The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) is putting in a request to residents of the commonwealth: Bring them your acorns.
The drive is a part of an effort to help reforest Virginia’s open land with trees that are adapted to the region’s climate and benefit the environment.
VDOF grows hardwood seedlings at the Augusta Forestry Center outside of Charlottesville and then sells them to Virginia’s landowners to plant.
“Acorn collection is a great activity for both children and adults, and it provides an opportunity to learn more about Virginia trees,” the VDOF said in a news release announcing the collection drive.
The department is looking for 12 species of trees this year:
- Black Oak
- Black Walnut
- Chinese Chestnut
- Chestnut Oak
- Live Oak
- Northern Red Oak
- Pin Oak
- Southern Red Oak
- Swamp Chestnut Oak
- Swamp White Oak
- White Oak
- Willow Oak
The department is looking for mature acorns — nothing green — which are typically light to dark brown. They said it is okay if the cap has already fallen off of an acorn.
Place the collected acorns into a burlap or paper bag and label each species clearly, being careful not to mix them together.
They said that it is best to collect from healthy trees that do not have any odd growths.
For easier identification, collect from trees that are spread out from each other. That way, there is a smaller chance that multiple species of seeds are on the ground in the same area.
Acorns and nuts must be submitted to the VDOF office by Oct. 16. Those who are unable to make the trip to the office can mail their collections to Augusta Forestry Center at 90 Forestry Center Ln., Crimora, Virginia, 24431.