Ecology Challenge 2020

The Ecology Challenge is our annual fundraiser and community service project. Each year, through the Challenge, we assist a community partner with an important stewardship project that they are not able to complete on their own. We bring our native plant expertise and experience, our staff team and volunteers, and together— with our community partner and with your support— we all make the world a better place!

This year, we have teamed up with the Waltham Fields Community Farm— to provide leadership, technical assistance, and the skills of our many volunteers— for the restoration of one of their perennial garden beds as a native plant pollinator garden. Diverse populations of native pollinators are key to sustaining functional and stable ecosystems, and these insects depend on native plants, sometimes exclusively, to supply their nutritional needs. Together with the Farm, we will establish a garden rich with plants that provide food and habitat to a wide variety of native pollinator species, benefiting both crops on the farm as well as the surrounding natural landscape.

Help us meet the Challenge. JOIN US with a gift!

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    We have raised $20,227 to date!

    OUR ORIGINAL GOAL = $20,000.

    Thank You for helping us to meet and exceed our goal! We are very happy to still accept your gift in support of the Challenge.

    Your support helps to fund the costs of this new pollinator garden, and provides much-needed funding for our programs throughout the year. Thank you, especially to our wonderful lead donor who set up the fundraising challenge, and matched the first $10,000 donated, dollar for dollar! Now, we are working to surpass our goal even more, to keep building our community programs. Your gift is tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.

    PHOTO: Finishing the planting on September 25!
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    Join the Challenge!

  • Project Benchmarks

    Project Planning

    Throughout August and September we assembled the project team, including staff and volunteers from both Grow Native Massachusetts and Waltham Fields Community Farm. Our work included site assessment, running soil tests, design and plant selection, plant procurement (always an interesting process when working with native plants) and overall project planning.

    September 25 – Planting Day!

    With our dedicated volunteer group (appropriately social distanced and masked) we finished our site preparation and pre-weeding work, and installed our garden full of native pollinator plants— emphasizing species of special value to bumblebees because of their importance to pollinating so many vegetable and fruit crops. We planted hundreds of plants representing approximately 25 species on this site of approximately 900 square feet. All in one day!

    October 6 – A Lessons Learned Webinar

    Together with the Farm, we are excited to document our combined efforts and results, creating a case study that can be used to educate our communities about the process of establishing a native plant pollinator garden, and to help more people understand the connections between native plant landscapes and organic farming. All donors to the Ecology Challenge were invited to this webinar to thank you, discuss the project in detail, show you the before and after, and share the lessons learned!