An Indiana University of Pennsylvania student organization is looking to give away plant seeds and for donated seeds to exchange with the attendees. The Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity, and Sustainability (SEEDS) Club of IUP, a student-organized group, will host the sixth annual Community Seed Swap on Saturday, October 12, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
The event, free and open to the community, will be held on IUP’s campus in the HUB Ohio Room.
The event is part of a larger project to add to the Northern Appalachian Seed Bank. Persons attending are encouraged to bring seeds and stories about the seeds. A seed donation is not required to receive seeds. All seeds will be available at no cost. The biology students in the SEEDS Club of IUP have gathered seeds from wildflowers of known local wild provenance and assembled some herb and vegetable seeds donated by heritage seed organizations.
From 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Dana Driscoll will present, “Medicinal and Edible Plants of Indiana County.” Driscoll is a professor of English and also teaches in the Sustainability Studies program at IUP. She is a specialist in wild foods, edible plants, folk herbalism, homesteading, and sustainable living. She practices traditional western herbalism and is a certified permaculture designer and permaculture teacher. She has been giving plant walks in the Western Pennsylvania region and beyond for over eight years. Her focus is on ecological awareness and balance, encouraging attendees not only to harvest plants, but to learn how to sustain our ecosystem and work with plants to actively regenerate damaged places.
Weather permitting, Dana will lead us on a plant walk on IUP’s campus, discussing edible, medicinal, and craft/survival uses of local plants. Plants will include cornelian cherry, service berry, oak, goldenrod, New England aster, eastern hemlock, white pine, plantain, chickweed, dandelion, hawthorn, and much more. If the weather is poor, we will instead be making herbal plant preparations and learning about key backyard plants that can be used for healing.
Persons wishing to share seeds are asked to provide the following information about each type of plant: common name, year of harvest, growth habit (height of mature plant), and stories that go along with the seeds. Seeds can be brought in any quantity and container.
No genetically modified organism (GMO) or hybrid seeds should be brought for exchange.
Tables will be set up with seeds divided by vegetable, fruit or wildflower; volunteers will be stationed at each table to oversee the labeling of donated seeds, the distribution of seeds, and answer questions.
The event is family-friendly. There will be pumpkin and face painting, a costume contest, and trick-or-treating. The children’s activities are also free. Assistance has been generously provided by the Ecological Society of America, the professional society of Ecologists that sponsors campus SEEDS clubs.
The Seed Swap is made possible by the support of the IUP Biology Department. The student organizer of the Seed Swap and the student president of the SEEDS club is Emily Easterday.
For more information or to volunteer at the event, persons should contact Ellen Yerger, faculty advisor for the Biology Department SEEDS Club, at email@example.com.