How and Where to collect seed: First, be reasonably sure the site is a remnant population of the original vegetation. Seek permission from the property owner before collecting. Keep in mind two important ideas:
- Attempt to collect roughly equal amounts of seed from several individuals in the population.
- Generally speaking, near neighbors are more closely related genetically than distant individuals, so it is important to collect seed from throughout the population.
For very large areas with large populations, walk a few transects, collecting seed every few paces as you go. Try to randomize the process, avoid intentionally selecting plants based on size, color, vigor or any other trait. The point is to capture genetic diversity, not novelty. Also, don’t take it all. “Take half, leave half’ as the saying goes. A small lunch-sized bag of seedheads, or up to 1/4 cup of cleaned seed is sufficient from each population.
Fill out the information on collection label, and attach to bag of seed collected from each population. Carefully note location, including range (RGNE), township (TNSHIP), section and quarter section, if possible. Other landmarks such as roads, streams, ponds, etc. are helpful to include on the section diagram. This information is necessary for source identified certification, but will remain confidential.
Mail Seed To:
Tallgrass Prairie Center
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0294
Attn: Natural Selections