Regenerate Grey Bruce looking for volunteer seed collectors

A Greenbelt Foundation-funded project known as Regenerate Grey Bruce (RGB) invites community members to participate in an emerging native plant value chain. 

Milkweed, Photo by Hagerty Ryan, USFWS on Pixnio

RGB believes that “regeneration” is the action we can take together to respond to complex challenges between humans and living landscapes.  Landscapes in Grey and Bruce Counties are under threat from housing development, industrial farming, invasive species, and a changing climate.An acute shortage of seed collectors has been identified as a key challenge by a group of local stakeholders – native plant nurseries and other groups such as conservation groups, Conservation Authorities, the Forest Gene Conservation Association (FGCA), and by Carolinian Canada’s Southern Ontario Seed Strategy.  RGB is currently working with native plant nurseries, local farmers, and the general public to establish a localized production chain for native seeds and plants.  This production chain would entail creating a network between landowners and volunteers as primary seed collectors, farmers as wholesale growers, and native plant nurseries as growers, plant retailers, design consultants, and workshop teachers.Collecting native seeds is a rewarding activity but also requires skill and dedication.  Seed collectors need to identify a strong stand of native plants that they can access and monitor seed maturity regularly.  Most importantly, RGB needs volunteers to do the actual collection.  Seed collectors will be a core pillar of this project.We are looking for 5-10 curious individuals who are willing to participate in our emerging network of seed collectors.  Participants would learn, sharpen their nature skills, and become part of an intergenerational local community of regenerators. The following would be expected from participants:

  1. Take part in Forest Gene Conservation Association’s Seed Collectors Essentials Training (online, 4-8hr time commitment, late April) or, if desired, in the more involved Full Certified Seed Collector Course (additional 10-14h including an in-person event in Barrie, Ontario).  Costs for the “Essentials” course and the manual are approximately $140 and would be carried by the participant.
  2. Identify stands of 5-10 different native plants that you can monitor and observe conveniently. We will need hundreds of varieties and prefer to mix seeds from different stands of the same species, for more diversity. This can be trees (from sugar maple to bur oaks), perennials (from swamp milkweed to black-eyed susan), or shrubs (from ninebark to prickly rose).
  3. Collect and dry seeds for these plants.

Seeds will then be distributed to growers across the region.


There are a limited number of spots available, so rsvp with friendly staff at RGB.  Our staff will coordinate the program and give you advance access to the training, just connect with us soon by emailing us at  We are also open to suggestions and ideas regarding the native plant value chain.

A native seed shortage affects tree seeds, shrubs, perennials, and grasses.  We cannot restore the living world without one core resource: a strong supply of native seeds from plants that grow well and naturally here in Grey & Bruce.

The project Regenerate Grey Bruce is building a network of practitioners in landscape regeneration from our region, while formulating a narrative of hope for this region’s landscape in our changing climate.  A new landscape narrative will require a collective effort of our community to change our relationship with the land, the way that we value the land’s ecological functioning, and even how we value the land and the creatures that inhabit it.

The hosting organization is The Sustainability Project, formerly known as Grey Bruce Sustainability Network. This not-for-profit brings together community members who reside in this region, the Traditional Territory of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, who are dedicated to creating a culture of sustainability.  Together we’re learning about climate action, resilience to extreme weather, landscape regeneration, climate justice, food security, and the whole doughnut in doughnut economics.

The Greenbelt Foundation is supporting projects that increase plant cover in the Greenbelt & Niagara Escarpment.