Park board cleans, plants seeds


BRADNER – It takes work to separate native seeds from their pods, as Wood County Park District board members recently learned.

Members rubbed the pods over a fine mesh screen and then spread the collected seed across a restoration area at Bradner Preserve, where the September board meeting was held.

Everything is done by hand, including collecting and cultivating more than 140 species a year, Zeb Albert, stewardship coordinator, told the board.

The public can help clean native seeds that have been harvested from park district properties on Nov. 14 from 6-8 p.m. at the Reuthinger Preserve greenhouse.

“They tend to be very popular programs,” Albert said. “They tend to get somewhat rowdy with the vibe of a book club or knitting circle.

“We utilize a huge amount of volunteer force that help us out. We wouldn’t be able to do nearly what we can do if we didn’t have the volunteer help that we have,” he said.

There really is no manufactured equipment to harvest plants or sort seeds, and Albert said he made the mesh screens used by board members.

Currently, native nursery nights are being held with volunteers helping with weeding and planting. The next work night is Sept. 28 from 6-8 p.m., during which volunteers will help plant, maintain and harvest seed from the native plants in the nursery, located at Reuthinger Preserve.

Albert said that birds, butterflies and insects depend on different host plants and the more species available, the more the ecosystem will be supported.

The stewardship department also works to get rid of invasive plants, he said.

The shaft left over after the seeds are separated will be put into a restoration area, he said in answer to a question by board member Bill Cameron.

Once the seeds are separated, they will be weighed to get a good proximation of how much seed they have, Albert said, and to figure out how much seed needs to be purchased.

The dollar per ounce for seeds ranges from $3 to $200.

Any given year, his department collects on average seeds valued at $10,000 if they were to be purchased, Albert said.

Cameron and board member Sandy Wiechman spread the seeds that were collected across a restoration area in the preserve.

Cameron said after the meeting that he had never done that before.

“I like wildflowers so to me that was very enjoyable,” he said. “But more enjoyable was learning how they do the seeds.

“I didn’t know that’s how they did it when they do their seed cleaning,” he said about the earlier task completed by the board.

Also at the meeting, the board:

Learned that several drives into Bradner Preserve were tarred and chipped.

“They provide great access to the park, but they’re stone drives and stone lots and they’ve been beat up over the last several seasons,” said park district Director Chris Smalley.

Learned the Mercer Road sewer line project in front of park headquarters should be completed by Sept. 29 and the park district will have 120 days to connect to the line.

Approved a resolution to sell surplus equipment, mostly from the park police. Old police radios will be donated to the Fostoria Fire Department.

“They’re very old but Fostoria would still like them,” park district police Chief Steve Thomson.

The radios originally were gifted to the park district by the Wood County Emergency Management Agency.

Were shown new way-finding signs. Assistant Director Andrew Kalmar said that the signs, placed on posts, will include QR codes that will provide park maps, rules and regulations and access to the park’s website, he said.

The park board will install new signs as well as replace some that have been there for 30 years, he said.

Wood County Park District Assistant Director Andrew Kalmar shows new way-finding signs that will include QR codes that will provide park maps, rules and regulations and access to the park’s website.

The new signs will first be installed at W.W. Knight Preserve, Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve, Bradner Preserve and Cedar Creek Preserve.

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