Expanding the Seeds of Success Partnership in the Eastern United States

IMG_1494-compressedCommercial shortages of genetically-appropriate native plants and seeds are common in the Eastern United States and are a recurring obstacle to land restoration and reclamation, roadside vegetation management, water quality projects, pollinator habitat establishment, and landscaping projects. Addressing this problem requires a collaborative effort.

As Seeds of Success partners, we are committed to the mission of collecting wildland native seed for research, development, and germplasm conservation. In accordance with the National Seed Strategy, which calls for a more coordinated approach among stakeholders, we are creating a framework that supports partnerships with all levels of government, as well as with non-governmental organizations and individuals. Our goal is a broad-based Seeds of Success membership, inclusive of both federal and non-federal partners, that strives to:

1) Meet local and regional needs by increasing availability of genetically-appropriate seed available for conservation projects
2) Meet national goals by increasing the amount of native seed put into long-term conservation storage

We are always looking for new partners. Please email us for more information about getting involved.

Membership Levels

The Seeds of Success partnership allows for participation at four levels

SOS Member Levels

Hubs are regional centers that provide leadership and support to a network of area members. Their work helps to expand the collection and conservation of native plant genetic resources and they provide overall support to ensure wise use of the region’s seed resources.

Hub Members work in various capacities. Hub responsibilities include:

  • serve as a regional seed bank, including curating, cleaning, and storing seeds for Hub partners
  • provide seed, per distribution policy, in support of regional and local conservation projects
  • participate in regional Native Plant Materials Development Program; provide seeds for R&D
  • develop and maintain foundation seed
  • develop and maintaining regional species lists
  • provide staff time and organizational infrastructure to meet HUB objectives
  • participate in cooperative fundraising appeals
  • recruit and coordinate activities of Hub members
  • collect seed to meet national and regional and local needs
  • promote the use of genetically-appropriate plant material through workshops and other public education events

Participating Members coordinate with Hubs to make seed collections in support of regional and national goals.

Types of Participating Members

  • Institutional Collectors
  • Individual Collectors
  • Project Collectors

Depending on membership type, participating members receive some or all of the following benefits:

  • staff training on SOS seed collection methods
  • opportunities to collect on cooperating members’ lands
  • seed cleaning, processing, and accessioning services provided by HUB
  • workshops and training for members
  • use of regional seeds from Hub collections for restoration projects
  • access to regional Hub for resources or cooperative seed collection projects

In return, all participating members agree to:

  • collect seed to meet local, regional, and national goals
  • promote the use of genetically appropriate plant material throughout through workshops and other public education events

Cooperating Members agree to allow land access for seed collecting. Landowners may be eligible to receive fee-based services including restoration plans or botanical surveys.

Cooperating Members include:

  • Government Landowners
  • Private Landowners

 Supporting Members contribute financial or material resources that enable HUB activities.

Supporting Members include:

  • Foundations or Corporate Donors
  • Community Organizations
  • Individual Donors

About Seeds of Success

The Seeds of Success (SOS) program was established in 2001 by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Millennium Seed Bank Project to collect, conserve, and develop native plant materials to support conservation efforts and the rehabilitation and restoration of lands in the United States. Through its activities, SOS serves as a vital part of the National Native Plant Materials Development Program. SOS rapidly grew to include many new partners and collaborators. In June 2008, the seven original SOS partners (BLM, Chicago Botanic Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, New England Wild Flower Society, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Botanic Garden, and the Zoological Society of San Diego) signed a memorandum of understanding to create the first US national seed bank, retaining ‘Seeds of Success’ as the official designation for the national program. The overall programmatic goals focus on two efforts:

1. The collection of all US taxa that can effectively be seed banked (all orthodox seed species) and that are not threatened and endangered species that are already curated by the Center for Plant Conservation. This represents approximately 14,000 taxa. The goal is to make on average between 15 and 20 collections of each taxon over its naturally occurring range for a total of 280,000 accessions.
2. Selection of the 1,000 species most critical to ecological restoration and management efforts in the US. These species will receive the full research and development efforts needed to produce regional and local ecotypic releases. R&D will include development of seed transfer zones and propagation, production, and establishment protocols.