There is an old site called American Flat
That was once an old building infested with rats.
BLM tore it down just a few years ago
And now it’s an empty cheatgrass-covered plateau.
We’ve been there a few times already this year
To pull out the thistles that always appear.
It was the very first field trip we took as a team
When the snow was so white it still let off a gleam.
In spring, we cut tops off some new willow shoots
To be buried in bags hoping they would grow roots.
And hooray! That they did! To new roots they were bound
And my co-interns planted them right in the ground.
For a while we forgot about this little site
While distracted by fruits, weeds, rare species, new sights…
Just last week, though, we opened our GIS map
And unearthed pounds of seed we had stored in burlap.
We calculated seed mixes for each polygon
And even though a few species were already gone,
We brought what we had to measure, mix, and pour
And then picked up the nifty hand seeders we wore.
They dispersed through a field dominated by weeds
But the first mix we used was just super light seeds.
Those wee particles just got caught and got stuck
But we had an idea! The seed bag must be struck!
As one intern turned the seed wheel with a wrist
Another walked beside, punching it with a fist.
Alas, not all of our mixes required this tactic,
But after two days we all needed chiropractic.
We’d set out native seed, a few hundred pounds,
Then we headed on home on the road back to town.
That was all we could do for those small plants-to-be
Now all we could do was sit tight, wait and see.
Maybe next year, or later, they’ll sprout and they’ll grow,
The restoration process is nothing if not slow.
But we have high hopes for our small weedy plot,
And someday it could be a quite different spot.
Cattail, rabbitbrush, bitterbrush, squirreltail
They’ll make good habitat for the hare and the quail.
It might not be quick and it might not be neat,
But with just enough time, all the weeds can be beat.