Introducing the new Bringing Nature Home Manager, Andrew Tufts

Greetings, everyone!  My name is Andrew Tufts, and I am the new “Bringing Nature Home” Program Manager at Maine Audubon. I come to the role after growing up in Topsham and pursuing an education and career devoted to landscape design, municipal planning, habitat stewardship, and landscape management.  I am thrilled to be the first manager of work and programs developed by an incredible team of staff, volunteers, supporters, and partners. I wholeheartedly embrace everything about this project and Maine Audubon’s mission, but have also experienced the challenges and barriers we are here to overcome.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be “Bringing Nature Home” in my new role at Maine Audubon. Formally, the 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. I see it as a paradigm shift in the gardening world. 

Early in my career, every May, I spent countless hours shoveling yards upon yards of mulch into wheelbarrows, spreading it generously around my clients’ ornamental gardens. The mulch was an annual insurance plan to keep the native plants—nature—out.

Today I celebrate the sight of wild strawberries covering the ground beneath the lowbush blueberries in the Heron Garden at Gilsland Farm. These plants provide a living mulch, which both increases biodiversity and the lifespan of my back. Just above these groundcovers, the beach plums are absolutely covered in pollinators, while the black chokeberry is next in line. Meanwhile, an Eastern Phoebe keeps watch over head, perched on a dead tree that was actually installed as a garden feature! 

We have big plans for “Bringing Nature Home”, starting with the upcoming plant festival and sale on June 11. The hoop house is getting very full, and we have a great lineup of speakers— including a special appearance by naturalist and writer Bernd Heinrich—and events throughout the day. Check back here for weekly updates on our expected plants inventory, the speaker lineup, and other event details.  I look forward to seeing you all there!