Further resources for Ecotypes, Ecoregions & Ecological Restoration from Sefra Alexandra

RIWPS March 5 Annual Meeting featured Sefra Alexandra’s talk on Ecotypes, Ecoregions & Ecological Restoration. She underscored the pressing need to preserve the genetic diversity of native seed populations whether through seeds banks, which can supply seeds to recreate or amplify these populations in case of need, or other efforts to increase the availability of locally sourced seeds such as the  Ecotype Project of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFAR) which she leads.

Under this project, organic farmers establish founders plots large enough to maintain the genetic diversity of plants grown directly from seeds of wild plants native to their ecoregion (Northeast Coastal Zone).  Seeds from these founder plot plants are harvested and become the basis for future generations of plants.

As you know from the meeting, we are very excited about our new multi-year initiative, Reseeding Rhode Island. Our goal is to increase the availability of seeds and plants from our local wild plant populations. This initiative builds on the incredible work of the Rhody Native Initiative started by the Rhode Island Native Plant Survey in 2010. We have already started to work with a botanist to collect seeds. Our next phases will be to grow these seeds to plugs for founders plots and then to work with our founder plot partners to make the seeds and plants grown from these seeds available in the course of the next few years.

While we were not able to record the talk itself, we encourage you to explore the list of resources connected to the talk that Sefra Alexandra has sent us.

• In response to the question about  genetic diversity in founder plots, see current research: “Seeding the Future: Evolutionary Perspective on Seed-Based Restoration” Data on genetic diversity of founder plots compared with wild populations. Unpublished: Please do not distribute widely.

• Links related to topics in the talk

For questions/staying involved with the formation of this network /



Annual Meeting: Lecture – Ecotypes, Ecoregions & Ecological Restoration

Fortifying the Living Seed Bank

Native plants are vital to restoring our landscape, but where are we getting our plants from? Join us for a talk by Sefra Alexandra about the The Ecotype Project. Learn how this project has created a model for native plants material development utilizing the ecoregional framework to ensure we are- planting the right plants in the right place. The truly local seed supply chain begins with trained botanists that wild-collect ecotypic seed, which is grown out as a specialty crop by organic farmers in founder plots, then cleaned and made commercially available to our nursery partners & by our farmer-led seed collective: Eco59. The initiative’s intention is to repair local seedsheds to collectively re-wild the fragmented landscapes – by fortifying the living seed banks- the soils, of our shared ecological corridors.

SefraSefra Alexandra: The Seed Huntress– is an endurance race ethnobotanist on a hunt to preserve the biodiversity of our wild and cultivated lands through seed conservation. Sefra leads – The Ecotype Project – to amplify the amount of truly native seed available for ecological restoration, creating the first ecoregional seed supply chain in the Northeast, USA. In 2020 she began where she guides expeditions that are paddlin’ for the pollinators, planting native plants by boat along riparian corridors. Sefra holds her M.A.T. in agroecological education from Cornell University, is a fellow of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, a WINGS WorldQuest expedition flag carrier, member of the Explorers Club and runs a wilderness skills school-The Readiness Collective– with her twin brother.

The program is free and open to the public.  We will start at 1:30 with a few business items followed by the talk. Use the form below to let us know that you are coming.

Location: University of Rhode Island, Rm 170 Pharmacy Building, 7 Greenhouse Road, Kingston, Rhode Island

NOTE: The University of Rhode Island continues to require that all individuals be fully vaccinated and masked in all its buildings.

Link to the campus map.  Finding the Building – While the building is referred to as the Pharmacy Building, it is mapped under 3 names, corresponding to areas in the building: Avedisian, Tyler and Woodward. Parking – Use the Fine Arts lot off of Flagg Road (labeled 7 on the map) or Greenhouse Parking lot (labeled 9 on the map). You do not need a visitors pass or permit to park.