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Seeds to Saplings Challenge

Have you ever grown a tree from seed all the way to sapling? You can help your community and environment by collecting, growing, and planting native trees. Follow the instructions on www.seedstosaplings.ca to take the Seeds to Saplings Challenge! Their instructions are to grow native trees in Eastern Canada. Resources are included here for other native trees across the country.

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Plan

  • What trees are native to your local area? 
  • When will you collect seeds?  
  • How will you record data on where you collect and what you do during the project? 
  • Where can you plant your trees in the spring? Make sure you have permission to plant.  

Do

  • Find a big, healthy native tree to collect seeds from in the fall.  
  • Collect your seeds, test if they are viable, and prepare them for winter.  
  • Check on your seeds throughout the winter and make sure they don't dry out. 
  • When your seeds grow roots in the spring, plant them in potting soil in a recycled milk carton or set them on a glass bottle filled with water for hydroponic growing. If you do hydroponics, later transfer your seedling to a soil container.  
  • Water your seed when the soil is dry and watch it grow into a seedling! 
  • When summer comes, find a place to plant your seedling outside. Watch over it and care for it until it grows into a healthy sapling.  

Review

  • What do you know about native trees that you did not know before? 
  • What part of the project did you like the best? 
  • Did any of your seeds not grow well, or not at all? Can you make a guess why? 
  • Where did you plant your tree, and what is your plan for taking care of it? 
  • If you were to redo this challenge, what suggestions would you make to improve it?  
  • Have you submitted your Seed to Sapling Record File ?  

Materials

  • Regular potting soil 
  • Recycled 2 L milk cartons 
  • Recycled glass bottles (for hydroponics growing) 
  • Ziploc sandwich bags 

Keep it Simple

  • You can choose to do only part of the project, for example just collecting seeds, or just collecting and growing them inside. Find someone who is willing to take your tree and grow it the rest of the way.  

Take it Further

  • There are many other native trees that you can try to grow. Experiment with collecting different native seeds within your local area. Do your own research on what these trees need and record what you do and your results.  
  • Identify an area near you that is struggling with invasive species. Ask for permission to remove the invasive species or volunteer with an organization that does this. Ask if you can plant your native trees on the newly cleared land.  
  • Scale up! Transform your yard, community center, or Scouts camp with dozens of saplings – anywhere you have permission to plant your trees. Future generations will thank you! 
  • Become a tree advocate! Check out the "Other Ways to Get Involved" page linked on seedstosaplings.ca.