Indian Ridge Habitat Restoration – FAQs and How You Can Help

December 30, 2019

Learn more about Indian Ridge and more of our special fundraising initiatives at

What is happening at Indian Ridge?

Mount Auburn has undertaken a 2-year project to restore the landscape along Indian Ridge, one of our oldest and most significant areas. With more than 15,000 new plants, the project will promote wildlife habitat and biological diversity, while enhancing the site’s natural beauty.  

Why is this project necessary?

Restoring the landscape along Indian Ridge will elevate an already beloved area to new levels of excellence, both visually and as a wildlife habitat.  

Located near the main entrance, Indian Ridge is one of our most popular areas to walk, offering a mix of the history, natural beauty, and wildlife that make Mount Auburn so special. It is also already a prime birdwatching spot during the spring migration each year, as a destination for neotropical warblers who stop at Mount Auburn to feed before heading north to Canada. 

However, the area lacks cohesion and is overwhelmed with invasive plants which offer few resources for insects or birds. Given the already high level of migratory bird activity, we made it a priority to create a landscape design that adds both visual appeal and plant diversity – especially native plants to better serve native wildlife species – to the area. 

What will the new landscape look like, and how will it improve Indian Ridge’s habitat? 

Our plan was inspired by one of the best features of the current landscape: a series of white-flowered trees each spring. The new design will expand on this with a dramatic progression of 21 new flowering trees including Silverbell and Redbud. 

New masses of shrubs will provide much-needed “thickets” for birds while protecting slopes against erosion. The new flowering trees will create a corridor of habitat-friendly plants with lush foliage, flowers, and fruit. Other new trees (White Oak and Shadblow) will provide food and shelter for dozens of species of birds and mammals. Indian Ridge will also connect with other areas we have already restored to create a larger, cohesive habitat across the Cemetery’s historic core.  

What’s the project timeline?

In late 2019 and early 2020, we removed a number of invasive species, including several Norway Maples, which have been crowding out more habitat-friendly native plants for many years 

Replanting along the slopes has been progressing ahead of schedule in the spring and summer of 2020.  

Finally, we will complete replanting along the path itself in the late spring and summer of 2021.  

How can I help?

You can help make our vision for Indian Ridge a reality by making a special gift to the project! Your tax-deductible donation to the Friends of Mount Auburn will support the costs of these new plantings, plus the ever-important care that they will need in their critical early years to ensure that the landscape can flourish long into the future. 

To make a gift online, please visit and select “Indian Ridge Habitat Restoration.” Thank you for your support! 

Mount Auburn staff and visitors smile for a photo on Indian Ridge Path

About the Author: Anna Moir

Grants & Communications Manager View all posts by Anna Moir →


    • Jessica Bussmann says:

      Hi Elsa, I have been assured that no Magnolias will be taken out as part of this project. That Saucer Magnolia is one of my favorites too. Stay tuned for more information about the this restoration project.

  1. Shela says:

    As a frequent walker on beautiful Indian Ridge, I do hope that it’s “wild” aspect will be preserved in this restoration.
    I was dismayed a couple of years ago by the removal of old forsythia bushes which were replaced by rather suburban-looking smaller shrubs and plants. Please maintain Mt A’s feeling of being in a special, wilder place.

  2. Amy Meltzer says:

    Very excited to hear about the plan to expand wildlife friendly habitat! Mt Auburn is an ideal place to help prevent the risk we face of species extinction, while enhancing the cemetery’s beauty and peacefulness. It is a joy to walk there and appreciate the beauty of nature.

    • Jessica Bussmann says:

      Hi Susan,
      Regina Harrison, Executive Assistant & Sales Coordinator says:

      The Living Urn is a lovely concept. Part of what makes Mount Auburn a beautiful place is the dedicated curation and care provided by our horticulture staff. Every perennial plant or tree’s location is carefully chosen for it as part of an area’s overall design. We also do not plant trees directly over graves, since the graves may be disturbed by future horticultural activity. For these reasons, we do not accept Living Urns. However, we do offer memorial tree plaques on existing trees or where appropriate newly planted trees adjacent to natural burial or cremation graves, so you can still visit a tree here in memory of a loved one.

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