Ecology Challenge

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

Through the Challenge, launched in 2017, we partner with a public or nonprofit landowner to complete a stewardship project that restores or sustains native plant ecosystems. We bring native plant expertise and experience through our staff team and by recruiting a crew of volunteers to complete the defined project— providing much-needed knowledge and human resources greatly appreciated by our partner organization. There is no shortage of land in need of good management, but too often there are scarce resources to do so successfully. Our collaboration links our organizations through a common goal, while also providing our member-volunteers with learning opportunities. Funds donated to the Challenge directly support both the project and our programs year-round. We are proud to make our annual fundraiser a mission-focused event, one that achieves direct outcomes as a part of raising essential dollars for general operating support.

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    2020: A New Pollinator Garden for Waltham Fields Community Farm

    We teamed up with the Farm— providing technical assistance and the skills of our many volunteers— to restore 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. Planted in September, this garden is full of species that will provide both food and habitat to a wide variety of native pollinators, benefiting both crops on the farm as well as the surrounding natural landscape.

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    2019: A BioBlitz at Allandale Woods in Jamaica Plain

    Our BioBlitz on July 13 collected valuable data to assess the biodiversity of this 86 acre woodland for the Boston Parks Department. Primarily a secondary growth oak-hickory forest, it is also home to some exotic species that have spread from the nearby Arnold Arboretum. Our team identified over 170 species of flora, fauna, and fungi in just four hours. Of the 158 plant species, 75% were native. Notable natives included musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana); forest goldenrod (Solidago arguta); and scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). Shown here is spotted wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata).

  • More Species Data from Past Ecology Challenges

    Become an Ecology Challenge Volunteer & Fundraiser

    Thank you to our fantastic member-volunteers who have devoted their time, talent, and passion to all of our Challenges. We hope you will join us next year! 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 us.