by Catie Eichberg, Staff Writer (ceichberg@wwc)
Head on up to Fortune Field and you’ll see an acre’s worth of grasses and forbs–the name for all plants we grow on campus that are not grasses–in rows, all planted over the summer by the Native Plants Crew and other students.
The seeds from which the Purple Top, Little Blue, and Indian grasses grew come from four different states in the Southeast – Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. Why are all of these different species of grasses and forbs being grown on campus?
At the beginning of the year, Warren Wilson College signed a $50,000 contract with the North Carolina Forest Service to grow over 40,000 plugs of native plant species over a three-year time period.
Over the summer a majority of the initial work was accomplished and the success so far has been great, with the bulk of the plants flourishing.
This work will continue as time goes on, and eventually, the seeds will be evaluated based on their seed production capabilities and the determination of which Southeast native genotypes do best in this area will be made.
Looking ahead, the crew will continue moving forward with the project, which is overseen by senior and biology major Suzie Winquist. The native grasses work will also allow for more community action when, in September, Hinds Feet Farm of Huntersville, North Carolina will be coming to use the plants in Fortune Field as a means of therapy for individuals with brain injuries.