Joshua Tree, CA – The Mojave Desert Seed Bank has come a long way since the first fishhook cactus seeds were collected from one of MDLT’s protected properties 18 months ago. Now with over 320 collections, the seed bank has launched a membership program. Founding members, including outdoor champions Patagonia and renowned naturalist Robin Kobaly, were honored on Sunday.
The Mojave Desert Seed Bank is a natural evolution of the land conservation work done at the Mojave Desert Land Trust over the past decade.
Since its creation in March 2016, the seed bank has grown to include over 110 species from across the Mojave, including eight species of special concern. Seeds are collected, cleaned, labelled and preserved in fridges for decades to come. The seed bank also works in tandem with the MDLT nursery to grow plants that can be transplanted back into the wild.
Dedicated volunteers have spent hundreds of hours helping to build up the seed bank. Generous donations also helped pay for the equipment needed to prepare and store the seeds. Seeing the ardent support of these volunteers, MDLT felt the time was ripe to introduce a new membership program for the seed bank.
“This Mojave Desert Seed Bank wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our passionate volunteers and we are happy to be able to offer a membership program to give something back and help build up this conservation tool.” – Madena Asbell, Nursery and Seed Bank Manager, MDLT
Ten founding members were honored in a special launch of the membership program on Sunday at Mojave Desert Land Trust HQ in Joshua Tree. They include volunteers who have spent many hours collecting and cleaning seeds, ongoing supporters, and seed and monetary donors.
“The preservation of seed is the preservation of a place with its rich history, life and culture.”- Romeo Lodia, Patagonia’s Environmental Point Person.
“What seeds should we be planting in our desert landscapes and yards? Naturally, those that evolved here. The mission of Mojave Desert Land Trust’s seed bank and nursery is to help achieve that goal: to collect seeds from our native desert plants, germinate them to unleash their stored blueprints for survival in this desert, grow them in containers that encourage their inborn behavior of deep roots, and sell the seedlings to eager gardeners who want to be part of the solution for earth-friendly living. Does this idea excite you? If it does, become a supporter of MDLT’s native seed bank.” – Botanist and wildlife biologist Robin Kobaly.
There are two tiers of membership. Silver cholla members must have donated either $1,000 or 1,000 native seeds, or completed 100 nursery/seed bank volunteer hours. Benefits include a welcome pack, quarterly updates from the Nursery and Seed Bank manager, an annual tour of the Nursery and Seed Bank, and a discount at MDLT plant sales. The higher juniper membership requires donations above $1,000 and includes silver cholla benefits as well as a plaque on the seed bank.
“Seed banks are vital for preserving the integrity and biodiversity of native ecosystems. We are dedicated to creating a sustainable seed bank that conserves native species throughout the Mojave Desert.” – Madena Asbell, Nursery and Seed Bank Manager, MDLT
The Mojave Desert Land Trust (MDLT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with the mission to protect and care for lands with natural, scenic and cultural value within the Mojave Desert. For more information, visit www.mdlt.org