Plants and Pollinators: Horticulture Intern Selby Vaughn

15, Aug, 2023

Hello! My name is Selby Vaughn, and this past summer I had the opportunity to complete a horticulture internship at the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. I am originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and am currently studying at Boston University. I am  majoring in Conservation Biology and Ecology. 

This summer has given me valuable experience in ecological horticulture, and I’m so fortunate to have worked for an organization which is setting the stage for sustainable urban park management.

I’ve always been passionate about the relationship between plants and pollinators, so I chose to focus my internship project on pollinator surveying within the park. As an organically managed park, the Greenway values our native pollinators immensely, and as numbers of nonnative honeybees are increasing throughout Boston, it has become necessary to understand which pollinators are present in the park.

Throughout the months of June, July, and August, I observed pollinators on all flowers in two sections of the park; a natively planted meadow and a more ornamental garden, both located in the North End. Through this, I was able to develop a method for pollinator surveying to be further implemented by the Greenway in the years to come.

Throughout my survey, I observed a wide range of both nonnative and native pollinator species in the park. However, honey bees did seem to be the most common pollinator, dominating plants such as Hydrangea, Mountain Mint, and Lavender in the Carolyn Lynch Garden. As the season continued, I witnessed less and less native pollinators, likely because many of their preferred plants were no longer in bloom into late July and August. With further analyses and application of these methods, we will be able to gain insight into the complex dynamics between plants, honey bees, and native pollinators in the park.

I’m so proud to have established a way to document pollinators on the Greenway, and I hope the work I’ve done this summer can help to further support native pollinators both in the park and throughout the Boston area. I’m incredibly grateful for the experiences I’ve had at the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and everything I’ve learned from my friends and mentors on the horticulture team!

Summer workforce development opportunities on The Greenway are made possible with the generous support of Citizens.