He clears the garden board and plants the seeds

BRADNER – Separating native seeds from their pods takes a lot of effort, as Wood County Park District board members recently learned.

Members rubbed the pods on a fine mesh screen and then spread the collected seeds across the restoration area at the Bradner Reserve, where the board meeting was held in September.

Everything is done by hand, including collecting and planting more than 140 species annually, Zeb Albert, stewardship coordinator, told the council.

The public can help clean up native seeds harvested from park district properties on November 14 from 6-8pm at the Reuthinger Preserve greenhouse.

“It tends to be very popular,” Albert said. “They tend to get a bit rowdy with the atmosphere of a book club or knitting circle.

“We use a tremendous amount of volunteer power that helps us. 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 is actually no equipment manufactured to harvest the plants or sort the seeds, and Albert said he made the gratings that board members use.

Currently, local nursery nights are held with volunteers helping with weeding and planting. The next work night is September 28 from 6 to 8 p.m., where volunteers will help plant, maintain and harvest seeds from native plants at the nursery located in the Reuthinger Reserve.

Birds, butterflies and insects depend on different host plants, and the more species available, the more ecosystem support, Albert said.

He added that the Department of Supervision is also working to get rid of invasive plants.

The column remaining after seed separation will be placed in a restoration area, he said in response to a question from board member Bill Cameron.

Once the seeds are separated, they will be weighed to get a good rough estimate of how much seed is in them, and to know how much seed to buy, Albert said.

The price of an ounce of seeds ranges from $3 to $200.

In any given year, Albert said, his department collects seeds worth an average of $10,000 if purchased.

Cameron and board member Sandy Wichman spread the collected seeds across the preserve’s restoration area.

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

“I love wildflowers, so it was a lot of fun for me,” he said. “But the most fun is learning how to plant seeds.

“I didn’t know that’s how they did it when they cleaned the seeds,” he said of the previous task completed by the council.

Also at the meeting, the Council said:

I learned that many of the drives to the Bradner Preserve had been tarred and chopped up.

“They provide great access to the park, but they are stone paths and stone pieces and have taken a beating over the last several seasons,” park district manager Chris Smalley said.

I learned that the Mercer Road sewer line project in front of park headquarters must be completed by September 29 and the park district will have 120 days to connect to the line.

The decision to sell surplus equipment was mostly approved by the park police. Old police radios will be donated to the Fostoria Fire Department.

“They’re older but Fostoria still loves them,” Park District Police Chief Steve Thompson said.

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

New signposts have been introduced. Assistant Director Andrew Kalmar said signs placed on the 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 in place for 30 years, he said.

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

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