Gratitude for Volunteers
2014 was a busy year for the Borderlands Restoration (BR) community. From educational workshops to restoration projects, to citizen science, to propagating native plants, we worked hard to restore and better support the biological diversity within our watershed. All this work wouldn’t have been achieved without many dedicated volunteers. Here I want to share the analysis of volunteer work from 2014, express humble gratitude for these awesome people, and invite you to come play.
With 556 volunteer hours, our largest volunteer effort last year came from youth education workshops held at Deep Dirt Farm Institute. The Institute hosted over 100 students from around the world, most of them hosted by Patagonia’s own Windsong Peace & Leadership Academy. At DDFI, students are inspired and empowered to look at the landscape differently and then pick up a shovel to make a difference.
Speaking of hands-on activities volunteers planted over 1,000 plants last year. The seeds from the plants were collected within our watershed and grown at the BR nursery. The plant materials collection teams collected 449 collections or accessions of plants, which doubled the collections from last year. The weekly greenhouse team grew 10,000 native plants for use in restoration projects and pollinator gardens.
There is a special pollinator garden being installed right now at Patagonia Union High School. Student volunteers, facilitated by Caleb Weaver and PUHS staff, are designing and constructing a living laboratory that is being used for science projects.
Kids aren’t the only ones having fun with science. Last year, 34 people dove deep into the evolutionary ecology of seeds at the BR seed lab. During lab days, volunteers learned how to identify and clean seeds. At weekly events last year, 324 seed traps were analyzed for a science project, and 188 accessions of seeds were cleaned.
There was some deep diving into flowers, too. Teams collected background information of the flowering landscape by looking at the phenology or timing of flowers and seed set at 4 restoration sites. This information tells us there are gaps in nectar availability for pollinators. Restoration plantings target these gaps, and data taken are helping us to discover better methods for these plantings, and for supporting our pollinator friends.
Last year we had a lot of fun learning from experts within our community. Some topics explored were compost techniques, plant/pollinator relationships, identification of grassland insects and native grasses, permaculture design, herbal medicine, and who can forget the creepy and arguably most fun – edible insect potluck!
We will be implementing restoration techniques & hosting science experiments on the 1,245-acre wildlife corridor recently purchased by BR partners, family & friends. There will be continued opportunities to be involved in this and other projects. Click here for information or Contact Us to be added to our email list.