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Seeding the Future

By Kelsey Brock, Southern District, Mankato Crew

Much of what we do as Corpsmembers are defending against invasive species and try to keep them well managed. But on the occasional (usually rainy) day, we get the chance to be more on the offensive side of conservation.

The process starts with seed collection, and the only rule is to only take a third of what’s there. Our crew sometimes enjoys a change of pace from the constant revving of a chainsaw to slow and peaceful days of walking through fields and picking seeds. Earlier this summer, we collected plants including side oats, lead plant, golden Alexander, sunflowers, bergamot, among other native species.

Once collected, the seeds need to be cleaned (basically scraped repeatedly until the seed is separated from the rest of the plant). We’re always very enthusiastic about doing this when it means we can spend the day in the seed shed and not out in the pouring rain.

And then the seeds are ready to be spread. Which, if doing this by hand, always makes me feel like I’m on top of a hill in The Sound of Music. But nevertheless, it is a nice to get the chance to spread the good native species as much as we remove the invasive ones.