Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Calling All Virginian Acorns

The Virginia Department of Forestry has put out a statewide appeal for donations from any tree owners willing to bag up their acorns and deliver them to their city or county's forestry office.

They collect acorns to preserve native Virginia tree species. Growing Native is a year-round volunteer project that collects hardwood seeds and plants trees to help restore and protect rivers and streams in the Potomac River watershed. Citizens can help preserve native Virginia tree species by collecting acorns and delivering them to the VDOF nurseries.

10 species are collected by the Virginia Department of Forestry for planting in the seedling nursery in Augusta County. At that nursery and one near Courtland in Southampton County, the department grows 32 million hardwood and evergreen trees each year for sale. I find that statistic mind boggling - 32 million trees a year!! I'm fascinated by reforestation and man-made forests. I used to live in Johannesburg, one of the world's largest man-made forests. There are so many trees in Johannesburg now that the microclimate has been changed.

This year's appeal happened because the pin oaks and northern red oaks in the Shenandoah Valley have produced few or no acorns this year. So, fellow Virginians, here's your chance to do something that will benefit your grandchildren and their children.

They need white oak, pin oak, northern red oak, black oak, cherry-bark oak, chestnut oak, southern red oak, swamp chestnut oak, swamp white oak and willow oak, in addition to Chinese chestnuts.

The department's guidelines for collecting can be found here, but, in a nutshell, there are the two biggest things to remember: Don't mix acorns from different species in one bag, and please put a few tree leaves in the bag before sealing it to help with identification.

I can't think of a better activity for my two to do. Last year they must have collected 20lbs of acorns for their "collection". We had tubs of acorns all over the house for ages. Ben was reminiscing about his collection last weekend and I talked him out of making another collection this year. He is going to be over the moon to be encouraged to collect acorns.

We're surrounded by pin oaks so acorn collecting should be a breeze for us.

2 comments:

Danielle said...

Wow, that will give the kids something to do! We've got two oaks in our backyard and we get inundated with the acorns. Glad to pass them along to grow more trees. :)

mcnamee@potomac.org said...

Potomac Conservancy's Growing Native is a partner with the Virginia Department of Forestry for seed collection. Growing Native is a year-round volunteer project that collects hardwood seeds and plants trees to help restore and protect rivers and streams in the Potomac River watershed.

This fall, Growing Native has launched a "Get Out and Get Nuts" Challenge. For every pound of seed that is collected, Ford will donate $1 to Potomac Conservancy's tree restoration projects. So, as you collect, don't forget to enter!

After you collect your seeds, let us know how many pounds you have gathered by entering the "Get Out and Get Nuts" Challenge. Visit www.growingnative.org for more information!