by the Night Writer
The official plein air artist of The Night Writer blog, Sharell at Zumbro Falls Impressionist, came across a curious operation while seeking inspiration for a painting (the painting and full story here):
One November Saturday I came down the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary path to find 4 mini-vans parked in a circle and about 20 ardent people dressed in fluorescent orange vests, safety glasses, hard hats and rubber gloves. They were moving through this grassy area in the painting and stroking the grasses with their gloved hands. My curiosity was piqued and I found the only friendly person in the group to ask what they were doing. “Collecting seed,” was her curt answer. Then I asked about the gear and she retorted, “For safety purposes [idiot].” With that I backed away and left for a quiet corner of the sanctuary.
Okay, there isn’t a clear indication that this was our tax dollars at work as Sharell didn’t say whether there were state emblems on the sides of the mini-vans, but the protective gear and prickly attitude have the tell-tale ear-marks of a Minnesota Department of Something-or-other. Orange vests? In case of heavy traffic. Safety glasses? Sure, laugh if you want; it’s all funny until someone gets a seed in the eye, buddy. Hard hats? Nature sanctuaries are notorious for having all kinds of birds flying overhead.
And let’s not forget, they were harvesting wild seed. Seed Collection Officer down! Seed Collection Officer down!