EUGENE, Ore — The City of Eugene is sowing seeds and ensuring native habitats stay native.
The City’s Parks and Open Space department oversees over 70 developed parks and over 2,500 acres of open space. If there’s a renovation project, plants and seeds are required. In 2006, the city opted to cultivate its own seeds and established the Native Plant Nursery at Alton Baker Park.
“We want to know the plant material we are planting there is going to survive and do well. And so by collecting from the site, growing it here and then replanting on the site, we can have confidence that it will thrive there,” said Lauri Holts, City of Eugene Parks and Open Space Habitat Enhancement Coordinator.
Kelsey Irvine is a part-time employee and oversees the Native Plant Nursery. She says she couldn’t complete all the work without the help of volunteers. Last year, volunteer seed pickers put in nearly 600 hours. Irvine teaches them how to collect seeds.
“And so you can squish or roll them in your hand just the bottom portion of a half and half Prunella,” said Irvine.
Eighty different plant species are cultivated at the nursery. The seeds are harvested, dried and categorized. Seed packets are then created for specific sites. In addition to collecting seeds, staff also grow starter plants.
“This going to go to coyote prairie, which is one of huge restoration sites,” said Holts.
Last year, the Native Plant Nursery collected 27 pounds of seeds and grew over 1,500 plants.
Parks and Outdoor Space is always looking for new volunteers to collect seeds. They typically meet on Fridays. Click here to learn more.