Native Plant Sale: May 7!

Our Native Plant Nursery, part of the Society for Ecological Restoration – UW Chapter (SER-UW), will be hosting a public plant sale on Sunday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Held at the Douglas Research Conservatory, the Native Plant Sale will feature more than 40 different species, from vanilla leaf to Douglas-fir, so come pick out your favorite plants and support your local student-run nursery!

Most of these plants are grown and propagated by students for other students’ projects and classes. Your support helps to keep them going and growing!

Learn more about SER-UW and the Native Plant Nursery, connect with them on Facebook, and feel free to contact the nursery managers, Derek Allen and Kimmy Ertel, by email anytime.

Hope you can make the sale!

Native Plant Sale: November 6!

The Society for Ecological Restoration- UW Chapter’s Native Plant Nursery will be hosting a public plant sale on Sunday, November 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Douglas Research Conservatory at the Center for Urban Horticulture. They will be selling 50 different species—from Pacific bleeding hearts to Oregon grape, Sitka spruce, poplars, salmonberry and many more—so come pick out your favorite native plants and support your local student-run nursery!

The Native Plant Nursery provides plants to on-campus restoration projects. Using its brand-new hoop house, the nursery has cultivated an extensive inventory of more than 2,400 plants native to the forests and prairies of Lower Puget Sound, including more than 70 different species. Their plants are sourced from plant salvages, donations from local business, campus research projects and classes, and from collected seeds. All proceeds from the sale go toward funding SER-UW restoration projects on campus, and providing horticulture learning opportunities for UW students.

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Native Plant Nursery: Hoop It Up

by Karl Wirsing/SEFS

Three winters ago, the Society for Ecological Restoration – UW Chapter (SER-UW) started organizing native plant salvages, and by late April they had several burlap sacks filled with leftover plants from restoration projects around campus. SEFS doctoral candidate Jim Cronan remembers checking to see how well those plants were doing when a duck flew out of one of the bags. The fact that a duck family was nesting in a plant bag made them realize they might need a little better storage system, so they decided to organize their first potting party in the spring.

Anna, at right, has made her work on the Native Plant Nursery the subject of her Master of Environmental Horticulture (MEH) thesis project.

Kelly Broadlick, left, and Anna Carragee, who has made her work on the Native Plant Nursery the subject of her Master of Environmental Horticulture (MEH) thesis project.

Initially, SER-UW had only planned a temporary holding for the plants until they could be planted. But that fall, Jim started envisioning a more structured nursery program as a way to hold surplus plants coming in from salvages. SER-UW got permission from the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) to use some bench space in one of the hoop houses for growing plants, and student employees at CUH started including their plants in the normal watering schedule in spring and summer. Then the native plant propagation class helped by donating prairie plants and setting up an irrigation system in spring 2014, and suddenly the Native Plant Nursery had taken root.

The next year, Jim approached fellow grad students Kelly Broadlick and Amanda Pole about becoming managers of the new nursery. They started recruiting volunteers and raising plants from seeds for the first time, and they ended up salvaging and potting about 1,000 plants that year. By spring 2015, SEFS master’s student Anna Carragee had gotten involved, and the nursery felt some real momentum. “Hey, we’re onto something!” Anna remembers thinking. “So we wrote a Campus Sustainability Fund (CSF) grant application and ended up getting $54,000 to build a permanent hoop house, fund two manager positions, and start propagating more plants.”

With a huge boost from the grant funding, SER-UW was able to formalize the nursery program starting in the fall of 2015. They coordinated a species list, recruited interns for the first time—two per quarter—and decided to organize a restoration work party every Friday to be more consistent and have more people involved. The work parties have really caught on, too. Through the course of 24 scheduled outings, Anna says they have worked with an impressive 248 volunteers, totaling 918 volunteer hours.

In 2008, SEFS alumna Lauren Urgensen (’11, Ph.D.) founded SER-UW to bring together students at UW with a common interest in the science and practice of ecological restoration—and a common goal to restore and sustain the biodiversity of the campus.

