Stories in Minnesota

Climate-Smart Seedling Production Network Aims to Grow More Trees for Minnesota Reforestation Efforts

The hands of a person holding acorns.
Seed Collecting Seed collectors gather acorns to grow oak seedlings. © Ningozis White

Before we can plant more trees that can hold carbon and mitigate climate change, we need more high-quality seeds and seedlings. Minnesota farmers can help.

Eligible farmers in Minnesota have an opportunity to participate in a new project to collect tree seeds and/or grow climate-smart tree seedlings.

Get involved!

Are you interested in learning more about how you can help us produce 5 million climate-smart tree seedlings? Fill out this interest form and we'll get in touch!

What makes a seed “climate-smart?”

Climate change is raising average temperatures. How can we help trees in colder climates adapt to these higher temperatures? The trees in northern Minnesota, for example, are adapted to the cool climate the Northwoods have enjoyed for centuries. To increase resilience in these forests in a warming climate, reforestation efforts must prioritize trees that can withstand these warmer temperatures. By planting seedlings whose genes are adapted to thrive in a slightly warmer climate, like that of southern Minnesota, newly planted trees will have a better chance of surviving for decades in a warming Northwoods. 

Conifer tree seedlings sitting in canvas bags on the forest floor.
Minnesota's iconic conifer Conifer seedlings are ready to plant in a tree planter's bag. © John Gregor
A man uses a tool to pierce a hole in the forest floor while planting tree seedlings.
Planting Trees Tree planters dig holes for seedlings near Thompson Lake in Minnesota. © John Gregor/ColdSnap Photography

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and multiple partners are launching a four-year project to increase the quality and quantity of available tree seeds and seedlings while supporting farmers and delivering environmental benefits such as enhanced carbon sequestration, soil health, water quality, and continued diversity of life on Earth.

You can help us reach our goal of growing 5 million climate-smart seedlings in the next four years. Farmers can grow seedlings on their land and be compensated! Contact to learn more. 


This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, under agreement number NR243A750004G016.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition, any reference to specific brands or types of products or services does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for those products or services.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.