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First Seed Collection Outing Scheduled

As described in this post, a newly approved Master Gardener of Hamilton County Project, Reseeding the Cumberlands is taking off this week.  We will be assembling this Wednesday, September 15 at the Blue Hole parking lot in the park formerly known as the Bowater-North Chickamauga Pocket Wilderness at 3 pm.  Interpretive Ranger Terri Ballinger will be leading us on a seed collection trip to gather several species including Mountain laurel, Hearts-a-bustin, Green Ash, Carolina Allspice, Paw-Paw, and Maple-leaf Viburnum (if the birds have left any seeds!).

The seeds will be going in smaller lots to the USDA seed storage facility in Fort Collins, Colorado and in larger lots to the Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank as part of the Seeds of Success program.  Additionally, the State Park will use collected seeds to help reseed sections of the Cumberland Forest that have been recently donated and are in need of restoration to a more natural state.

Since fall and spring are ideal times for seed collection, we will be working on short notice based on the CTSST Ranger’s observations of optimal collection times.  Trips will be called several times in the next few weeks, so watch for announcements on this site and through the Native Plants and Wildflower Group communications.

We will be given instructions on how to collect seeds, which is a straightforward process.  Participants will need little or no equipment.  However, please bring bug spray, water, and dress appropriately for the weather and off-road conditions.  Long pants and long-sleeved shirts are suggested and of course wear comfortable shoes.  Terri Ballinger will provide the seed collection bags.

To get to the trailhead (GPS coordinates N35 14.254 W85 14.066), take Highway 27, exit at Thrasher Pike and turn left, go about a mile to Dayton Pike, and then turn right and proceed a mile to Montlake Road. Take a left and proceed 1.5 miles to the entrance on the left.

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