Glacier Plant Explorers: Scouting for Seeds

Grid of yellow cups each holding a tiny seedling
Seedlings grown at the native plant nursery


Students will participate in a hands-on seed collection field trip in the Fall. The activities will be led by a ranger or native plant nursery staff.

The life of a seed is a complex series of biological events. Knowledge of these processes and seedling life cycle is necessary for successful collection, harvesting, storage and use of seeds for Native Plant Restoration in Glacier National Park.

Grades: 6–12
Locations: West or East side of the park
Duration: 2–2.5 hours
Group Size: 20 students maximum
Skills: Observe (using all senses), sort/classify, compare & contrast, match, count, communicate findings
Vocabulary: (See the bolded words in the objectives below.)
Subjects: Biodiversity, Biology: Plants, Plant Restoration, Stewardship, Ecology, Wilderness
Montana Content and Performance Standards:

  • Science Standard 1: Design scientific investigations...
  • Science Standard 3: Demonstrate knowledge of living things...


Students will be able to:

  • Describe importance of seed collection to Native American cultures

  • Understand the importance of safety while collecting native plant seeds

  • Discuss plants as part of a greater plant community

  • Use a dichotomous key to identify the plants students will be collecting seed from

  • List three different dispersal strategies of seeds

  • Classify stages of seed maturation

  • Identify the components of a mature ripe seed vs unripe seed

  • Differentiate between an Angiosperm and a Gymnosperm

  • Define Leave No Trace seed collection practices

  • Properly collect different types of fruits and seed, being aware of not collecting no more than 1/3 of any seed in a population, spreading out to not all collect from the same plants.

  • Take a look at mushrooms and ferns to compare spore producing plants with seed producing plants.

  • Understand the importance of Genetic Integrity in seed collection and planting


Field Trip Logistics

Teachers wishing to have their students participate in the seed collection field trip must have their classes divided into groups of no more than 10 students. For example, a bus of 20 students would be divided into 2 groups of 10 students each.


Reserve Your Trip

Visit the Scheduling & Guidelines page to find out how to regiser as well as tips for a successful day in the park.


Preparing for Your Trip

Students that spend time preparing for their visit get more out of a field trip to the park. Activities post-visit also help to reinforce information learned during the trip.

The following are some suggested activities and supplementary materials:

Last updated: February 9, 2021

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936



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