June is in full bloom at Maine Audubon. Through a series of events and programs during the week of June 19, we’ll be shining a light on the importance of all that blooming to Maine’s wildlife:
- On Monday and Tuesday, our staff will be leading the installation of a Monarch butterfly meadow with students on the Western Promenade in Portland’s West End. This is part of our new partnership with the City of Portland to restore meadow habitat throughout the city.
- On Wednesday, renowned author and landscape architect Thomas Rainer will be speaking at Gilsland Farm about the intersection of gardening and nature and what it means to “landscape for resilience.” This part of our monthly Speaker Series sponsored by Maine Magazine.
- On Saturday, our second annual Native Plants Sale & Festival kicks off, with activities and information about the dozens of varieties of native plants on sale. We have been growing over 1,500 plants in preparation for this day — and each will support Maine’s wildlife if it can find a home in your backyard or garden.
Over the past two years, Maine Audubon has been expanding programming around the critical value of native plants to our state. At its heart, this project is about restoring and rebuilding Maine’s natural biodiversity by planting the native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees that support the widest array of wildlife.
The concept for “Bringing Nature Home” comes from the book of that title by Dr. Doug Tallamy, an entomologist at the University of Delaware. Dr. Tallamy studies the number of insects attracted by various plants and trees, particularly those common in urban and suburban landscapes. He then connects that research to the birds and other wildlife that depend on the abundance and diversity of those insects to feed their young.
Wherever you are in Maine, the smallest planting and maintenance choices you make can have a profound impact on your local food web. In addition to our yards and local green spaces becoming opportunities to recruit and train new naturalists, they become refuges for species of plants and trees facing real challenges across broader landscapes. “Bringing Nature Home” has also been a rich opportunity for Maine Audubon to engage with key partners, including with the innovative Wild Seed Project.
Through this initiative, Maine Audubon has worked with preschool children and their families to learn about pollinators and plant milkweed at Gilsland Farm; we’ve taught students at elementary schools in Portland to propagate seeds, and about insects and their relationship to plants and birds; we’ve led middle school students on projects investigating Maine birds’ food webs and redesigning the landscaping at their school. Dozens of adults have participated in our native plant walks and seed sowing workshops, and we’ve met hundreds more through our outreach to garden clubs and nurseries. We are also working closely with several land trusts, city officials, and retirement communities to engage their constituents in restoring and monitoring native plants and habitat.
Join in the action! Next week promises to be a fun and educational one at Maine Audubon.
Watch: Doug Tallamy presented on “Bringing Nature Home” at this 2016 Maine Audubon Speaker Series event:
This work has been made possible by the generous support of Jim & Ann Hancock. Thanks also to Doug Tallamy for his inspiration and collaboration.