Thursday, August 30, 2018

Intertribal Nursery Council 2018 Annual Meeting

Written by: Jeff Grignon, Menominee Tribal Member
July 24-26, 2018

We touched down and stepped together into the wildfire haze and 100 degree heat of Idaho, for myself it was the type of warmth felt when visiting family you haven't seen in years. The Intertribal Nursery Council (INC) has had a ten year history with College of Menominee Nation (CMN) and the Menominee people. With their knowledge and inspiration through the years, the seeds of a greenhouse establishment on Menominee were planted. 

The conference was introduced by Jeremy Pinto, USDA Forest Service Greenhouse Manager, Moscow ID. The tireless outreach work Jeremy preforms to promote nursery/greenhouse establishment and operation on tribal lands across the country is reflected in the growing diversity of tribes represented at the conference. In 2012, the INC traveled to the CMN, to perform a workshop on greenhouse establishment here on Menominee.

The morning presentations were of restoration projects as varied as salmon habitat restoration to vegetation recovery in wildfire affected areas. Like Menominee, invasive plants are of great concern. For the dry western soils, cheat grass is a dominant invasive, crowding out native plants and increasing the intensity and spread of wildfire. In the afternoon, we visited Table Rock and the wildfire restoration project just outside the city limits.

Day two started with Tom Landis, Native Plant Nursery Consulting, Medford OR. Tom contributed to the 2012 Greenhouse workshop at CMN, he also co-authored the seven volume USDA Forest service Greenhouse establishment manual. I often remind Tom that he is the rock star of the nursery world. In his semi-retirement years, Tom promotes the establishment of Monarch butterfly habitat areas. Pollinator restoration continued to be highlighted with special recognition of the preservation of native bee species. In the afternoon, all participants were treated like family and invited to share a traditional dinner provided by host tribe, The Shoshone-Paiute Tribes of Owyhee, NV.

Day three presentations focused on the different online tools now available to nursery managers, the need for redefining seed zones across the country and grant opportunities.  In the final remarks, Jeremy expressed hope that Menominee would host this conference in the next couple of years.

On the flight home, thoughts turned to what makes this conference special. For Adam and myself, it is the commitment to bringing scientific knowledge and traditional knowledge together in the pursuit of restoring the damage we have caused to our natural environment. So, as we touched down into the warmth of family and familiar place, I received a text that CMN had been awarded a grant to establish a greenhouse on the campus.  Those seeds have now germinated.

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