Students growing oaks for Wine Country
by Zarah Wyly
May 31, 2018
As our planting season
comes to a close, we like to take a moment to look back at this year’s acorn
harvest and reflect on what we accomplished. Since the acorn crop was much
smaller than average for the Sacramento region, it forced us to explore beyond
our own neck of the woods to find enough viable acorns for our habitat
restoration program. Nevertheless, our community was determined to find a way!
In August, we began the
annual process of applying for permits to harvest acorns and planning
educational opportunities for our community. Our two
fantastic Acorn Interns, both students from Sacramento State University, put
in over 200 hours of work helping us scout harvesting locations, work with
partnering land managers, receive the acorn collections, and prepare our
nursery for the work to come. Over the next few months, 25 volunteers harvested
just under 7,000 acorns. The interns then checked, cleaned, and carefully packed
each acorn in cold storage until it was time to sprout them.
Every harvest is
special, but last fall’s harvest was particularly meaningful. In partnership
with the Solano Land Trust, we harvested native acorns from their Lynch Canyon
property near the burn area from the Atlas Fire last fall.
Through our Seed to
Seedling program, we sent many of these acorns to 70 3
grade classrooms throughout the Sacramento Region for the students to grow them
into seedlings. Teachers receive all of the materials and educational
curriculum free of charge, allowing the students to learn about trees and our
Now standing about 6 inches tall, these tiny trees just made
their way back to our nursery with sweet notes of encouragement from their
caretakers. We’ll continue nurturing them all summer, keeping them safe from
critters and the heat. This fall, these seedlings will be available to
individuals and organizations looking to replant after the devastating Wine
The rest of our acorns
were potted up at our nursery yard where they will grow all summer. These
seedling oaks will be used for reforestation and restoration plantings in the
fall and winter of 2018. In most cases, we will plant new seedling trees from
acorns harvested from the same watershed.
Thank you to the Acorn
Interns, harvest volunteers, teachers and students! Stay tuned for updates this
fall, when more volunteers will plant these seedlings in restoration sites.
Want to make a difference in your community? Join us at one of our volunteer events!