The birds and the bees: DNRT Annual Meeting focuses on pollinators

Sep 22, 2020

Native pollinators like honeybees, birds, and butterflies were the main focus at Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust’s 49th socially distanced outdoor annual meeting, which was held on Sept. 17 at the land trust’s center at Helfand Farm.  

In his talk, guest speaker UMass Dartmouth professor Dr. Rob Gegear described the decline of native pollinators, their importance to local ecology, and what individuals can do to help. He also spoke about his “Beecology Project,” which involves citizen scientists in identifying which plants can most benefit certain species of pollinators.

Based on data gathered through the project, in the spring of 2020 Gegear set up a test plot at the Helfand Farm Community Gardens to demonstrate the effectiveness of these native plants in attracting declining bumblebee species.

Since then the garden plot has already attracted two species of declining bumblebees. Meeting attendees were able to tour the garden plot following the talk, and learned that pollinator corridors and research stations are in the works at other DNRT reserves.

DNRT Treasurer Tip Tracy, Executive Director Dexter Mead, and President Lorraine Granda also spoke at the meeting, highlighting the number of people who have thanked the land trust for making its reserves and nature trails available to the public for exercise, escape, and relaxation during this time of crisis.

Mead also highlighted the success of the 2019 “Preserving Dartmouth’s Coastal Farms” campaign, done in partnership with the Buzzards Bay Coalition. This project raised $2 million to protect the 128-acre Apponagansett Bay Farm on Bakerville Road and the 21-acre Eva’s Garden on Jordan Road.

Nearly 80 acres of Apponagansett Bay Farm became the newly-opened “Dike Creek Reserve” in August 2020.

DNRT members also elected four members to its Board of Directors: Elyse Baggen, Jim Dorsey, Dan King, and Doug Roscoe; and re-elected Jane Ashley, Bettina Borders, Mike Labossiere, and Katie White to second three-year terms.

Officers elected were Lorraine Granda as President, Andy Mellgard as Vice-President, Peggy Gildersleeve as Secretary, and Clifford “Tip” Tracy as Treasurer.

Outgoing Board members Bob Feingold, Jim Forbush, Susan Heide, Gretchen Knowlton, and Haven Roosevelt were all thanked for their hard work and dedication.

For more information about DNRT, visit  For more information about the Beecology Project, visit