In 2016 a huge effort was conducted by Blue Heron Ministries employees and volunteers to collect seeds from native plants. Much of this seed has been directed to a very extensive restoration at Duff Lake, part of the Pine Knob County Park, a unit of LaGrange County Parks and Recreation.
Did we say, “HUGE” project? Much work has been done at Duff Lake to take out ditches and tiles and reestablish (to the best of our knowledge and abilities), what was there prior to agricultural changes. There have been major changes to the hydrology and landscape shape to return it to pre-disturbance conditions, Much effort has also been spent to herbicide the nonnative plants that do not belong there.
The next step in restoration took place this winter, sowing the seeds of native species we collected all last year. The Blue Heron barn full of bags of seeds were processed and taken the Duff Lake. Sowing seeds was by various methods: by drop fertilizer spreaders pulled behind a ATV, by broadcast fertilizer mounted on both tractors and ATVs, and by the old-fashioned-hopper-suspended-from-a-harness-hand-crank method. We even had a December hand sowing with BHM volunteers one winter weekend day.
In all, almost 450 pounds of hand-collected (and a little acquired native seed) seed was broadcast on approximately 41.5 acres of lowland. That amount of seed is about half of what we need on the land. We plan to do it all again this coming summer, fall, and winter.
Now the waiting begins, as we look forward to germination, growth, and then blooms. Watch for future trips to Pine Knob and Duff Lake to check it out… and to collect and sow more seed!