CUYAHOGA VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, Ohio – It’s harvest time in northeast Ohio. At Cuyahoga Valley National Park, volunteers are busy filling bags with nature’s fruits, seeds, all in an effort to help Mother Nature.
“Today we are working with volunteers to collect native dogwood seeds. These seeds will be used to grow our own native dogwoods which will eventually be planted throughout the park, ”said Cami Miller, Community Volunteer Ambassador at Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
“I love bringing volunteers to the park, especially with everything that is going on in the world,” she added. “Our parks have been heavily used since COVID as a place of solace and comfort.”
Henry Gulich is one of the volunteers helping. He is a retired engineer and has spent most of his life in the public service, including 10 years as director of the public service for the town of Euclid.
“It’s hardly a problem for me to come here and help on a weekday, which I do today. And I plan to do that on Friday, too, ”Gulich said.
Susanna Stoepfel is a biological science technician at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. She said Mother Nature can sow the seeds and grow them independently, “but not necessarily at the rate that we would like to happen. This process just helps areas that have been degraded or deforested to regenerate much more. quickly. “
Restoring native plants benefits the environment by preventing soil erosion, removing invasive species, and providing more nutritional resources for wildlife.
“I’ve heard that if we only ate rice for the rest of our lives, would we really be that healthy? And that’s kind of what invasive plants provide our wildlife. Just a source of nutrients, ”Miller said.
The seeds that the volunteers strive to collect are stored in refrigerators to simulate winter. Then they are planted and maintained in a greenhouse in the spring until they are strong enough to plant. Volunteers will help with the planting.
“I hope we can continue our restoration efforts and move forward and tackle climate change,” Miller said. “And I hope we can continue to be a place where people find joy and happiness.”
For more information on volunteer events, visit the Cuyahoga Valley National Park website.