Volunteer at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy Native Seed Farm Learn How Wildflowers Are Grown to Produce Seeds that Restore the Land

Get the inside scoop on how native grasses, bushes and wildflowers are grown at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy Native Seed Farm to produce seeds that get used to restore and enhance habitat throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Join Conservancy staff and volunteers any Wednesday or Saturdaymorning from 8 to 11 a.m. to collect seeds that support habitat restoration sites throughout the open space.
Nestled in a valley in Irvine, the Native Seed Farm is a 14-acre farm that harvests as much as 1,000 pounds of seeds per year – enough to fuel projects at sites within the Landmarks’ expansive canyons and nature preserves. Nature lovers age 8 and older are welcome to roll up their sleeves for a morning harvest that will benefit the wildlands. Volunteers are an integral part of the harvesting process, which is led by Seed Farm Stewardship Coordinator Rachel Lambert.
“Volunteers are crucial to the farm’s seed production bottom-line, but they also bring a sense of wonder to the harvesting process. I’ll see accountants, teenagers, and even repeat volunteers have these moments where they really connect with the land,” commented Lambert. “To hear them talk about their experience of giving back to nature is so satisfying. Restoring these beautiful lands with the help of the community makes the process so much more meaningful,” Lambert continued.
During the month of August, volunteers will harvest seeds from late summer plants such as the California Mugwort, a perennial bush with small yellow flowers that hold tiny but powerful seeds. Two aromatic sages – Black Sage and White Sage – will also be ripe for harvesting, along with California Buckwheat, a sturdy and productive bush with charming “poof ball” flowers. Volunteers will use simple hands-on techniques to harvest the seeds, including “finger combing,” “hand stripping,” and shaking seed into buckets. Getting in on the action at the Conservancy’s Native Seed Farm offers a behind-the-scenes opportunity to nurture the environment and connect with the Landmarks.

Join Irvine Ranch Conservancy volunteers at the Native Seed Farm for harvesting activities on Wednesday and Saturdaymornings by clicking here. Volunteering at the farm is easy – no hiking is required, and all tools and training are provided. All activities are family friendly and free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. Children 8 years old and up are welcome to volunteer on the farm, and must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. For more details on programs at the Native Seed Farm, click here or visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.

Credit:

Irvine Ranch Conservancy

Irvine Ranch Conservancy is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization created in 2005 to help preserve and support the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, enhancing the public’s connection to the land while helping partners and landowners with all aspects of stewardship. The Conservancy offers a variety of free, guided outdoor programs for all nature enthusiasts including hiking, mountain biking, horse-back riding and much more. For more information, visit www.letsgooutside.org

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