Certified Seed Collector Volunteer Training

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | 6:30 pm

6:30 pm - 08:30 PM

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The 3,400+ - acre Albany Pine Bush Preserve (APBP), located in New York’s Capital District, protects one of the best remaining inland pitch pine-scrub oak barrens in the world. This extraordinary fire-dependent ecosystem provides habitat for many plants and animals, including more than 20 percent of New York State’s wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need, such as the endangered Karner blue butterfly.

Of the 3,400+ acres of protected land, only two thirds of the acreage currently support pine barrens habitat.  The other third requires restoration with the intention of eradicating non-native vegetation and re-vegetating with native species.  To maintain the unique ecotypes of plant species located in the Albany Pine Bush, we have committed to utilizing only sources of seed that originate in the Glacial Lake Albany footprint for all of our restoration work.  This means that the many pounds of native seed required for restoration planting must be hand collected by preserve staff and volunteers.   The APB Certified Seed Collector helps in this regard by scouting for native seed patches throughout the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, collecting ripe native seed, and leading volunteers on weekend seed collecting trips.

To become a Certified Seed Collector, volunteers must complete a minimum of 7 hours of classroom and field training.  Topics discussed during training sessions will be basic botany, plant identification, seed species ID, seed collecting notes, invasive species ID, APB rules and regulations, logistics of seed collection, and working with volunteers.

DUTIES OF THE APB Certified Seed Collector

  1. Visit the Albany Pine Bush Preserve frequently and explore primarily off trail areas to identify and report good seed collecting areas.
  2. Maintain an observant watch on seed collection areas; record species flowering time and seed development notes.
  3. When the seed is ripe, collect as much seed as possible according to APB collection Keep careful track of amounts of seed collected. 
  4. Keep careful track of amounts of seed collected and
  5. Have a great time while helping to further our goal of restoring the pine bush.


  • Attendance at all training sessions is mandatory, training Sessions will be held at the following times:  Tuesday, May 28, 2024 6:30pm-8:30pm; Thursday, May 30, 2024 6:30pm-8:30pm; and Saturday, June 1, 2024 9:30am-12pm.  The first two sessions will be indoors, the third session will be outdoors rain or shine, so please dress appropriately. We will meet for all training sessions at the Pine Bush Discovery Center located at 195 New Karner Road, Albany, NY 12205.
  • Required Materials:  Attendees must purchase and bring a copy of Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb, ISBN # 0316604429 to all training sessions1.  New, these books should cost around $20, used they can be found online for as little as $10 Additionally, attendees should bring a pen/pencil and something to take notes on.  A hand loupe or magnifying glass may be helpful for plant ID, but is not required.


  1. Commitment to the mission of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.
  2. Good interpersonal and leadership skills.
  3. Attendance at all training sessions. 
  4. After training, demonstrated competence at native seed species ID
  5. Sufficient physical fitness to walk preserve grounds.
  6. Willingness to make a minimum one year commitment.

This registration includes all 3 training dates: May 28, May 30 & June 1.

Contact Beth MacCallum at 518-456-0655 or volunteer@albanypinebush.org with any questions. 

Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center
From I-87 take exit 2W (Rt 5 West, Central Avenue). Follow Rt 5 for about 2 miles then turn left onto Rt 155 (New Karner Rd). Continue on Rt 155 for about 1.2 miles. The Discovery Center is located on the left at 195 New Karner Road. (518)456-0655
195 New Karner Road Suite 1
Albany, New York