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Executive Summary

Since 2013, the Society for Ecological Restoration-UW Native Plant Nursery has provided a local and sustainable source of plant material for student ecological restoration projects in Union Bay Natural Area and Yesler Swamp, as well as many restoration sites on the University of Washington campus and throughout the Seattle community. Located at the Center for Urban Horticulture, it has been a much-needed hub for student involvement in the applications of horticulture and restoration beyond coursework. With the support of the CSF, SER has been able improve our production practices and educational curriculum over the past few years.

The Nursery is committed to the goal of providing 100% of plants to students for coursework, as well as graduate student and other on-campus restoration projects. SER-UW provide plants for two classes: Restoration of North American Ecosystems (ESRM 473) and Senior Restoration Capstone (ESRM 462-464), and over the past two years we have strengthened our relationship with both. In 2016, SER provided only 32% of species for ESRM 473, but were able to provide 100% in 2017 and 2018, and while in 2017, SER were able to provide only 39% of plants to Capstone, in 2018 we provided 78%. 

In order to provide a greater percentage of plant material for student projects, the Nursery implemented production systems for two groups of species that are in high demand but require specific infrastructure for their growth: a fern propagation unit, and rhizome beds. Production systems for both of these groups will allow us to provide more genetically appropriate plants for restoration, increase biodiversity of student projects, and offset the carbon emissions associated with outsourcing plants. As there is high demand for these species, both from students and at past public plant sales, these production systems has increased SER-UW's revenue and helped them move toward greater financial sustainability.

Primary Contact:
Sarah Shank