Mission Statement

Bearing Witness to Local Natural History-- from the wildness of Indiana

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sycamore Land Trust: Beanblossom Bottoms Trail Native Seed Collection Workday

I woke at 6:30 a.m. yesterday to the coolest (I believe) morning so far since last spring-- 42 degrees. I drove to Bean Blossom Bottoms in Monroe County to assist in collecting native plant seeds and volunteer my photography services for Sycamore Land Trust. The seeds we collected today are to be used to restore the wetland area along the trail where they are eradicating invasive reed canarygrass.

Bean Blossom Bottoms consists of 570+ acres (with a two-mile loop of wooden pucheon and boardwalk) of diverse habitats which include emergent marsh, sedge meadows, hardwood forests, and old fields reverting to forest. Trees and shrubs in the bottomland include red osier dogwood, pin oak, American sycamore, green ash, buttonbush, white oak, and shellbark hickory. It is an Indiana Nature Preserve and certified as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society.

Seeds from woolgrass (Scirpus cyperinus), buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and several sedges were harvested. It was a gorgeous morning with plenty of wind and cool temperatures. The sunshine was comforting as we began collecting along the boardwalk and beyond.

                                                        ©Joni L. James

                                           (A stand of woolgrass at BBB- Bean Blossom Bottoms)

                                          ©Joni L. James

                                          (Closer view of woolgrass at BBB-- windy day)

                                          ©Joni L. James

                                                           (Buttonbush seed heads)

My task (as well as a few other volunteers) was to collect woolgrass seeds. Once I would locate an inflorescence that had fully gone to seed, it was easy to strip the fine wooly seeds from the spiklets. Shaken or rolled between my fingers the seeds were like a downy powder or flour. Collecting was a meditation. For over three hours we harvested what will become new life in another area of the bottoms.

Sycanore Land Trust (SLT) is dedicated to preserving our disappearing landscape. I invite you to visit their website and become involved. If you value our local landscapes and their beauty speaks to you--- speak to SLT.

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