Monday, February 7, 2011

Some poop on poop (aka seed balls)

Years ago, I wrote a magazine feature on a field trip program at South Llano River State Park. Participants were middle school students from nearby Junction. The day-long outings incorporated hand-on learning with environmental awareness and appreciation. In May 1997, I joined a field trip as part of my assignment. During one workshop, I watched Bill Neiman–who owns Native American Seed–show the kids how to make "seed balls." His recipe: six parts clay, one part humus, two parts seeds (native grasses and wildflowers), and one part water, all mixed into a mushy dough and rolled into one-inch balls. The balls were left to dry and harden in buckets. After that, the kids were told to toss them around on the ground, then Mother Nature would do the rest. 

(FYI: The New York Times recently featured Native American Seed, "Emphasis on Native Plants Gains Favor Across State." And in 2007, I wrote "Go Native," an article on Bill and his wife, Jan, for Landscapes magazine.)

Yesterday, James and I went out to our land. While he was examining rocks and fossils, I looked at plants and insects. During my looking around, I happened onto some dried, golden-colored pellets and just HAD to open! Encased perfectly inside was a seed! I opened a few more and found more seeds, each wrapped within the grassy fecal matter. I'm guessing the gold pellets came from a rabbit or some other small mammal, the dark-colored ones from deer. (The seeds, I later realized, are juniper seeds. YUCK.)

This all to ponder and report because as I opened those tiny pellets yesterday, I remembered Bill and him showing kids how to make seed balls. Looks like Mother Nature knows how to make her own!!

Can you see the seed?

A close up

UPDATE FEBRUARY 18, 2011–Ran across a reference (BioKids) on animal scat, and I apparently was right! According to BioKids, the gold-colored pellets came forth from a rabbit, and the dark pellets from a white-tailed deer.  

No comments:

Post a Comment