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The natives need your help--seed collecting with Joel

The native prairie plants are better carbon eaters then non native plants.
The native prairie plants are better carbon eaters then non native plants. ©Solid Rock Photography

This fall there will be many opportunities to explore the natural world in all of its glory. Here is your chance to participate in the natural world while at the same time helping build Minnesota’s native prairies. Then again, you may be asking, "Why would I want to pick seeds of prairie plants?"

Here are ten reasons to help pick prairie plants!

  1. The fall weather can be beautiful.
  2. You will learn more about native prairie plants from an expert.
  3. The textures and smells can be quite interesting.
  4. It can be a highly social activity; chatting while you pick does not slow you down much.
  5. You might see some places you have never been but might truly enjoy.
  6. It gets you outdoors which helps your mental well being according to vast amounts of research.
  7. If you are a Minnesota Master Naturalist you can get credit for helping as it is citizen science.
  8. The seeds will be used to enhance the biodiversity of plantings which in turn produce a longer season of blooms. At the same time they provide food for a wider range of insects, bird and mammals. In addition, the plants help sequester carbon better than non-native, short lived, short-rooted plant and these native plants have a better ability to withstand changes in conditions.
  9. You can see the results from planting prairie seed within a few years unlike from planting a tree.
  10. Plain and simply, it is fun and with this instructor you are sure to learn something.

Joel Dunnette, Minnesota Master Naturalist Trainer, Minnesota Audubon member, and prairie plant enthusiast is hosting two different public seed collecting opportunity in southeastern Minnesota this weekend. No prior experience is needed and the necessary equipment will be provided. However, you should dress for uneven ground and tall vegetation, for being in the sun and wind and bring water to drink!

Saturday, 9/17: Weaver Dunes, preserve of The Nature Conservancy, Meet at 10am at the office/maintenance buildings and bring lunch. This large preserve has unusual sand prairie plants, and rolling dunes. Seeds will be used to plant and diversify former crop fields that have been acquired and added to the preserve. Be prepared for walking through poison ivy and some scratchy plants.

Sunday, 9/18 at Olmsted County's Chester Woods Park: Meet at 1:30pm at the park office and maintenance building area - once you enter the park and pass the contact station, take the first right. This session will not as much hiking, therefore might be ok for children who can tolerate tall vegetation. The seeds will be used for enhancing plantings on Olmsted County properties.

For more information on these events, contact Joel at 507-269-7064! Then go and have fun checking out fall colors on the prairie.

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