This summer WWF-Canada, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, provided grant funding for Mohawk College to implement a Seed Orchard project to increase biodiversity on campus! By sharing the seeds that are harvested from the Orchard with the community and using it as an experiential learning space on campus, we hope to inspire our local community to grow native plants of their own.
Through the grant, the Sustainability Office at Mohawk was provided with 3 types of seedlings that started as seeds which were collected locally, primarily from wild sources and with traceable origins. With the help of the college’s Grounds team, a 50 square foot seed orchard was built and populated with roughly 90 plants that are native to the Carolinian region in Ontario. The 3 types of seedlings grown by WWF-Canada include Blue Vervain, Wild Columbine, and Showy Tick Trefoil. During harvest season this year, over 130 bags of seeds from these plants were harvested and shared with our local community members as well as those who attended the virtual Seed Festival events held in October.
WWF-Canada recognizes that seeds of native plant species with known and local origins are in low supply. These seeds are necessary to accomplish the crucial work of ecological restoration, a powerful tool in the fight against the dual crises of Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change. Seed Orchards are an effective and important way to increase the supply of native seeds with minimal negative impacts on wild populations.
Interested in growing your own seedlings this spring but not sure how to do it? We’ve got you covered! Check out our Starting Seeds Indoors video on YouTube!