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Boulder County is using native plant species to heal the land

 A volunteer extracts seeds from a pine cone at a workshop hosted by Boulder County Parks and Open Space as part of its native seed program.
Stacie Johnson
/
KGNU
A volunteer extracts seeds from a pine cone at a workshop hosted by Boulder County Parks and Open Space as part of its native seed program.

Boulder County Parks and Open Space is working with volunteers to collect, clean, and sow native seeds.

The program aims to ensure that naturally occurring ecosystems and their native populations continue to exist, while also helping open space areas heal from large-scale disturbances such as wildfires and floods.

Carrie Cimo, a volunteer coordinator for Boulder County Parks and Open Space, says the county has a robust, long-standing restoration program.

"For many decades, we've been doing ecological restoration across a myriad of different ecosystem types from grassland restoration, riparian restoration, to wildfire or flood restoration," she said.

"And maybe 20 or more years ago, we really identified the benefits and needs for the use of native seed in that ecological restoration effort that we have going on."

 Carrie Cimon, a volunteer coordinator with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, demonstrates different techniques for removing and cleaning seeds during a volunteer workshop on February 28, 2023.
Carrie Cimon, a volunteer coordinator with Boulder County Parks and Open Space, demonstrates different techniques for removing and cleaning seeds during a volunteer workshop on February 28, 2023.

Cimo says using native seeds and native plants help safeguard the county's restoration projects and land stewardship efforts for the long term.

"Because they're genetically adapted to this environment, to not only the weather, but the soil types and the micro habitats and the rockiness or the extreme elevational gradient that we have here in Boulder County. So collecting native seed in the landscape is not only a great way to provide that native plant material for our ecological restoration projects, but it's also a great way to involve the community in helping parks and open space to satisfy that restoration and to move it forward and instill that sense of care and stewardship on the landscape," she said.

This storywas shared with us via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations including KDNK in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.

Stacie Johnson