Tuesday, September 3, 2013

MetroParks Prairie Seed Nursery

Tom and I had another commitment so we didn't go to the Germantown Prairie Seed Nursery with the Butterfly Transit Walkers and other area naturalists.  Thanks to Phil, I have these photos to show you.

Tom and I visited the nursery several times in the 1990's which was when the nursery was established.  At that time we were attending the Ohio Prairie Conferences.  The Ohio Prairie Conference was a fairly new group at the time.  This group is interested in preserving Ohio's remnant prairies.

Because Ohio has been heavily populated over the years, most of the prairies were destroyed for one reason or another.  The only natural prairies are those which are inaccessible to industry, or unusable for farmland.

In the 1990's, native prairie seeds were difficult to obtain so the Prairie Seed Nursery was established to fulfill that need. Now seeds are more readily available.  According to the people who went to the nursery, much of the seed now produced is distributed throughout the Five Rivers MetroParks to reseed likely prairie sites.

Here, the group is walking out to the seedbeds.  Each wide row contains a particular prairie species.  The woman is the red shirt is a volunteer guide who, Phil said, gave the group a lot of interesting information about the nursery and the plants in it.

In this row, a lot of seed heads are nearing the time for harvesting.

The group visited the building where the seeds are dried.

Their guide explained the process to them.  I wish I had been there to learn how this was being done.  I'm sure the process has evolved over the years.  Back in the years when Tom and I visited, the beds were still in the process of being established so not much seed was being harvested.