Native plants are the foundation of our ecosystems, and our restoration work cannot happen without the key species that make up a rich and diverse plant community.
To ensure that we have a robust inventory of native plants and seeds on hand for our work, IRC staff and volunteers collect small, genetically diverse samples of seed from naturally occurring plant populations and use traditional agricultural and nursery techniques to cultivate enough plant material to support restoration. The resulting plants and seeds are well-suited to local conditions and more likely to thrive once they are reintroduced in the wild.
Overseeing every step of this process ultimately enables us to be more self-sufficient. We are able to maintain a diverse inventory of plant species for use in our restorations that are otherwise unavailable on the retail market, despite their availability in the wild. Additionally, we minimize the amount of seed that is collected from local habitats, leaving it in the wild where it can generate new plants and ensure that populations persist.
This year-round, cyclical work serves as a gateway for the community, educating them about the surrounding land and bringing them into our work in a meaningful way.