This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Volunteer day at Kankakee Sands

Every once in a while I go to one of the events I list on the "Bulletin Board." On Saturday, March 20, I decided it would be fun to see what the Nature Conservancy was up to in their wild plant nursery, so I drove over to volunteer a couple of hours of effort transplanting seedlings.

Their seed nursery is just a stone's throw from the North Newton Junior and Senior High School. The small parking lot was almost full, probably because the other volunteers had managed to get there on time, not 15 minutes late. (At least I beat the guy and gal who came two and a half hours late.)
The greenhouse is a simple structure, made of a heavy plastic stretched over a metal frame.
Inside there were trays of seedlings that were tightly crowded together. They needed to be to be moved to more spacious quarters.
And that is what most of us did. We broke apart clumps of tiny plants, searched for the ones that were largest and had the best root systems, and put one and only one into each little pot. When we finished one flat, we would start on another. (Those nice holes in each pot were made by the insertion of a finger.)
The people who were there had come from many places, though I seemed to be the only person representing Rensselaer. Some lived close to the nursery, but others came from Lafayette, Indianapolis, and Muncie. They were very friendly and there was a lot of talk. Somehow the topic of Conrad Station came up, and I mentioned that Jennie Conrad was crazy. One of the locals objected, saying that Jenny Conrad was someone she greatly admired. Maybe I should have said she was eccentric and cantankerous. After that, I mostly just listened.

Several different kinds of plants were being transplanted. I was working on something called the Joe-Pye weed. I had never heard of it before, but now I will have to find it to see what it looks like. It prefers damp conditions.
When I finished my first flat of seedlings, I took it to the front (back?) of the green house and set it with the other nine that had been completed. There were only 50 more to go.

There were a lot of people working and some of them knew what they were doing. I kept wondering why I was not at home planting tomatoes and other things to get some seedlings ready for my garden. However, time flew by and soon we had all 60 done and then we moved on to other types of plant. Some people were doing a plant called a Turtle Head. My last flat was with a plant that had the name Ivory in it.
It was a different Saturday morning, and now I want to go back this summer and see what their seed beds look like, especially the seed bed with Joe-Pye Weed.

Their next volunteer day is April 3, and it looks to be more of the same. Go here for other days.


Sarah said...

USDA plant database is fun. Here is their entry on joe pye weed: The illustration isn't the greatest, though, so you'll have to go back to see it mature later in summer.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your good work. Yea for volunteers like you.