In 2008, SEFS alumna Lauren Urgensen (’11, Ph.D.) founded SER-UW to bring together students at UW with a common interest in the science and practice of ecological restoration—and a common goal to restore and sustain the biodiversity of the campus.

The Native Plant Nursery now has an inventory of more than 2,400 plants native to the forests and prairies of Lower Puget Sound, including more than 70 different species. The plants are available for educational purposes and put to real use in restoration projects around campus, including Whitman Walk and Kincaid Ravine. “We like to think of ourselves as an educational hub for horticultural learning, and we want to be like the UW Farm—except for native plants,” says Anna.

To build their inventory and make optimal use of resources, the nursery has made some creative partnerships, including with the King County Native Plant Salvage Program—which was how they originally secured plants for restoration projects—and collecting cuttings from UW gardeners to have them turned into live stakes and cuttings at the nursery. They enjoy a steady stream of volunteers from ESRM 100, which has a component requiring students to volunteer at least once during the quarter. The nursery also sells plants to Restoration Ecology Network capstone students for their projects (their course fees include a budget to purchase plants), as well as to the Restoration of North American Ecosystems class; Anna says they work really hard to grow the species those students want.

Those sales provide a little funding support, and the nursery is actively looking for more ways to keep growing and thriving. In fact, they just hired two new nursery managers (both first-year MEH students), Courtney Bobsin this past winter quarter and Mary-Margaret Greene starting this spring. Courtney and Mary-Margaret are off to a running start, too, as they’re writing a second CSF grant in search of funding for research assistant positions to develop curriculum for the nursery and study how best to develop propagation protocols for the nursery’s plants.

Early construction work at the hoop house site.

Early construction work at the hoop house site.

The biggest development from the original CSF grant, though, was getting a permanent hoop house built at CUH. Working with the honor society of UW’s Construction Management department, Sigma Lambda Chi, they were able to complete the project a couple weeks ago—and we’re not talking about some ordinary garden shed, either. The hoop house is 30 feet by 48 feet, and about 15 feet tall, and it vastly increases the space for the Native Plant Nursery to house its plants and operate. “With the building of the hoop house, we have a home base,” says Anna, “and it helps solidify our identity. We’re really here to stay.”

If you want to check out the newest structure at CUH, the Native Plant Nursery is hosting a ribbon-cutting party on Friday, April 22, from 5 p.m. to sunset. “It’s going to be a big party—and for once not a work party!” says Anna. They’ll have beer and wine, food, raffles and activity stations, and even a live band, Sweet Lou’s Sour Mash. (RSVP today!)

And if you’d like to get even more involved, check out the Native Plant Nursery website, which has an upcoming events page that includes work parties, and you can also email sernursery@gmail.com. Anna says they always welcome extra hands on restoration projects, and also positive energy. “Showing up, being enthusiastic—that helps us keep going!”

Photos courtesy of the Native Plant Nursery.

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Native Plant Nursery: Spring 2016 Internships!

The UW student chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER-UW) is seeking applicants for two undergraduate intern positions to work in the Native Plant Nursery during the spring quarter. These positions are unpaid, but interns can receive ESRM 399 credit and will gain all sorts of hands-on learning experience!

2016_03_UW-SER Spring InternshipsThe Native Plant Nursery is located on campus at the Center for Urban Horticulture. It is a student-run operation that provides plants to the on-campus restoration projects that SER-UW manages. This year, with the support of a Campus Sustainability Fund grant, the nursery is expanding by building a new hoop house, growing more plants from seed and cuttings, and increasing its opportunities for volunteer involvement.

