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Volunteers invited to help harvest prairie seed

The Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District is seeking volunteers to harvest prairie wildflower seeds on Waterfowl Production Areas within the five-county district.

Volunteers will be provided with the training in seed collection techniques and prairie wildflower identification. In addition to learning about native prairie plants, volunteers will have the opportunity to have a wonderful experience on the prairie, an atmosphere that offers a wealth of splendid smells and stunning sights.

The prairie is approaching full bloom; shades of red, yellow, pink, and purple dapple the prairie landscape with a promise to burst into bloom.

Hand harvesting will be used to attain wildflowers that are rarely or never harvested in the fall by the large combines. Several species such as prairie smoke, pasqueflower, and wood lily are missed by combines resulting in lower plant species diversity within the restored prairies.

Therefore, an intensive harvest will focus on the collection of these overlooked species. Restored prairies with an increased diversity of prairie wildflowers will lead to an abundance of desirable insects, birds, and animals. Restoring prairies to the landscape provides habitat for nesting waterfowl and other wildlife throughout the year.

This effort will help make our restored prairies a place that people will enjoy for generations. Consider joining the wetland district this summer and collect wildflower seed throughout Minnesota's rarest habitat.

In addition to the weekly seed harvest, come attend a couple of Native Seed Collection Workdays on Saturday, July 26, and Saturday, Aug. 16.

Each day collection will take place from 8 a.m. until noon. Training and transportation can be provided. For more details and to ensure equipment and transportation to the collection site, please RSVP to Alisha Maves, 218-847-4431, as soon as possible. Also, please feel free to bring your family and friends.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the National Wildlife Refuge System that includes more than 540 refuges nation wide.

Within Becker County, the Service is represented by the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, and the Detroit Lakes Wetland Management District. Becker County enjoys an impressive diversity of both plants and wildlife as a result of its location where the eastern deciduous forest meets the prairie.

Plan a visit to experience Tamarac, Hamden Slough, or one of the many Waterfowl Production Areas and enjoy your public lands.