Those are the numbers from HNPAT’s (Houston Chapter – Native Prairies Association of Tx) first monthly meeting of the year. Katy Prairie Conservancy generously sponsored this Seed Cleaning & Packing Pizza Party for volunteers to clean seeds collected from the wild last fall and put them into envelopes to be sent out for the Great Grow Out (KatyPrairie.org/ggo) participants.
As the volunteers munched pizza, fruit, and cookies, Jaime gave a short overview of the Great Grow Out program, Katy Prairie’s seed collecting program and why they are important for the restoration of the Gulf Coast Prairie in and around Houston. Lan followed with a few simple instructions and an introduction to the plants whose seeds we were packing.
Then the activities began. Each of five table had a different species of seeds to pack: Texas coneflower, yellow Indiangrass, splitbeard bluestem, purple lovegrass, and rattlesnake master. Two of the tables cleaned seeds; they took the actual seeds (most time along with some chaff) off of the stems and seedheads. One table worked exclusively with Texas coneflower, which we want to send to Native American Seed for them to grow out and evaluate. They cleaned about 1 large grocery bag-full or about 4 pounds of seeds/chaff. Another table had the task of isolating from the seedhead, the small seeds of clustered bushmint, swamp sunflower, and black-eyed Susan. Another group cut the seed heads off of the Maximillian sunflower stems. Pauline Singleton showed Lan how to clean rough coneflower to get to the actual seeds – cut the tight seedhead into quarters or smaller pieces. Much energy, learning and camaraderie filled the room! Thanks to everyone who came!
Thanks also to volunteers of the Gulf Coast Master Naturalists’ Plant Propagation Program at the Memorial Park Greenhouse who on the following day counted the envelopes and finished cleaning more seeds.
So true are Jaime’s words on KPC’s facebook post: “We can do a lot when we all support each other!”
Photos below are from Kelly Walker’s facebook post: