One of the great things about the Eugene BLM office is the amount of collaboration that goes on between our office and other nearby agencies, conservation groups, universities, and community members. I truly believe that this level of collaboration, and sharing of resources is vital to successful restoration now and in the future. Over the past few weeks, I got a chance to see this collaboration in action.
Instead of office work, I got to work in collaboration with the City of Eugene to help create a handful of native seed mixes for use on several nearby restoration sites, and an ongoing research project at the University of Oregon. Two other women and I spent 3 days measuring and mixing this commonwealth of seeds for dispersal on wetlands and upland habitats all across West Eugene.
The so called Seed Castle, where we did our mixing, is a dilapidated old wooden warehouse in the middle of an industrial park. From the outside you would never guess that within it’s aging walls are hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of native graminoid and wildflower seeds.
With a stockpile of seeds this large, it’s hard not to appreciate the sheer magnitude of kick-ass native plant potential in this one room. Even with my limited experience growing and collecting native seed, I was awe-struck by not only the volume of seeds, but also the diversity of species. There is something truly amazing about being elbow deep in a bag full of Lomatium nudicaule seed that made the journey all the way from wild collection in a nearby remnant prairie, into a seed increase bed at a local native plant nursery, through an intense cleaning process, and finally back into the hands of the ecologists and botanists who will plant them into the threatened habitats they started in.