• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

In Fall (September-November)

Students take part in native seed harvest service project.

Students from Pi Beta Phi middle school in Gatlinburg harvest native Indian Grass seeds in Cades Cove.

NPS photo.

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.

 
Grass harvester with brush, Cades Cove.
NPS vegetation manager Steven Shaper prepares the harvester to collect native Indian Grass in Cades Cove.
NPS photo.
 
After harvest, the harvester seed pan is full of native Indian Grass seed.
The harvester's seed pan is full of native Indian Grass seed, which NPS vegetation managers will bag, store, and plant.
NPS photo.
 

Return to NPS Profile: Restoring Native Grassland Communities in Cades Cove or see what vegetation managers do in Winter, Spring, and Summer.

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