HELENA — The next time you’re out at Tenmile Creek Park outside of Helena, Prickly Pear Land Trust is encouraging you to warm up your throwing arm and be part of a reseeding effort.
Last week, PPLT brought out a large plastic container filled with hundreds of golf-ball-sized “seed balls.” They’re inviting people to throw the balls into a five-acre field that they’re trying to revegetate.
“You can come out here and toss a seed ball in the field, and hopefully next year you can maybe see a flower grow out of it,” said Blake Sexton, PPLT’s community conservation coordinator.
Much of Tenmile Creek Park is currently dominated by non-native grasses. The new seeds will help create a pollinator habitat – flowers, grasses and shrubs aimed at attracting birds, bees and other insects that are key to the local ecosystem.
The seed balls have been a big hit with visitors – especially young ones. PPLT project and trails manager Nate Kopp said they’ve seen a lot of short throws from two- to four-year-olds.
PPLT has put in some guidelines: try to spread the seed balls around the field, not just in one place; keep the container closed to keep the seeds dry; and try to leave some for the next people to come by.
“Looking to make sure everybody can enjoy the seed ball activity, we were hoping that everybody could maybe only throw one to three each time they visit it,” said Sexton.
The seed balls are also a showcase of cooperation. They include clay donated by the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts and compost that came from Gardenwerks. Kids from Helena Public Schools groups and Mean Moose Boards put them together by hand over the summer.
Of course, throwing seeds isn’t the main way PPLT is restoring the field. They’ve already used a drill to place seeds in a more organized way, but they hope this will give people a sense of ownership in the project – and something new to enjoy.
“It’s not the most efficient way to do it, but the most fun way to reseed a field,” said Sexton.
PPLT is also encouraging people who come out and throw the seed balls to take pictures and video and tag them on social media.