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Maynard Biodiversity Talks: Neil Pederson

Exploring the wild edges and human heart of our small town ...


Biodiversity is an important measure of the health of our wildlife. The greater the variety of plants and animals, the healthier and more resilient the environment—and the better able it is to adjust to a changing climate.


So how do citizens of Maynard think about biodiversity, and what steps are they taking to foster it? What do people value about the wildlife in the gardens, woods, wetlands, and meadows in town? How and why do they cultivate biodiversity in their gardens? How do they protect and enhance biodiversity in the landscape? This blog attempts to answer these questions through conversation with a range of individuals with diverse viewpoints and approaches. We will look at efforts both small and large, from the cultivation of a single Bee Balm plant in a pot to town-wide initiatives.


First, a bit about me. I am interested in the biodiversity in my garden, and my efforts have been rewarded with a steadily increasing range of insects, plants, and amphibians. But I am neither an expert gardener nor a botanist, so I am curious to learn from others. I bring my interest, my questions, and a desire to understand how people think and respond to a changing world.



Two Tree Tours with Neil Pederson


Neil Pederson—an earth scientist, researcher, and forest ecologist at the Harvard Forest (a research station in Petersham affiliated with Harvard University)—generously gave me two tours. The first was a walk along Main Street to view Maynard’s Downtown Arboretum, a project that includes 15 trees of eight different species downtown. The second was of his own tree garden, a site that demonstrates how to grow a dense, rich forest with a diverse understory on a small urban plot. Watch both tours below.





Maynard Tree Corps

Neil encourages Maynard residents to join the great group of people who serve on Maynard’s Tree Corps. Everyone is welcome—whether or not they have expertise—so long as they love trees. He recommends the Tree Corps’ website for a list of recommended trees for Maynard gardens.

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