This Toolkit shows a comprehensive site design for the Birches School in Lincoln, MA. The site was previously a private residence. Divided into several areas, the design provides models for garden landscapes and lawn improvements that are readily adaptable. Habitat conditions, best practices, and instructions for how to convert your lawn into habitat are included. The Birches School site will begin its transformation in the fall of 2020 and is expected to be completed in the spring of 2021. As the demonstration site for The Lincoln Pollinator Action Plan, LLCT and Birches will provide opportunities for engagement as the site progresses.
2020 Spring and Summer Plant Kits
Curated by Evan Abramson and Dr. Robert Gegear, and using the Birches School demonstration site as the model, LLCT offered starter kits to our members in 2020. The plants selected targeted at-risk species of bumblebees and Lepidoptera in northeastern Massachusetts. These resources are helpful to members who purchased kits and to anyone interested in planting functionally diverse pollinator habitat.
- Use the Garden + Lawn Toolkit above as a guide for installing a garden and transforming your lawn.
- List of Plants offered as part of the 2020 Spring Plant Kits
- List of Plants offered as part of the 2020 Summer Plant Kits
- Combined Plant List (LLCT Plant Kits and Birches Design), with additional information on where to source plants.
- How to Plant Willows (PDF) – Use these directions for information about how and where to plant willow cuttings. (Note: Willows are extremely important on the landscape; they are the earliest flowering tree in most of North America and provide critical pollen and nectar for emerging bees.)
Filmed by The Natural World in Summer 2020 for LLCT, a virtual alternative to an in-person program. Learn to identify seven species of bumblebees spotted in Lincoln, including the basics of bumblebee anatomy and behavior. Heartfelt thanks to Norman Levey for creating this program.
Recorded by Dr. Robert Gegear, this 30 minute tutorial walks you through the ins and outs of Beecology, a web application where you can upload bumblebee videos for identification. Submissions to Beecology contribute to Dr. Gegear’s research, as he tracks bumblebee populations around Lincoln and analyzes bee behavior (pollen or nectar collection), plant interactions (what species of plants are visited by which species of bees), and more.
In early March 2020, Evan Abramson gave a great lecture on planting for pollinators and biodiversity. Evan also shared preliminary plans for the Demonstration Pollinator Garden at Birches School (see the Garden and Lawn Toolkit for final designs). Thank you to Lincoln Cable and Jim Cunningham for recording the presentation.
In January 2020, Dr. Gegear kicked off LLCT’s Pollinator Action Plan with a great overview of pollination systems and functional diversity. As part of this three year LLCT initiative, Dr. Gegear will be surveying bumblebee populations in Lincoln and in coordination with Evan Abramson, recommending habitat enhancements and targeted management strategies to best support increased diversity of bumblebees in Lincoln. Thank you to Weston Media Center for recording the presentation.
2020 Interactive Map of Pollinator Spaces in Lincoln
As Lincoln’s Pollinator Corridor continues to grow, we celebrate the more than 50 participants who planted nearly 2,000 native, pollinator-supporting plants around Lincoln and in surrounding communities in 2020. Check out this map to see a visual representation of the corridor! Names and addresses have been removed for privacy reasons. Also, please note that these sites are private homes and gardens. LLCT’s Pollinator Meadow is open to the public and located in the field behind the tennis courts at the Lincoln Public Schools. Once completed, there will be opportunities to explore the Birches School Demonstration Garden as well.
Action Plan Report: Coming November 2020
The Lincoln Pollinator Action Plan report being prepared by Evan Abramson, principal at Landscape Interactions, will discuss the benefits of protecting and restoring functionally diverse, native pollinator habitat for improving biodiversity and climate resilience. It will include information on three Case Study sites in Lincoln, Toolkits for different ecological conditions, and a map demonstrating connectivity across Lincoln to build a corridor of restored pollination systems – a Pollinator Pathway! Additionally, a summary report on the Case Study sites from Dr. Robert Gegear at UMASS Dartmouth will be uploaded here in December, 2022.
Best Practices and Evidence-based Plant Recommendations (Updated 2020)
At Dr. Gegear’s talk for the LLCT in January 2020, he provided a checklist that one can use to evaluate whether or not a garden or landscape, or plans for one, meet the requirements of providing functionally diverse habitat. Functional diversity is a critical measure of an ecosystem’s productivity and stability, and one measure of a biodiverse ecosystem. Can you check off all the boxes?
Before you start planting, follow these recommendations from the LLCT to make sure your garden or landscape will be an ideal habitat:
- Stop all pesticide use.
- Reduce your mowing frequency.
- Dedicate less area to lawn and more to native flowering plants that sustain at-risk pollinators.
- Allow lawn “weeds” like dandelion to grow; they are an important food source for bumblebees!
- Create habitat in your lawn. Follow the steps in the Garden + Lawn Toolkit.
- Manage and remove invasive species.
- Do not use cultivars! Many produce beautiful flowers, but poor quality pollen and nectar — or none at all.
- Use neonicotinoid and pesticide-free soil, seed, plugs, and plants. Always ask your source if their products are free and clear of harmful chemicals.
- Source seed and plants that are native to Massachusetts and New England.
- Choose plants that provide nectar and/or pollen, function as a host plant, or provide nesting habitat for at-risk wild pollinators, from early spring through late fall.
- Discuss your landscaping objectives with your landscaper; make sure they will not apply or pull anything without your knowledge and consent!
- Eliminate light pollution after dark by installing motion sensors. Try using yellow light bulbs instead of white; yellow is a wavelength moths don’t respond to.