- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
If you live in the Sacramento area (including Davis) and the East Bay, ecologist Billy Krimmel, a UC Davis doctoral alumnus and founder of Miridae Living Labs, invites you to participate.
- You sign up here
- You get 3 free packets of native wildflower seeds
- You drop them somewhere in your neighborhood or commute
- You DO NOT water or maintain them
- You monitor them once a month until May using the Miridae app and "tell us what you see"
It works like this: "Community participants to drop small piles of local, California native seeds in urban areas where they live or work, then monitor the results through repeated observations," Krimmel said. "Using data from participants on the conditions under which certain species of these locally adapted seeds spread, survive, or die, we can gain a better understanding of which native species to incorporate into the built environment and where to put them for the greatest ecological benefit and resilience."
"The basic goal is to learn which species can thrive in human-occupied spaces, especially transportation corridors," said Krimmel, who received his doctorate in ecology in 2015, studying native plant-insect interactions with major professor Jay Rosenheim, distinguished professor of entomology. "This year we are collaborating with UC Davis entomologists who will use these seed piles to learn about how certain urban conditions impact native bee species."
Miridae will be working with two UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology faculty, pollination ecologist Neal Williams, professor, and urban landscape entomologist Emily Meineke, assistant professor. Also on the team is assistant professor Haven Kiers of the Department of Human Ecology, who specializes in landscape architecture and environmental design.
"We encourage folks of all ages to participate, and we provide resources such as seedling identification guides to help you identify the species in your seed piles," Krimmel said. "This is a great project for school classes and scout troops in addition to individuals."
The seed packets will contain Arroyo Lupine, California golden poppy, Phacelia ciliata, Bolander's sunflower, Madia elegans and Nemophila.
A kickoff gathering is set from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17 at the Jackrabbit Brewing in West Sacramento where participants can pick up their seed packets, meet other participants, and perhaps buy a native plant and/or beverage. "There will be other pickup options as well," he said.
Krimmel founded the company, located at 1385 Terminal St., West Sacramento, with the intention of “creating habitat for native species within human-occupied areas and engaging people with the species interactions occurring in these habitations.” Its mission: "To strengthen connections between people, native plants, and wildlife through design, construction, outreach and research."
The name, Miridae, is Latin for a family of insects known as “plant bugs,” or mirids, which Krimmel researches. One of the most well-known mirid is the lygus bug, a serious pest of cotton, strawberries and alfalfa.
Miridae won the highly competitive 2020 Award of Excellence for Communication from the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for its Seed Bank Living Wall at DPR Construction, Sacramento. The ASLA awards, judged by a jury of professionals, honor the best in landscape architecture from around the globe.
Of his company, Krimmel says: “We create habitat for, and engage people with, native plants and the wildlife they support. We do this by tying together design, science, and high-quality construction to create landscapes that are beautiful, resilient, and ecologically powerful.” His goal, with each project, is to “come one step closer to creating a network of habitat gardens and migration corridors to support resilient populations of native species.”