Written By: Randi Trantham
Hi everyone! My name is Randi and I was recently brought on to the Native Plant Materials Program as a Botany Intern. I am originally from Las Cruces, New Mexico where I attended New Mexico State University and received my BS in Biology with my main focus being on plant science. Meanwhile, I worked at a fisheries lab studying the White Sands pupfish. While on this project I was tasked with creating a protocol for measuring riparian and aquatic plant growth at our field sites. After graduating I went on to get my MS in Curriculum & Instruction for Secondary Science Education. After completing my Master’s my husband and I took jobs as science teachers in Buckeye, AZ. When we left Buckeye and moved to Patagonia I knew I wanted to use my science background again and began actively looking to work with Borderlands.
I am almost a third of the way through with my internship and so far I have gotten to do some pretty awesome stuff. I spend part of my time at the Seed Lab learning to clean and package different types of seed (some more persistent seeds of which I still find in my clothing). The majority of my time is spent at the BR Nursery learning different techniques and practices to grow native plants. Specifically about native plants that we are growing in the greenhouse and the conditions in which they thrive in the wild. In the last few weeks, I have been learning to collect some springtime seeds and how to take cuttings from various plants.
After leaving teaching my mental health was a little beaten up. Teaching is hard! In no rush to return to the field of education I began searching for a job that would use my research background. During my adult life I became concerned with the state of our environment and this became something that was very important to me personally. I love that besides trying to live differently at home in small ways, I also get to make small (but great) differences through my job. I have seen small glimpses of the projects and goals that Borderlands strives towards and I look forward to experiencing them myself. Besides the rewarding work that I have been able to be a part of, the people I work with are so wonderful. I can truly say that I love the people at the Native Plant Materials Program. Everyone I have had the pleasure of working with has been extremely kind and helpful. This really is a great place to work and turned out to be exactly what I needed. :)
Written by: Francesca Claverie
This last Saturday, June 8th, the Native Plant Materials Program hosted our first Native Plant Propagation and Nursery Management class at our nursery space in Patagonia, AZ. Our Native Plant Materials Program management has taught many workshops and classes before on seed collection, and propagation but we usually teach them through a grant, a conference, our summer school, and other consult services. This class was advertised for just over a month, and we are proud to report that we had a full class of 12 people attend the workshop and we couldn’t be happier about it’s success! All the participants were enthusiastic, keen, and asked some wonderful question and participated in fun nursery discussions from clonal propagation to bench-pallet quality.
The mission of our Native Plant Program is to promote biodiversity by providing access to restoration-quality native plant materials. Native plants have edible, medicinal, and aesthetic value and support basic ecosystem function. We seek to heal the land and ourselves by exploring a culture of place, centered on a rich relationship with our native flora. Part of this exploration centers on encouraging native plant interactions, and the creation of more regional programs that use local plant genetics for use in the wild and cultivated landscape. This class specifically covered a tour of our facilities, the importance of the National Seed Strategy, container plant production timelines, species palettes, seed propagation: scarification and stratification, clone propagation: hormone, cuttings types, disease and pest control, soil types, and greenhouse construction.
The next class our native plant program will offer is a 2-day wild seed collection and curation class in September. We are not yet accepting sign ups for this class, but will be advertising it towards the end of summer. Wish us luck on this first nursery class, and stay tuned for more native plant classes throughout the year! If you have questions or inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!