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Native Tree Seed Collection Program

Partnering with the community to collect seeds and regrow native trees!

Native Tree Seed Collection Program

TreeFolks and Central Texas Seed Savers have partnered with the City of Austin Watershed Protection Department to preserve native Central Texas tree species, enhance Austin’s urban tree canopy, provide habitat for wildlife, and improve water quality in our streams through the Seed to Tree Pipeline Program. 

We need to plant millions of trees in Austin and neighboring areas to address climate change, mitigate flood risks, and reverse biodiversity loss due to urban expansion. But where will we get the trees to do it? The native tree species that are adapted to thrive in our soils and climate are rare in the nursery trade today. 

Through the Seed to Tree Pipeline, volunteers gather seeds from local tree populations for TreeFolks to grow in its new nursery. TreeFolks then plants the trees in the community through restoration projects, Watershed Protection initiatives, and the Neighborwoods program, in partnership with the City of Austin and Austin Energy.

We Need Your Help!

The success of this program hinges on the unwavering support of our remarkable community of volunteers. We have faith in your commitment and enthusiasm and want to empower you to actively participate in the preservation of our local tree species.

Here are the tree species that are currently in high demand. Please check back regularly, as these needs will evolve with the progress of the project: Species List

To assist you in identifying these species, we recommend this resource by the Texas A&M Forest Service.

We also invite you to join us on a Tree ID Walk! During these walks, we’ll teach you how to identify tree species of the utmost conservation importance and provide a quick lesson on seed collection techniques. Check upcoming Tree ID walks in your area.

Once you’re familiar with the species and how to locate them, you can begin collecting seeds. Here’s a guide to best seed collection practices: Seed Collection Guide

Before submitting your seeds, please help us track the trees they came from! Choose your method of sharing below: 

Join us on iNaturalist. 

If you have an iNaturalist account, you can easily share the information about trees you collect from with us! That way, we can confirm your species ID, track harvest time and frequency, and more information that will help us keep excellent records and learn more about preserving these at-risk species over time. 

Here’s a link to the project on iNaturalist.

Here’s a guide we created to help you use iNaturalist to identify and track trees and seed collection: iNaturalist Quickstart Guide

Apps not your thing? You can still help! Just print, fill out, and submit your seeds with our hard copy collection form

Finally, mail or bring the seeds to us. 

TreeFolks 
10803 Platt Ln, 
Austin TX 78725

Once the seeds arrive at Treefolks, you can still help! The new nursery is having regular volunteer days on Thursdays. We also look forward to hosting special events for cleaning and processing seeds. Sign up for our newsletter and check our events calendar for the latest information on volunteer opportunities.

Steps for TreeFolks Seed Collection:

Step 1:

Read through the seed collection and identification information listed above, or click the buttons below to review the resources.

Step 2:

Print and fill out the TreeFolks Seed Collection Form with each seed donation OR handwrite the info from the form. It’s alright if you cannot print the form; we just need the form info written and provided to us in some way!

Step 3:

Drop off or mail seeds (please place seeds in a small sealed bag, pouch, or envelope) to TreeFolks with either a printed and completed form, or a piece of paper with your form responses written on it. If you use the iNaturalist App, provide the observation ID associated with the collection. Please note: if you plan to deliver the seeds to the TreeFolks office, please first contact our nursery, at nursery@treefolks.org.

TreeFolks Mailing Address: 10803 Platt Ln, Austin, TX 78725

In Partnership With: