From the Wild to Your Backyard
We are the nation’s first plant conservation organization and the only one solely focused on New England’s native plants
More than a century ago, when ecology was a new word, our founders organized what is now called Native Plant Trust to stop the destruction of native plants. Today, as native plants face the greatest wave of threats since the last mass extinction, we are still a national leader in native plant conservation, horticulture, and education. We save native plants in the wild, grow them for gardens and restorations, and educate others on their value and use.
We develop new insights, create cutting-edge tools, and foster collaborations that advance our own work and that of our peers. Our leadership and staff are internationally recognized as experts in their respective fields. We offer a wide range of resources and programs for all levels of interest and experience.
History teaches us that one way to halt the destruction of plants in the wild is to cultivate the hard-to-find plants people covet for their gardens. Our horticulture staff propagates and sells native plants suitable for home gardens and offers related public programs. In these ways, we reach a wide audience with our message that native plants are not only beautiful, but ecologically important to the wider landscape.
We are based in Massachusetts, and we welcome visitors from all over the world to Garden in the Woods, our renowned native plant botanic garden in Framingham. We are among the first organizations worldwide to receive Advanced Conservation Practitioner accreditation by London-based Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), which included an endorsement by an International Advisory Council representing six continents.
Each year, our 30 staff members and many of our 1,500 trained volunteers work throughout New England to:
- monitor, protect, and restore rare and endangered plants
- collect and bank seeds for biological diversity
- detect and control invasive species
- conduct botanical and horticultural research
- educate the public, from home gardeners to professional land managers
We operate a native plant nursery at Nasami Farm in western Massachusetts and own six rare plant sanctuaries in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont that are open to the public year-round. Download our strategic plan here.
Mission, Vision, Values
Our mission is to conserve and promote New England’s native plants to ensure healthy, biologically diverse landscapes.
Through our leadership, New England’s native plants will exist in vigorous populations within healthy, evolving ecosystems, and people across the region will actively protect them in the wild and use them in their gardens for their beauty and ecological value. Download our 15-year vision statement here.
Preserving the integrity, resiliency, diversity, and beauty of the natural world
Inspiring action through vision, innovation, and expertise
Focusing on long-term goals and making decisions based on science, research, experiential knowledge, best practices, and effectiveness
Cultivating diversity, inclusion, and a sense of shared purpose and place
Amplifying impact through strategic and diverse partnerships
Acting ethically, equitably, and with transparency
Aiming for the highest standards of sustainability in our operations
Acknowledging the Homelands of Indigenous Communities
Native Plant Trust recognizes that the nine properties we hold in trust are part of the homelands of Indigenous communities that thrived prior to European arrival.
These Indigenous communities include the Agawan, Massachuset, Nanrantsouak, N’dakina (Abenaki/Abenaquis), Nipmuc, Pawtucket, Pocumtuc, and Wabanaki (Dawnland Confederacy). European colonization displaced and even eradicated many of those communities, severing them from their ancestral lands and causing significant and continuing cultural disruption.
For thousands of years, these communities lived in a “right relationship” with the land (an Indigenous concept rooted in sustainability and respect), which sustained the rich and diverse flora that inspires our work. As many of these tribes still live in the region, we want to collaborate with those Indigenous communities willing to work with us so we can learn more about their history on these properties, to restore their access to the land, and to honor their connection to place. By listening, learning, and sharing we hope to create a new, respectful relationship between our communities and among all people and the land.
Commitment to IDEA
Native Plant Trust is committed to a culture of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) and to being a welcoming and safe place for all who engage with us.
We believe that success in our mission relies on inspiring, engaging, and collaborating with a wide range of people, who take actions both large and small to save plants and improve the landscape.
Our IDEA Working Group is leading an organization-wide initiative that acknowledges the need for respectfully incorporating into our work culturally diverse perspectives on plant life, scientific methods, and ways of interacting with plants. We are also committed to including people who may be disproportionately affected by a deteriorating environment but who have not had a voice within the conservation and horticulture organizations focused on solutions.
We are proud that Native Plant Trust is among the first 21 organizations nationwide selected for a year-long pilot project with the new IDEA Center for Public Gardens. The pilot project offers trainings, resources, and opportunities to collaborate with colleagues who are members of the American Public Gardens Association. Each participating organization is also developing and implementing a project central to its efforts to expand IDEA. For us, that project is developing a two-year plan to embed IDEA principles and actions into the organization’s culture and work, with defined milestones throughout.
Three members of Native Plant Trust’s IDEA Working Group are our representatives to the IDEA Center initiative: Board member Ruth Shelley, who chairs our Working Group; Executive Director Debbi Edelstein; and Director of Conservation Michael Piantedosi.
Some Recent Successes
We're proud to share some recent milestone accomplishments in native plant conservation, horticulture, and education, achieved with the help of our generous supporters.
Building the Seed Ark
We developed the Seed Ark campaign to fund the collection and banking of seeds from at least two-thirds of the populations of all the region’s rare and endangered plants by 2020, targets established in the United Nations’ Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. Meeting this ambitious goal entails collecting from more than 2,000 populations of the 300 of our 388 globally and regionally rare species that can be banked using current techniques.
Restoring Storm-ravaged Shoreline
When Hurricane Sandy ripped through the Eastern Seaboard in 2012, it took out thousands of miles of coastline. To help restore sensitive coastal habitats, Native Plant Trust and our partners convinced the US Department of the Interior to fund a three-year initiative to collect and bank local seeds—the first such large-scale effort in the eastern half of the country. Coastal public lands, including national wildlife refuges and national parks, are already using the seed to restore storm-damaged habitats.
Our botanists engaged in experimental projects to restore, augment, or reintroduce rare plant populations, including a globally rare species known to exist in only three sites in the world, all of which lie along the Connecticut River.
Publishing Crucial Resources
We are proud of our scholarly contributions, as well as our publications that raise awareness of native plants among the general public:
Native Plants for New England Gardens (GlobePequot), an illustrated guide to 100 hardy, beautiful garden plants, with expert tips on the species' preferred growing conditions and on best practices in ecological gardening
Wildflowers of New England (Timber Press), the first modern, four-color field guide to the region’s plants, containing 1,200 species
“State of New England’s Native Plants,” a technical paper and outreach document that offers a comprehensive assessment of and actions to preserve the region's plants and habitats
Go Botany, a ground-breaking online tool for learning about New England plants that has attracted millions of visitors
Flora Conservanda, the first update in 16 years on the status of the region’s rare plants, used to set conservation priorities and actions
Flora Novae Angliae (Yale University Press), the definitive technical guide to the region’s flora and the first comprehensive update in 60 years
Native Plant Trust proudly bestows three awards for outstanding achievement. We welcome your nominations for all awards. Please submit them by March 1 using the embedded forms.
Founders’ Medal: For exceptional leadership and achievement in the conservation and promotion of healthy, biologically diverse landscapes
The Founders’ Medal honors achievement in conservation, horticulture, or education whose impact rises to national or international importance. The recipient may be based anywhere in the world.
Open and fill out the nomination form here.
Regional Impact Award: For exceptional leadership and achievement in native plant conservation, horticulture, or education in New England
The Regional Impact Award recognizes one or more individuals or organizations for exceptional leadership and achievement in native plant conservation, horticulture, or education with regional significance. Although the individual or organization could be based elsewhere, the work must be executed in New England or have its primary focus on the native plants of New England.
Open and fill out the nomination form here.
Volunteer Service Award: For outstanding service to Native Plant Trust
The Volunteer Service Award recognizes leadership, consistent dedication, and effectiveness in furthering the mission and activities of Native Plant Trust. The ideal candidate will have brought tangible value to the organization over many years and served as a model and inspiration for others.
Open and fill out the nomination form here.
Download the list of all past award winners here.