An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Colville Tribe, WSU work together to reseed areas burned by wildfire

Courtesy Colville Tribe and WSU Extension program
Seeds are hidden in these little nuggets and distributed over charred areas.

The reseeding is done using little 'seed bombs'.

Young people on the Colville Indian reservation are working on a project to re-vegetate forested areas devastated by fire. Three major fires have burned on the Colville reservation in the last seven years.

The tribal students are partnering with the Washington State Extension Service in a unique way to spread seeds from native plants.

The technique is shared in a university video: “Pinch and turn, pinch and turn, until you have a bowl. You're going to take a pinch of potting soil, just a pinch, you don't need much. This is going to give a bit of nourishment to the seeds while they grow.”

The video shows students how to make seed bombs. Not really bombs in the traditional sense. They are actually a mix of clay, soil and native plants, says Linda McLean from WSU Colville Reservation Extension.

“The seeds lie in wait for the water to sprout them, and then they'll grow, and then they'll get re-established and develop a diverse plant life area in the burn area. So, we want more plants to control erosion and help build the soil profile back up," she said.

McLean says the native plants will also attract pollinating insects into the burned areas.

More than 500 students have been involved in the project, making the seed bombs, and more recently going out into areas devastated by fires to distribute them.

Field trips are planned for next spring for the students to see first-hand the results of their efforts.