Above is our new stewardship building at Nachusa Grasslands. The left half, with the lower roof height, is the seed room and science prep room. A few years back we ran out of room in our old HQ timber frame barn and so we banished the hired seasonal seed crew out of our that old barn and put them in an unheated shed which ended up having a leaking roof. The volunteers stayed in the heated Headquarters. This new Seed Room reunites volunteers and crew and we like that vibe. Here is a photo tour.
Bernie is giving a tour to two folks and the crew is pondering where harvested seed should go to be dried. Here is a ten second video of the crew working the room. https://youtu.be/ayLGdWVx0EI
These dangling tubes have room temp air blowing gently through them. They hook to PVC tubes with holes drilled in the plastic that let air filter up from the bottom of the barrel of damp seed and dry it out so it does not mold in storage.
This is a “squirrel cage” fan with the motor inside the cage for maximum cooling of the motor.
We installed a four speed fan switch to save energy and noise and can turn off the fan quick when we want quiet. Details of this drier system were the topic of a previous post https://grasslandrestorationnetwork.org/2019/11/07/seed-drier/
The seed racks were how we dried all our seed before we came up with the dangling tube Medusa drier. They are nice racks with four foot deep trays, and the trays slide in smoothly. Small white boards can be written on. These trays can be used to store little bags of seed for the season.
Cindy Buchholz milling seed, perhaps lead plant. There is a previous post about hammermills: https://grasslandrestorationnetwork.org/2020/01/16/seed-hammer-mill/
Matt Nugent filling a barrel with milled seed, which is dusty. The wall mounted exhaust fan is huge and moves the dust outside.
It is seed mixing time! After a long year of harvesting the crew reviews spreadsheets from past years to see where each species of seed could be distributed. Mix choices are dry prairie, dry mesic prairie, mesic prairie, wet prairie, savanna, woodland. Note the Flora of the Chicago Region by Wilhelm and Rericha is open. This Flora helps them think about where a species could grow.
Crew leaders Matt Nugent and Anna Scheidel. Behind them are some barrels of seeds of various species all layered up in the barrel. Later they will take all the dry mix barrels, dump them on the floor, use a shovel to mix them and then refill the barrels. Then they do this for each mix, a dusty job. Then they will be ready to plant.
Matthew Togger splitting seed to various mixes.
The seed room can get crowded with barrels and bags of seed. To lower chaos we have the hired crew using white seed tags and white barrel tags while the Stewards use green.