Sunday, February 25, 2024

Volunteer Seed Collectors Needed

A Greenbelt Foundation-funded project known as Regenerate Grey Bruce (RGB) invites community members to participate in an emerging native plant value chain.  RGB believes that “regeneration” is the action we can take together to respond to complex challenges between humans and living landscapes. 

Landscapes in Grey and Bruce Counties are under threat from housing development, industrial farming, invasive species, and a changing climate.

An acute shortage of seed collectors has been identified as a key challenge by a group of local stakeholders – native plant nurseries and other groups such as conservation groups, Conservation Authorities, the Forest Gene Conservation Association (FGCA), and by Carolinian Canada’s Southern Ontario Seed Strategy. 

RGB is currently working with native plant nurseries, local farmers, and the general public to establish a localized production chain for native seeds and plants.  This production chain would entail creating a network between landowners and volunteers as primary seed collectors, farmers as wholesale growers, and native plant nurseries as growers, plant retailers, design consultants, and workshop teachers.

Collecting native seeds is a rewarding activity but also requires skill and dedication.  Seed collectors need to identify a strong stand of native plants that they can access and monitor seed maturity regularly.  Most importantly, RGB needs volunteers to do the actual collection.  Seed collectors will be a core pillar of this project.

They are looking for 5-10 curious individuals who are willing to participate in their emerging network of seed collectors.  Participants would learn, sharpen their nature skills, and become part of an intergenerational local community of regenerators. The following would be expected from participants:

  1. Take part in Forest Gene Conservation Association’s Seed Collectors Essentials Training (online, 4-8hr time commitment, late April) or, if desired, in the more involved Full Certified Seed Collector Course (additional 10-14h including an in-person event in Barrie, Ontario).  Costs for the “Essentials” course and the manual are approximately $140 and would be carried by the participant. 
  2. Identify stands of 5-10 different native plants that you can monitor and observe convenientlyWe will need hundreds of varieties and prefer to mix seeds from different stands of the same species, for more diversity. This can be trees (from sugar maple to bur oaks), perennials (from swamp milkweed to black-eyed susan), or shrubs (from ninebark to prickly rose).
  3. Collect and dry seeds for these plants.

Seeds will then be distributed to growers across the region.

There are a limited number of spots available, so rsvp with staff at RGB.  Staff will coordinate the program and give you advance access to the training.

Learn more by emailing regenerategreybruce@gmail.com

 

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