Five months of collecting seeds is coming to a close. As I think back through the months working at the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research, I’m amazed at how much I’ve experience and learned. Not only have I had the opportunity to learn about the plants native to Southern California’s deserts, chaparral, and coastal sage scrub ecosystems, but I’ve gotten to see how research is conducted at a location other than a university, and even more uniquely at a non-profit organization. The Applied Plant Ecology Division at the Institute has collected seeds for the Royal Botanical Gardens Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank the for several years. With a system already established, it was easy to learn the process of locating target populations, monitoring, collecting, short-term storage, and shipping. We completed our required 50 collections, plus several more, giving us a feeling of accomplishment. The long hours working in the hot blazing sun pay off when you come back with two complete collections of 10,000 seeds, one for SOS and the other for the Zoo’s seedbank. There have been many great adventures from the past few months that will be told over and over, making this an experience I will never forget.
San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research