The Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank collection priority is reflected in our Restoration Species target list, comprising 544 species of vascular plants characteristic of native habitats in the tallgrass prairie region. The goal is to collect seeds of each species from one population in each of the 12 ecoregions represented in the tallgrass prairie. We are looking for botanists throughout the Midwest and Great Plains to help us reach our goal! A stipend will be awarded for each collection on the target list made on our behalf and we also cover shipping costs. Our Restoration Collection target species lists have been recently updated for the 2013 collecting season. Please contact us for more information.
In July of 2011, employees from Cardinal Health’s packaging division in Waukegan, Illinois had a volunteer project day at the Seed Bank. While assisting cleaning seeds and learning about the seed banking process, they discovered that they were in a position to help improve our seed packaging technique. David Rudd and Michael Capp recommended that, to ensure we attain an airtight seal, we purchase a hospital grade heat sealing machine to replace the hand held clothes iron that we were using to seal our seeds in foil packets. Also, David and Michael offered to use their lab equipment and techniques at Cardinal to test our foil packets to determine the optimal temperature required to produce the best, airtight seal. Since maintaining a low relative humidity within the packets is critical to long-term, cold seed storage we are grateful for their contribution in making this part of the seed banking process the best it can be.
Fig. 1. Sealing sections of foil packets at different temperatures on our Rennco heat sealer in preparation for testing seal strength.
Fig. 2. Pouring Tortelene Blue solution into a foil packet to test a seal for air tightness.
Fig. 3. An Instron material testing insturment testing the seal strength of a strip of foil packet by measuring the force required to pull apart the seal.
Our collection priority is reflected in our Restoration Species target list, which comprises 544 species of vascular plants characteristic of common native habitats in the tallgrass prairie region and are important for habitat restoration work. Our goal is to collect seeds of each species from one population in each of the 12 ecoregions represented in the tallgrass prairie. We are soliciting botanists throughout the Midwest to help us reach our goal. A stipend will be awarded for each collection on the target list made on our behalf. We also cover shipping costs.
Botanic Gardens and other participants in The Millennium Seed Bank Project completed their goal of banking seeds of 10% of the world's flora or 24,200 plants. The Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank contributed over 1,300 collections towards that goal.
Sara and John Cooper have been very busy creating beautiful images of the seeds in the collection of the Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank. Every week sees another set of beautiful images produced by this imaging duo. They painstakingly "plate-out" 1-5 seeds under a high-powered dissecting microscope, arrange them artistically and then snap some truly beautiful pictures. These images, while beautiful, also serve to document the identity of each species in the collection. Many of these seeds have never been been photographed before.