N.U.T.S. (Native Urban Tree Starters) is a Cuyahoga SWCD program that directly and actively involves students in the process of restoring the tree canopy in Cuyahoga County. Depending on the interest level and capacity of a school, class or other organization, it may participate in one or more of the following program activities. These activities may also be complimented by Project Learning Tree or incorporated into a variety of subject areas. To work out an individualized plan for your group contact Tim Becker (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Students collect acorns, maple “helicopters” and other native tree seeds in late September or October. They may be collected from school grounds, community parks, tree lawns, the students’ own yards, etc. Cuyahoga SWCD will provide a collection kit that includes bags, tree seed/nut identification guides, and collecting recommendations. Once collected, students sort the seed by type. This serves as an exploration of the types of trees in the area, and may be a source of seeds for the project. Cuyahoga SWCD can also provide acorns for your group.
Many seeds require cold stratification, a cold, moist storage period that mimics spending winter outside. Cuyahoga SWCD can train you on stratifying seeds or stratify them for you.
Once the collected seeds and nuts have been properly prepared for germination, they will be planted in nursery bags or similar containers. Trees may need to be transplanted to a larger container once germination is assured and roots become established. Participating schools may choose from the following options:
Cuyahoga SWCD will provide supplies, instruction and follow-up.
Trees may be planted on school grounds or other approved locations in the community, potentially including parks, private property and ecological restoration sites. Cuyahoga SWCD will provide assistance in finding suitable planting locations, planting instruction and oversight, tools, and guidance in caring for your newly planted trees. Seedlings can also be sent home with students for them to plant.