SPP Conservation Nursery Internship Experience
by SPP Undergraduate Intern Candace Penn
Editor’s note: Candace, SPP’s undergraduate intern this summer, has been working with our Conservation Nursery project, growing endangered prairie plants. Her post below was written in late July.
After just five weeks with the Sustainability in Prisons Project as a conservation nursery intern, I find myself at home at Shotwell’s Landing when I smell the fresh pile of soil being turned in the morning air. I really enjoy working with the volunteers and the Washington Department of Corrections (D.O.C.) community crews. But most of all, I love the ability to watch a seed grow into gorgeous plant. I feel such accomplishment, a kind of accomplishment you can’t get from working in a lab or classroom.
I have gained a different appreciation for the plants at Shotwell’s from my program at The Evergreen State College this summer, Creating Community and Health Through Gardens. For example, the Plantain we grow that serves as a vital habitat for the female Checkerspot butterflies to lay their eggs is also a healing herb that is also referred to as Indian band aid. The leaves can be used to heal open wounds or just cuts and scrapes. A tincture can be made with olive oil: a simplified instruction for this would be 1 part dried plantain leaves to 2 parts olive oil.
Aside from the beauty at the nursery there is a lot of behind the scenes work that gets done. Interns from the Center for Natural Lands Management collected strawberry runners and a group of interns, volunteers, [SPP Graduate Research Associate] Evan Hayduk and I cut growing nodes for propagation. The vines were stored in the fridge for a week, then DOC crews helped plant them and today I watered them in the greenhouse. I have been moving a lot of trays around trying to make sure the strawberries are out of direct sunlight since this could shock the young plants just starting to root. I really enjoy the collaborative working environment.
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