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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Seed-saving at the beach

On Thursday I got an email message reminding me that "This Saturday is a work day at Illinois Beach State Park. We will continue to collect native plant seed in the north unit. We will meet at the Nature Center at 9 a.m....Then we will drive to Hosah Prairie in Zion and the north unit to collect seed. The seed will be used for restoring areas where the roads are being removed in the north unit.  The prairie is in its peak fall colors!"

I didn't have a mandatory obligation, so I joined the group on Saturday morning:  volunteer coordinator Don, IBSP naturalist Dwayne, and a dozen other people from Beach Park/Winthrop Harbor/Zion and from farther away (two botany students from Wheaton College). 

Getting instructions
It was a beautiful day to be on the beach prairie.  I was assigned mountain mint, which left a wonderful fragrance on my right hand (the one that did the picking).

Common Mountain Mint / Pycnanthemum virginianum
 "The name 'Mountain Mint' is something of a misnomer, because this plant and the majority of other members in this genus do not usually occur in mountainous habitats.....[There is a] presence of a strong mint fragrance in the crushed leaves of Common Mountain Mint."

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