On a beautifully warm Saturday October 29th Long Point Basin Land Trust held a Wild Seed Collecting workshop at the Shirley and George Pond Nature Reserve. This event was the first in a two-part workshop series focusing on how to grow native plant species to enhance biodiversity.
Mary Gartshore, an expert in ecological restoration, taught participants how to identify many differentnative wildflower and grasses during their winter dormancy stage. Seed collection techniques were demonstrated. Participants ended the day exploring one of the native plant meadows on the Pond Nature Reserve to put their knew knowledge to work, searching for particulars plants and collectingseed for future restoration projects.
The Long Point Basin Land Trust held its second event on Saturday November 5th at the South Walsingham Hall. Twenty-six people were in attendance, with a variety of backgrounds, ages, and motivations for being there. About half were interested in having knowledge to take home and use on their own properties and in their gardens, while others were professionals who wanted to learn more about urban pollinator habitat and large-scale restoration projects.
Mary Gartshore began the morning with an informative presentation on why biodiversity is so important and also showing photos of various local projects where natural habitats have been restored through planting native species. She highlighted the many intricate connections between growing native plants and protecting natural biodiversity. For instance, most songbirds feed their young high-protein caterpillars, and many caterpillar species are specialists that feed only on the leaves of specific types of plants. The more varieties of native plants in the landscape, the more species of caterpillars and other insects, which results in a greater diversity and abundance of songbirds.
The afternoon got messier as everyone had a chance to try out different methods and tools to clean different seeds. Blenders were used to pulse Wild Grape, Winged Sumac, Redbud, and even Bladdernuts to separate out the seeds. A homemade screen was used to separate Milkweed seeds from the fluffy pods. Mesh screens of different sizes were some of the tools on display, as well as buckets, brooms, shovels and pitch forks. Participants also used nail clippers, hand lenses, and a microscope to check the viability of many different seeds that had been collected locally.
The Long Point Basin Land Trust would like to say a big and heartfelt thank you to the Walsingham Women’s Institute for the delicious snacks and lunch! This workshops series was funded by WWF-Canada.