Over our first four years we built a significant number of programs, all while operating as a completely volunteer organization. Evenings with Experts, our public lecture series at the Cambridge Public Library, quickly became a widely respected series throughout the state and well beyond— bringing expert knowledge of ecology, botany, and natural history to both serious gardeners and landscape professionals. Claudia began traveling across Massachusetts, giving workshops about native plant landscaping and building greater citizen engagement in the issue. For three years we ran Festival Floralia, an annual fundraiser and plant sale, bringing our community together by sharing a love of plants, music, and food. The demands of operating a growing organization were now stretching us!
Our Move to the Waltham Field Station
In 2014, we took up offices at the former University of Massachusetts field station in Waltham and hired our first staff person, later adding a second staff member in 2017. We conducted a major invasive plant removal project where, historically, there was once a well-known “Rose Garden,” transitioning this abandoned horticultural site to an emerging native plant demonstration garden. We re-invented our Native Plant Sale, making it one of the biggest such sales in New England at which we sell over 4,000 native plants typically representing well over 100 species. We run a variety of Workshops and Field Walks each year, for both members and the public. In 2019, we created this newly redesigned website, chock full of valuable resources and educational materials that are freely available to all. Despite our modest staff size and budget, we do as much as we can to support the creation and restoration of native plant landscapes in both residential and public community settings. And we deliver a tremendous amount of programming for an organization of our size!
2020: Celebrating Our First Decade
In ten years, awareness about the importance of native plant landscapes to biodiversity and ecosystem health has increased dramatically. Our “signature” program, Evenings with Experts, has now reached more than 13,000 in-person attendees or online viewers. Our membership, which provides significant funding for our programs, has grown to close to 1,000 households. More than 20% of our members are active volunteers who help, or have helped, to run our programs and events. With the reach of our extensive website, we are educating more than 30,000 people each year and inspiring them to action.
We know we are making a difference— that our vision and hard work are “moving the needle” of public consciousness. Today, with the continued loss of biodiversity and effects of climate change, our mission is more important than ever. We celebrate our first decade and look forward to all that we will accomplish in our next.