Volunteer Opportunities

Growing Native is made possible by the efforts of volunteers and partners throughout the watershed. Every fall, thousands of Growing Native volunteers collect native hardwood tree seeds, such as acorns and walnuts. These seeds are donated to state nurseries, which grow them into seedlings and plant them along the banks of rivers and streams in our communities.

There are many ways to participate in Growing Native:

Individuals:
There are many ways in which an individual can become involved in Growing Native:
  1. Gather seeds in your own backyard or at an approved community location. This can be done on your own, as a family, or with your neighbors and friends. Local parks often make good collection sites, but be sure to first confirm that such activity is allowed.
  2. Join in a public collection event. Throughout October, various groups will be hosting seed collections that the public is invited to attend. This is a fun way to meet fellow community members. Find a public event near you under our list of collection sites.
  3. Organize a public collection event. Take the lead in coordinating a seed collection for your Scout troop, synagogue, community association, business, or other group. Learn more about becoming a site organizer.

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Community Groups:
Strengthen community ties by involving your organization in Growing Native.  As a Growing Native site organizer, you have the opportunity to raise local community awareness about your youth group, church group, citizen or community association, or business while helping to protect local rivers and streams.

In addition to the seed collection advice above, there are other avenues get your community or church group involved with Growing Native:

  • Lead a seed collection. To get started, register your group. Registrants will receive a site leader kit with complete materials and instructions. Much of this information is also available for download.
  • Sponsor a seed drop-off site. Your group can organize and monitor an official drop-off site for your community, making it even easier for citizens to become involved in Growing Native. Materials and training will be provided. Interested? Email vu@potomac.org or call (301) 608-1188 x215.
  • Spread the word. Growing Native representatives can attend community events, talk to participants about how they can become involved in collecting seeds and planting trees. To invite a Growing Native representative to speak to your group, email vu@potomac.org or call (301) 608-1188 x215. For more information about becoming a Growing Native representative, click here.

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Educators:

In addition to the seed collection advice above, educators and schools have a special opportunity to help their students learn about the value of trees through Growing Native:

  • Teach Growing Native in the classroom. The Growing Native Education Guide Growing Native Education Guide is a complete curriculum that provides educators with practical, user-friendly lessons and stewardship activities that can be easily integrated into their existing curricula or programs.

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