In Fall (September-November)
Seed Harvesting. The very first harvests of native seeds were in small patches of remaining native grasses. Now, Steven and his crew use a tractor and brush to skim delicate seeds off of Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans), move in pairs along rows of native bush clover (genus Lespedeza—there are native and non-native species of this in the park), and walk nearby to planted rows of wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium). They also harvest little blue stem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and gamma grass (Tripsacum dactyloides).
Frequently, volunteers--such as those pictured above from Gatlinburg’s Pi Beta Phi middle school--help to harvest seeds by hand. Students can help vegetation managers in this and other efforts in Parks As Classrooms Service Learning Projects.
Return to NPS Profile: Restoring Native Grassland Communities in Cades Cove or see what vegetation managers do in Winter, Spring, and Summer.
Did You Know?
Between 8-10 million people visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year, making it the most visited national park in the country.