Allens Pond Native Seed Collection Project
February 28, 2023
In December, the Westport High School Environmental Club volunteered at Allens Pond Wildlife Sanctuary to help collect native seed from important pollinator plants. The seed collected was from two native goldenrod species that are important nectar sources for monarch butterflies. The grass-leaved goldenrod (Euthamia graminifolia) blooms at the peak of monarch migration and is one of their preferred food sources. Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) blooms throughout early winter, and is a crucial nectar source for late migrant monarchs. Various milkweed (Asclepias sp.) seed has been collected during other seed collecting events to help create more monarch habitat, as milkweed is the host plant for this butterfly.
Collecting native seed is important to Mass Audubon, as it is typically expensive to purchase, and distributors often lack the variety crucial to creating diverse vegetation within our restoration projects. Volunteers that collect seed follow strict ethical guidelines under staff supervision to ensure no damage is caused to any established native plants or their populations.
The seeds collected during these events have been used for many educational, outreach, and restoration opportunities. With the help of volunteers, staff, and program participants, we have collected over 25 different plant species for ongoing habitat restoration projects in the Southeast.
Additionally, we have provided the Durfee High School Environmental CTE students with a variety of milkweed seeds for them to grow in their classroom and greenhouse. The students will use the best growing practices to learn about the different growing needs for all the species provided. Mass Audubon’s property, ecological, and education teams had the privilege of visiting the classroom to talk with the students about monarchs, native plants, and how their classroom can get involved. Once mature, these plants will be planted at Durfee High School and at Mass Audubon Wildlife Sanctuaries.