The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources State Forest Nursery is looking for people to collect black spruce cones this winter in northern Minnesota. The seeds found inside the cones are needed to reforest nearly 3,000 acres of black spruce forest each year.
“Over the last few years, the number of collectors has decreased and we are in critical need of black spruce cones” said Sarah Ebert, State Forest Nursery manager. "We pay people $100 per bushel, which is about nine gallons of cones. Collecting black spruce now is a great way to earn some cash before the holidays.”
People interested in collecting black spruce cones should first contact one of the DNR’s seed drop-off stations to get information and instructions on collecting, handling and labeling the cones. The DNR Forestry seed drop-off stations that are buying black spruce cones are: Baudette, Bemidji, Cloquet, Deer River, Hibbing, Littlefork, Orr, Tower, Two Harbors, Warroad, and the Minnesota State Forest Nursery (near Akeley). Visit the DNR’s seed and cone collection webpage for drop-off location addresses and phone numbers.
Only high-quality, ripe, closed black spruce cones free of stems and debris are eligible for purchase. Colorado blue, white, or Norway spruce cones are not accepted. The window to collect and sell viable black spruce cones is open now through February 2024.
If people are not sure where to find cones, a DNR forester from a drop-off station can provide advice.
To learn more, visit the DNR’s seed and cone collection webpage.