The University of Washington’s Society for Ecology Restoration student guild (SER-UW) native plant nursery was established at the Center for Urban Horticulture in the spring of 2013. The SER-UW nursery maintains an inventory of 1000-1500 containerized plants native to the Puget Sound and used in planting efforts at two CSF funded restoration sites: Whitman Walk and Kincaid Ravine. The nursery also delivers educational benefits to students studying horticulture and ecological restoration at UW by providing experiential learning through volunteer activities. On average, 30 students per quarter participate in nursery work parties that focus on basic horticultural practices. The work that SER-UW conducts is an applied complement to the curricula of the Master of Environmental Horticulture program (MEH) and the ESRM Restoration Ecology concentration. Although often overlooked, horticulture is an important facet of ecological restoration; understanding proper growing techniques and identifying or growing high quality nursery stock is imperative to successfully achieving restoration project goals.
Phase I: In addition to the programing that SER-UW already provides, infrasture upgrades will be made in order to increase plant production capacity and quality of care for our plants. This includes building a hoophouse exclusively for the SER-UW Nursery with storage, a potting bench, growing tables, an irrigation system, and a pot-washing station. Co-managers will be funded to work 15 hours a week to construct everything but the hoophouse. Our first crop of natives will be planted, and will be ready to sell in the fall of 2016. Co-managers will initiate discussions to find permanent funding sources for a full-time manager position.
Phase II: A new set of co-managers will focus on increasing the clientele of the nursery in order to grow more plants for campus and UWBG Arboretum planting projects, in addition to providing a suite of commonly used plants for capstone and MEH projects. They will also focus on obtaining a long term funding source for a permanent full-time position.
Phase III: The nursery will transition into a campus recharge unit or self-sustaining center. A single full-time manager will be in charge of plant production, education, and sales.