help 80% of the world’s plant species reproduce.

Over the last few decades, pollinator populations have declined dramatically due to climate change, pesticide exposure, and loss of habitat and food sources. Fortunately, we can help. One major way to make a positive impact on pollinators—and beautify an outdoor space—is to plant a native pollinator garden.

Even small outdoor spaces can provide quality habitat and help us fight biodiversity loss. A pollinator garden can range from a decorative planter with native flowers to small flowerbeds or larger vegetable gardens interspersed with flowers. 

There are several ways you can learn more and start making a difference in your backyard or neighborhood:

Enjoy these five photos of pollinator-friendly native plants and let us know in the comments how you plan to support pollinators this year!

Joe Pye Weed by Martha Gach
Joe Pye Weed by Martha Gach
Buttonbush © Cristina Hartshorn
Buttonbush © Cristina Hartshorn
Cardinal Flower © Ed Anzures
Cardinal Flower © Ed Anzures
Common Milkweed © Laura Ferraguto
Common Milkweed © Laura Ferraguto
Cranberry Bush Viburnum © Laura Bryan
Cranberry Bush Viburnum © Laura Bryan

EDIT: An earlier version of this post included a photo of Echinacea purpurea (coneflower). While great for pollinators and native to the Midwest United States, it is not native to New England.

Take the City Nature Challenge!

Ready for a competitive weekend of exploration in nature? You’re invited to compete worldwide for the Boston area team in the upcoming City Nature Challenge! The City Nature Challenge (CNC) encourages everyone within the I-495 corridor to get outside and record as many nature observations as possible. Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries across the eastern side of the state are gearing up and excited to support the annual bio-blitz with our visitors.

This international citizen science project takes place Friday April 27 to Monday April 30, where cities worldwide compete to explore and record all kinds of plants, animals, fungi, and even microorganisms in their area using the free iNaturalist app. All you need to do is take pictures of your observations and post them to the app!

Photo Credit: Amy Letourneau

The City Nature Challenge is a great opportunity to collaborate with your community, Mass Audubon, and scientists to properly map and analyze biodiversity data in the Boston area. Several Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries will be actively exploring and recording with visitors.

Participating Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuaries include:

  1. Blue Hills Trailside Museum, Milton
  2. Boston Nature Center, Mattapan
  3. Habitat Education Center & Wildlife Sanctuary, Belmont
  4. Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary, Lincoln
  5. Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary, Natick
  6. Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield
  7. Joppa Flats Education Center, Newburyport
  8. Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Sharon
  9. Museum of American Bird Art, Canton
  10. Stony Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, Norfolk
  11. North River Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield
  12. Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary, Marshfield

More Ways to Get Involved

You don’t have to observe on your own. Join the BNC BioBlitz program at the Boston Nature Center on Saturday, April 28, to participate in the CNC and learn how scientists sample and use field guides.

Drumlin Farm in Lincoln will have various visitor education opportunities as well, connecting visitors to the app and working together to log observations on guided walks.

And, if you’ll be taking part in Mass Audubon’s Statewide Volunteer Day on Saturday, April 28, you’ll have even more opportunities to improve the environment by adding plant, animal, fungi, and insect sightings.

Participating is easy! Just upload photos of your observations to the iNaturalist App.