Pacific Rim Institute hosts seed collecting event next Tuesday

The Institute is combining hors d’oeuvres and responsible land management in one event Aug. 17.

The Pacific Rim Institute for Environmental Stewardship is combining hors d’oeuvres and responsible land management in one volunteer event Tuesday, Aug. 17.

Participants will join Institute land stewards in collecting seeds from rare native plants to preserve them for generations to come.

This will be the second “Wine, Cheese and Seeds” event the institute has hosted this year.

“We work together to get enough genetic material — get enough seeds — for the restoration projects throughout the Sound,” said Robert Pelant, chief executive officer of the Institute. “So it’s very important to get this help from the community to get a larger quantity of seed than we could normally do.”

Volunteers will likely be collecting seeds from golden paintbrushes, woolly sunflowers, showy daisies and biscuitroots.

Native plants provide a whole host of ecological benefits. Pelant said using indigenous plants in restoration projects improves the environment’s health and resilience, provides pollen and nectar to local pollinating insects, and helps with water retention.

These native plants have survived on Whidbey Island for many thousands of years, but as the climate heats up and dries out, and as agriculture takes up the best land while indigenous plant species are left to marginal lands, the plants need help to thrive as they used to.

After gathering seeds, participants will return to the venue’s pavilion to enjoy wine, cheese and “all sorts of fabulous appetizers,” Pelant said.

“It’s an opportunity to have some fellowship with our community members and friends, to not only collect important rare native plant seeds but also get to know each other a little bit,” he said.

Volunteers should meet in the Pacific Rim Institute parking lot no later than 6 p.m. to carpool to the prairie where the plants live.

Anyone interested can RSVP by calling 360-969-0131 or emailing to robert@pacificriminstitute.org.

Pelant requested that all participants RSVP ahead of time so event organizers can ensure there are sufficient snacks for everyone.

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