By Julie Speers
On February 13, 2012, ARMN and Earth Sangha co-hosted a seed-cleaning activity at Long Branch Nature Center in Arlington. Puffs of fluff and seed flew through the air as a group of ARMN volunteers threshed dried native-plants stems to release their seeds. Lisa Bright, Director of Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery in Springfield, was endlessly patient with all the volunteers, answering questions about what Earth Sangha planned to do with the seeds and explaining the importance of the native plants chosen for collection. We gathered stems of Broomsedge bluestem, goldenrods, and asters from large collection bags, threshed them on plastic racks with bamboo poles, and sometimes just resorted to rubbing stems and picking through the chaff to find the small seeds. Even the chaff will be used as a kind of natural compost to help the seeds germinate later this spring. The collected seeds will be planted in the Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery and used for a variety of purposes such as the restoration of regional meadows and other ecologically sensitive areas.
After the seed cleaning, volunteers were rewarded with a sumptuous picnic luncheon, featuring a wide variety of wonderful vegetarian dishes. Happily overfilled with delicious food, we went back to work for another hour.
Earth Sangha is a focus project of ARMN. While seed collection cleaning is over for this season, many ARMN volunteers participate every Monday and Thursday in different projects at the Earth Sangha Wild Plant Nursery. If you wish to join these volunteers, please contact Rodney Olsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.