Ecology Challenge 2019

The Ecology Challenge is our annual fundraiser, coupled with a community stewardship project to support biodiversity.

Through our Ecology Challenge, we raise much-needed funds to support our community-based programs. This year we raised $17,595 to support our work year-round to promote native landscapes for the benefit of biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. Challenge participants help us raise the dollars to meet this goal, while also gaining the opportunity to build skills and knowledge about ecology and native plant landscapes.

This Year’s Community Service Event:
Every year, our Challenge culminates with a community service project. This year, our BioBlitz held on July 13, collected valuable data to assess the biodiversity of the Allandale Woods in Jamaica Plain. At 86 acres, Allandale Woods is the second largest intact woodland within the city of Boston. Primarily a secondary growth oak-hickory forest, it is also home to some uncommon exotic species that have spread from the nearby Arnold Arboretum. We identified and counted as many species of plants, animals, and fungi as we could over a four hour period. This data, valuable to current and future biodiversity assessments of this special landscape, is being shared with the Boston Parks Department (who owns and manages the property), the New England Botanical Club Herbarium, and other community groups.

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    Interesting Discoveries from the BioBlitz

    Our team identified over 170 species of flora, fauna, and fungi at Allandale Woods in Jamaica Plain. Of the 158 plant species, 75% were native. Some of the notable natives included musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana), more often present at moister locations; forest goldenrod (Solidago arguta), a species more common in woodlands than meadows; and scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). Shown here is spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata). We were also delighted to find American toads present.

    "I am so excited about this project. This is the first time we have had any real data about the species present on this important piece of land, and documenting what is here today is so important to guiding future management decisions."
          — Paul Sutton, Boston Parks Department

  • Become an Ecology Challenge Fundraiser and Participant!

    Thank you to our fantastic member-volunteers who devoted their time, talent, and passion to this year’s Challenge. We hope you will join us next year! Participation is fun and simple; it includes:

    • Raising money to support Grow Native's programs by asking friends, family, and colleagues to donate through an online fundraising platform, much like you would for a walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, or similar event.
    • Committing to raise a minimum of $300. This level ensures that our investment in creating this event generates needed funding to support our programs and work.
    • No prior fundraising experience is required. We will teach you how the fundraising platform works, and offer training and tips on soliciting donations.
    • During the BioBlitz you will help identify species of plants, animals, and fungi. You do not need previous naturalist experience. We will help you develop the ID skills you need, and we will be working in teams during that day.

    If you love native plants, our programs, and believe in the power of community service, we are always looking to build next year’s Ecology Challenge team. Please contact Karen Gibson, Manager of Member Engagement.

    Species Data from Past Ecology Challenges