For each Case Study (scientifically researched) site, as well as the Birches School demonstration site, a ‘Toolkit’ has been developed and published in the Lincoln Pollinator Action Plan report. Each site will serve as a representative landscape typology for other similar sites across the Town of Lincoln. By applying the planting designs, plant lists, implementation guidelines and maintenance strategies from each site to ecologically similar sites, the ‘building blocks’ for a town-wide pollinator corridor have been created. LLCT is excited to publish these toolkits so that this “pollinator pathway” can be expanded throughout Lincoln by community groups and private landowners, and adopted in surrounding communities through our affiliation with the Native Pollinator Task Force of the MetroWest Conservation Alliance.
- planting palettes and plant lists
- habitat establishment, and management and maintenance strategies
- meadow establishment and management guidelines
- deer exclusion/plant protection strategies
- invasive plant management strategies
What makes these toolkits different from other planting kits or seed mixes?
Most pollinator kits have focused on overall abundance –“seeing lots of bees” — rather than the wide range of wild pollinators seen in a biodiverse and resilient ecosystem. The same problem arises from habitats planted with generic pollinator seed packets. While we see “lots of flowers,” those flowers are often providing resources for only a few common species of pollinators, and they don’t satisfy the full nectar, pollen, and nesting requirements of a functionally diverse habitat.
The Toolkits designed by Evan Abramson of LandscapeInteractions are based on scientific study by Dr. Robert Gegear, professor of biology at UMASS Dartmouth, of the plants and pollinating animals native to Massachusetts and New England. The Toolkits represent a variety of landscape typologies and ecological habitats that are found in our geographic area and specifically in Lincoln. They are designed to increase biodiversity and climate resiliency.
Commercial planting kits and seed packets often include cultivars, as well as plant species that are non-native to New England. Different bees pollinate different plants based on behaviors and traits that have co-evolved over millions of years. A species-rich ecosystem contains a multitude of specialized relationships between certain species of plants and pollinators. It is essential that we provide the right native plants for our specific species of bees (e,g, bumblebees, mining bees, sweat bees, etc.), butterflies and moths, and other pollinating animals. As one declines, so does the other; and as one is encouraged, the other is revitalized.
Additionally, it is critically important to source seeds, plugs, and plants that are free of neonicotinoids. Most plants and seed purchased from nurseries contain these chemicals. “Neonics,” as they are commonly referred to, are a family of insecticides used in agriculture and gardening products that includes acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Neonics act on certain kinds of receptors in the nerve synapse and are more toxic to invertebrates, like insects.
Toolkits can be found within the Lincoln Pollinator Action Plan. Below are excerpted PDFs for each toolkit.
This excerpt from the Lincoln Pollinator Action Plan includes the toolkits for the three scientifically researched case study sites, as well as the Birches School Garden and Lawn Toolkit. The individual toolkits are excerpted below.
Garden + Lawn Toolkit
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.
Meadow and Woodland Toolkit
This Toolkit shows a comprehensive conceptual site design for the People for Pollinators Meadow in Lincoln, MA. The site has been dedicated to pollinator habitat since 2016 and already demonstrates good functional diversity. Additional plantings and changes to management strategies will further increase this site’s functional diversity and value to at-risk bumblebees and Lepidoptera.
Old Field Toolkit
This Toolkit demonstrates a pollinator-friendly approach to habitat restoration in a former pasture. Chapman Pasture was grazed by sheep for over forty years. However, the majority of the site consists of non-native grasses. Following the recommendations in the toolkit, LLCT’s goal for Chapman Pasture is to restore native grasses, forbs, and graminoids to the field, while also adding shrubs and trees around rock outcrops and near the wet swales. The toolkit provides a model for potential replication on other fields in Lincoln and beyond.
Wet Meadow Toolkit
The Wet Meadow Toolkit offers a model for Upper Browning Fields. This property is owned and managed by the Lincoln Conservation Department, and a 2020 survey by Dr. Robert Gegear determined that this site is already highly diverse in terms of native plant species and wildlife. The toolkit proposes several additional plantings and some minor changes to mowing regimes to further increase the wet meadow’s functional diversity.
(May 2022) In Spring 2022, LLCT offered a third pollinator plant sale. A curated “perennial” kit was offered which included 8 species of native, pollinator-supporting perennials. A selection of trees and shrubs were also offered a la carte. Limited supply of perennials were also offered a la carte. In 2022 LLCT sourced plants from Bagley Perennials, Bigelow Nurseries, and the Native Plant Trust. Pick up for plant orders will be on June 3rd in Lincoln, MA. Participants will receive information about pick up closer to the date.
In Spring 2021, LLCT once again offered planting kits to our membership. Plants were selected for their value to at-risk species of bumblebees and lepidoptera. As part of the Pollinator Action Plan, LLCT ordered a variety of trees, shrubs, perennials, forbes, and grasses that will be planted on conservation land (at the case study sites) and in two new demonstration gardens in Lincoln. Additionally, LLCT teamed up with the Water Department/Water Commission to offer rain barrels through The Great American Rain Barrel Company’s community purchasing program.
- List of Plants offered as part of the 2021 Spring Plant Kits and Suggested Kits Based on Soil Conditions (PDF)
- Information about the Rain Barrel Program and a List of Products that were offered (PDF)
- General Information About the Plant Kits (PDF)
Instructions adapted from material prepared by Jane Gruba-Chevalier for the 2020 Birches School planting day. Rain Barrel Tips prepared by Ruth Ann Hendrickson, Water Commissioner.
- Instructions on Planting New Plants (PDF)
- Excerpt from Lincoln Pollinator Action Plan on Best Management Practices, Improving Biodiversity in Lawns, and Establishing Meadows (PDF)
- Rain Barrel Installation Tips (PDF)
- Rain Barrel Diverter Tips (PDF)
- Rain Barrel Chaining Tips (PDF)
In Spring and Summer 2020 LLCT offered plant kits curated by Evan Abramson and Dr. Robert Gegear. Using the Birches School Garden and Lawn Toolkit as a guide, LLCT selected plants that supported at-risk species of bumblebees and lepidoptera in Northeastern, Massachusetts. We hope these resources are useful to members who purchased past kits or for anyone interested in planting functionally diverse pollinator habitat.
- Use the Garden + Lawn Toolkit 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.)