Scientifically Researched Sites by Dr. Robert Gegear
In the fall of 2019, fourteen sites across Lincoln were assessed for habitat quality. Three Case Study (scientifically researched) sites were selected to be developed as functionally diverse habitat representing an array of ecological habitats, land use conditions, and aesthetics. Privately-owned properties, while not being formally studied, are also a priority to maximize connectivity to create a pollinator corridor.
In the first year at the three Case Study sites, Dr. Gegear, professor of biology at UMASS Dartmouth, conducted landscape-scale surveys of interactions between animals and flowers, with a particular focus on native bumblebees*. He also surveyed populations of other native bees and bumblebees. These surveys will be compared to historical records of native pollinator species in the area, in order to prioritize the conservation of species that are currently threatened but had a historic presence in Lincoln.
Dr. Gegear will conduct three years of survey, testing for increases in the presence of threatened bumblebee species. A summary report from Dr. Gegear on his findings will be available online after the study is completed.
*As a model system, [the Gegear Lab] primarily use bumblebees (Bombus spp.) because they have evolved the cognitive capacity to flexibly track food resources (nectar and pollen) in complex multi-sensory floral environments; they have rich co-evolutionary relationships with many native flowering plant species; they are highly amenable to experimental study of behavior under laboratory and field conditions; they play a critical role in maintaining ecosystem health and biodiversity; and they are easily identified to the species level under natural conditions by citizen scientists. (Taken from https://gegearlab.weebly.com/)
The Three Case Study Sites
The selected case study sites are Chapman Pasture, The LLCT Pollinator Meadow (People for Pollinator Meadow), and Browning’s Field. LLCT has undertaken significant management changes and planting efforts at Chapman Pasture and the Pollinator Meadow since 2020. A prescribed burn was conducted in Spring 2021 and 2022 at Chapman Pasture, reducing the thatch of non-native grasses in the field. LLCT observed moderate increases to plant diversity in the field. LLCT has conducted ongoing shrub, tree, and perennial plantings in the field.
Additional pollinator gardens have been planted throughout Lincoln between 2020-2023. These sites aim to expand the pollinator pathway, connecting habitat and providing public visibility to the project.
LLCT manages four sites in addition to the case study sites: Lincoln Station Garden, Codman Island, Codman Garden, and Stony Brook Trailhead. An additional three sites are planted and maintained by other local organizations. Birches School planted a garden at their campus in 2020. Hannan Agro Farms planted a garden in the Umbrello Field in 2023, and Lincoln Common Ground planted a garden near the MBTA parking lot in 2023. All sites are open for visitors. If visiting Birches School, please visit outside of regular school hours. No pets in the managed areas of these sites.