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This wildflower will help Martha's Vineyard fight climate change

For the first time, the native Blazing Star will be planted in Edgartown as part of coastal habitat restoration. The plant attracts bees and butterflies.

EDGARTOWN—More than 1,000 native plants are headed here to help restore and protect a grassland habitat on the island's shores.

For the first time, volunteers with the Nature Conservancy will plant New England Blazing Star seedlings on the 60-acre Bamford Preserve, which the organization purchased in 2001 to rescue from housing development.

The fuzzy, purple wildflowers are expected to help protect the coast from the effects of climate change.

The effort is part of an ongoing project to restore essential grass to the shoreline and expand a habitat that exists only in pockets from Long Island to Maine. That grass withstands beatings from salt and wind, and provides biodiversity for the animals and land, Mike Whittemore, stewardship manager at the Nature Conservancy, told CAI.

"They're very threatened places and without immediate action we could lose them," Whittemore said.

"I've seen cases in this habitat where New York has lost species because the development is just so widespread. Once our lands are biodiverse and we're improving these lands to where we want them, the next step is really to start thinking about securing more land inland for these systems to migrate to, because of sea-level rise and other factors."

Whittemore lives at Hoft Farm Field Station in West Tisbury, which provides housing for Nature Conservancy staff, scientists and volunteers.

The Nature Conservancy owns 1,000 acres of protected land on Martha's Vineyard.