(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources wants to pay you for pine cones. No, really.
They’re asking residents to collect a bushel of red pine cones to help them plant trees in state forests.
According to a press release, residents can pick fresh red pine cones Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, 2021, and drop them off by appointment at six DNR locations (three in the UP and three in the Lower Peninsula).
Seeds will be collected from the cones and stored until planting time.
“Fresh cones can be found in felled treetops from recent timber sales, on state forestlands and in recently gathered squirrel caches (yes, you can steal from a squirrel). If picking from a recent timber sale, logger permission is necessary, and pickers must wear hardhats for safety. The simplest way, however, is to pick from living red pine trees where branches extend close to the ground,” the release states.
Now before you go running outside, there are very specific instructions you must follow. You also must go register as a vendor here.
- First, make sure you're picking the right species. Red pines have craggy, reddish bark and 4- to 6-inch needles that grow in pairs. Scotch and Austrian pine cones will not be accepted.
- Cones should be picked off the tree; fallen cones on the ground are likely to be too old or wet. No twigs, needles or debris, please!
- Cone scales should be closed, with a little bit of green or purple tint - all brown and open, and they're too far gone.
The pines you collect should be stored in a cool, dry place in mesh bags. The DNR will also be handing out onion bags at the drop-off locations.
Check out the full details here.