Seed Cleaning a Good Excuse for a Garage Party
The 30-member “seed party” included partners from Friends of the Chicago River (including our Volunteer and Events Associate Annette Anderson), the Cook County Forest Preserves, Friends of the Forest preserves, the Field Museum, and the North Branch Restoration Project.
Some 15 types of seeds from three Forest Preserve sites were processed and, as a bonus, volunteers were able to take home native plant seeds collected from beds from the Field Museum Rice Gardens. (A big thanks to the museum staff for organizing this Centennial Volunteers event to help these folks who’ve adopted ten Forest Preserve locations throughout the region.)
Volunteers who collected the seeds in the field were careful to label them with the locations where the seeds were found and type of seed. Forest Preserve policy is to re-spread seeds from where they were harvested or appropriate nearby locations. This approach is based on the belief the seeds will grow better because they evolved under similar environmental conditions. In addition, the use of local seeds is a way to maintain genetic integrity.
This meeting of intrepid souls was held in an unassuming place, a garage at the Sand Ridge Nature Center in South Holland. Garages are THE place where the outdoors meets the indoors, where outside people do stuff when they have to be inside. Garages are where outdoor tools are kept inside—our rakes, mowers, blowers, planters, bulbs, barrows, spades, saws, nails, and pails. It’s where we can create the future we want, a place where we can build, repurpose, and do some good old-fashioned hanging out with others who care about protecting and preserving nature.
It’s often said you reap what you sow. And that begins with the tiny but mighty seed (and a crew of dedicated seed cleaners!)
For more information about similar efforts through the Centennial Volunteers group, see http://bit.ly/CentennialVolunteer.