About the Internships
Interns are expected to devote an average of nine hours a week to nursery projects. In conjunction with the co-managers, interns will develop learning objectives based on individual interests and strengths, receiving credit for ESRM 399 or their school’s equivalent. The interns’ time will be split between routine plant maintenance, plant propagation, nursery infrastructure projects, helping with weekly volunteer work parties, and individual projects. Each intern will have a different focus to help tackle the many and diverse needs of a native plant nursery. The two intern position descriptions are as follows:

Communications Intern will produce a video telling the story of the SER nursery, work on increasing volunteer involvement with outside groups, produce written content for newsletters, social media and advertising, and assist with the coordination of a large community event.

Botany Intern will assist in plant propagation and production of native species grown in the nursery, developing plant irrigation systems, organizing a public plant sale, and preparing the nursery for the summer months.

Both interns are expected to:

  • be willing to get dirty, get wet, and work in all weather conditions
  • be on time and follow directions closely
  • work well with fellow interns and co-managers, and be comfortable working independently
  • problem solve and know when to ask for help
  • work well with volunteers and be available for weekly volunteer work parties
  • be able to lift 40 pounds and walk on uneven terrain

Interested? Learn more about SER-UW on their website and Facebook page, and email them at sernursery@gmail.com if you have any questions or would like to apply.

Applications are due by Monday, March 7, so act swiftly!

This Sunday (11/15): Native Plant Sale!

The Native Plant Nursery invites you to support and help promote the Native Plant Sale coming up this Sunday, November 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture!

Native Plant Sale hosted by the Society for Ecological RestoratiThe Native Plant Nursery is a student-run operation that provides plants to on-campus restoration projects managed by the student guild of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER-UW). The nursery has an inventory of more than 2,400 plants native to the forests and prairies of Lower Puget Sound, including more than 70 different species. Their plants are sourced from plant salvages, donations from local business, campus research projects and classes, and from collected seeds. All proceeds from the sale go toward funding SER-UW restoration projects on campus, and providing horticulture learning opportunities for UW students.

Learn more about SER-UW on Facebook and on the group’s website, and if have any questions about the Native Plant Sale, email sernursery@gmail.com!

Native Plant Nursery Internships

The UW student chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration’s (SER-UW) native plant nursery is located on campus at the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH). It is a student-run operation that provides plants to the on-campus restoration projects that SER-UW manages. This year, with the support of a Campus Sustainability Fund grant, the nursery is expanding by building a new hoop house, growing more plants from seed and cuttings, and increasing its opportunities for volunteer involvement.

To help with these projects, the native plant nursery is seeking two undergraduate student interns for fall quarter!

2015_06_UW-SER InternshipsRequirements
An interest in native plants and sustainable horticulture practices is a must, but previous experience is not required. Interns are expected to devote an average of 9 hours a week to nursery projects. In conjunction with the co-managers, interns will develop learning objectives based on individual interests and strengths to receive credit for ESRM 399. The interns’ time will be split between routine plant maintenance, plant propagation, nursery infrastructure projects, helping with weekly volunteer work parties, and individual projects. Each intern will have a different focus to help tackle the many and diverse needs of a native plant nursery:

The Building Projects Intern will help construct rolling sidewalls on the hoop house, a potting bench, plant production tables and an irrigation system. Applicant should be comfortable with power tools (or willing to learn) and have a desire to engage in the design/build process.

The Communications Intern will help develop an advertising strategy to increase volunteer involvement, assist with SER-UW’s WordPress website design, develop an online inventory, advertise work parties, and maintain and increase the club’s social media presence.

Both interns are expected to:

  • be willing to get dirty, get wet and work in all weather conditions
  • be on time and follow directions closely
  • work well with fellow interns and co-managers, and be comfortable working independently
  • problem solve and know when to ask for help
  • work well with volunteers and be available for weekly volunteer work parties
  • be able to lift 40 pounds and walk on uneven terrain

Interested?
Applications are due by Friday, August 28. To apply, send a resume and a 300- to 500-word description of why you are interested, what you want to learn, and how your previous work experience and/or coursework apply to this position. Contact the nursery co-managers, Anna Carragee and Kelly Broadlick, at sernursery@gmail.com with questions, for more information or to submit your application.