Pine cones from all over CA arrive in these burlap bags.
When there is a fire in a National Forest, pine cones from the trees nearest to the burned area are collected and sent to the nursery.
This allows the tree babies that will restore the burned area to not only be the same species of tree, but also be genetically prepared for the area's weather and elevation.
The seeds from these cones will restore burned up areas of their own tree neighborhood.
Many different types of cones are sent to the nursery. Every batch is carefully labeled.
You could try to get all the seeds out by hand...
Or you could use this big seed extractor machine to get the seeds out of the cones.
Next the seeds go into a machine that separates the viable seeds from the duds.
To determine if the settings are correct on the separating machine, they take x-rays of the seeds. The settings are correct here-- the seeds on the left are winners!
Good seeds go into barrels.
The seeds that aren't used right away are stored in a giant freezer building. Inside this building is enough seeds to plant 1 billion trees!
The seeds that will be planted for restoration efforts are planted in these tubes.
Only several days old.
Several months old.
At about 1 year old, the baby trees can be easily planted because they have been grown in a dirt "plug."
A forest of little trees.
Thank you to the Forest Service for taking such good care of our tree babies.
Tree babies from all over CA.
All going back to where they came from.
To look out on a million tree babies and think of the promise they hold is nothing short of amazing.