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Native Plant Center

Planning and conservation    Natural areas, parks and trails    Restoring the landscape    Native Plant Center

Metro's Native Plant Center provides an essential supply of rare native seeds and plant stock to support Metro's restoration projects. Volunteer opportunities introduce you to local native plants and some of the less traveled places where they thrive.

Open volunteer opportunities

1. Seed scout
    Apply now

2. Center assistant
    Apply now

3. Saturday volunteer venture crew
    (no application required)
    Registration required

Metro’s Native Plant Center, located near Wanker’s Corner in Tualatin, provides an essential supply of rare native seeds and plant stock to support Metro’s restoration projects.

In its first year more than 4,650 native trees and shrubs grown at the plant center went into the ground at ten different Metro natural areas. A long-term goal of the project is to be able to share stock and seeds with other organizations working on restoration throughout the region.

Why a native plant center?

At targeted natural areas around the region, Metro’s restoration work is aimed at reestablishing rare but vital habitat types that once thrived throughout the Willamette Valley. Often the native plant materials needed to do the job are hard to come by. Commercial stock can be unavailable, insufficient or too expensive and, at times, the genetics and collection practices are in question.

Photograph of the Willamette River Narrows

Volunteer opportunities for every season

Each season brings new volunteer opportunities at the Native Plant Center. From constructing propagation beds to collecting seeds and maintaining plant stock, from organized Saturday work parties to employee sponsored volunteer workdays and solo projects; volunteers are integrated into all aspects of the center's operations. Want to learn about the Portland metropolitan area's diversity of native plants while exploring less traveled places on Metro's properties? Consider becoming an assistant or volunteer at the Native Plant Center, a seed scout or a seed collector. By getting involved, you'll immerse yourself in the region's most special habitats: Indian plum blossoms in Douglas fir forests, Western saxifrage blooms dotting the rocky meadows of an oak prairie.

Native Plant Center volunteer ventures

Curious about harvesting bulbs? Want to learn more about planting native seeds? Join fellow nature enthusiasts for volunteer venture – a year-round family-friendly program held twice a month. Volunteer venture participants help care for native seeds, bulbs and plants that support regional restoration projects. No experience necessary. View dates and learn more


Native Plant Center assistants

Volunteers assist in all aspects of propagating native herbaceous species – harvesting and cleaning seeds, planting native seeds, transplanting and potting seedlings, and setting out young plants into beds. Help with nursery operations: watering, weeding, seed bed preparation, general maintenance, data collection and filing. Learn about native plant conservation and local ecosystems while developing skills to work in Metro’s natural areas. This is a year-round position; duties and tasks change with the seasons. New recruits are asked to first attend an orientation at a Saturday volunteer venture to get firsthand experience and a tour of the center.

Seed scouts

From March through September, seed scouts help make sure native plant species thrive in the Pacific Northwest. Fieldwork starts with a six-hour training, followed by scouting sites to gain familiarity with the area. Volunteers collect data for the plant center's Bloomtime Project and participate in targeted seed collection at one of Metro's scenic natural areas. Trained seed scouts visit their assigned sites about twice a month, gaining a rich understanding of the region's wet prairie, upland prairie, oak woodland and coniferous forest habitats. Download a full position description

Seed collectors

What better way to visit Metro’s natural areas on a bright, sunny June day than collecting seeds from uncommon and threatened species? This position begins with a day of training in June to learn seed and data collection protocol, plus a site visit to gain hands-on experience and form field teams. Collectors work with seed scouts to gather seeds from targeted species on a site-by-site basis and record collection data while working outdoors. This position requires committing to collecting seed three times throughout the summer. Native plant identification is preferred, but not required. Download a full position description

For those with less time

Volunteers interested in less of a time commitment are encouraged to participate in group seed collection events led by experienced seed collectors or in seed harvest days at the Native Plant Center, scheduled throughout the season. Volunteers will help to monitor and collect seeds from Metro natural areas with rare or unique habitats. Receive training in plant identification, seed collection and processing techniques and work outdoors in a beautiful Metro natural area.

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Featured video

Native Plant Center volunteer

Native Plant Center brings back rare habitats

Watch a video about efforts to restore rare habitats at Graham Oaks and other natural areas throughout the region using the native plants and seeds sorted and grown by volunteers at Metro’s Native Plant Center. Go

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503-797-1804 TDD
503-797-1797 fax