Tomorrow’s Trees, A Local People-Powered Seed Collection Initiative

(Photo: Canva.com)

By Julie Chapman

Alexandria, VA – Tomorrow’s Trees, a program of the Potomac Conservancy, is a people-powered seed collection initiative that creates future forests for healthy rivers and streams. This fall, volunteers from all over the Potomac River region are gathering tree seeds in their communities and gifting them to state nursery farms, where the seeds are nurtured and transplanted in reforestation projects.

Last fall, Tomorrow’s Trees volunteers collected more than 650 pounds of seeds from species that evolved locally, including black walnut, wild cherry, and northern red oak.

Why collect seeds from native trees?

Tree species that evolved in the Potomac River region have adapted to local soil conditions, weather, and precipitation patterns. These locally evolved species are more likely to thrive.

(Photo: Canva.com)

Native trees are also better for wildlife. Over thousands of years, the Potomac River region’s wildlife has also evolved to rely on native tree species for food and shelter. From a biodiversity perspective, tree species that haven’t evolved locally attract far less wildlife. For instance, in the East’s temperate forests, white oak trees provide habitat for more than 430 caterpillar species, which are protein-packed insects that feed a wide variety of birds and their babies.

We all have a responsibility to help protect the Potomac River. To start collecting acorns or become involved in other ways, check out tomorrows-trees.org.

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