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Letter to someone who collected plants from the wild, is this to harsh?

So, someone on OCPS forums admitted to taking plants from my cities local protected bog.

Needless to say, I wanted to unleash the kracken and destroy this kid. But he is young, and I don't want to scare him away...

Here is part of my response:

I am from Ottawa, and am quite disappointed that anyone would collect from a protected area like Mer Bleu. First off, you collected a plant that is already in cultivation, and which can easily be purchased for cheap. Secondly, you collected from a protected area, without permits. And thirdly, you collected from a population that is under no risk of destruction, and where the genes are secure...

Now, I know you are new to this whole "CP" thing, so here are some "tips" for collecting plants:

First off, never collect plants. You collected a very small portion of the genetic material from the population, and you removed the genetic material you did take, forever.

If you are going to collect, take seeds.

Never, ever, ever, take seeds from a protected area, or an area you don't have permission to take from. Unless you have permits or permission to do so.

If there are not seeds available at the time of year you visit the area, leave the plants be, and go on your way.

Here is the ICPS seed collection policy:

Now, here is my biggest issue with collecting plants from the wild:

You did not just take a couple plants, you took away from society at large. Mer Bleu is a public area. Everyone is allowed to visit. The populations of rotundifolia visible from the pathway are quite small, and by taking from these, you took away the opportunity for the public to see those wonderful plants in the wild. By taking from the bog, you not only took away from the ecosystem, you took away from the experience and education of everyone who visits.

Finally, I have to ask, how many plants did you take?

I don't ever want to see you selling these plants. You took from nature, don't even think about selling what you took.

Take this as a kind warning, don't take plants from the wild.

It felt a bit harsh when I was writing it. Is it?

Anyways, thanks in advance if you critique this!

Well done....and well worded.
Thanks kindly...

I emailed him to see how many plants he collected, before sending this. Just to see.
Not too harsh at all, I don't think. A little rebuke is called for, but you didn't go over the top, and it gives him the chance of fixing his mistake instead of just saying he's stupid, or something of the like. Well done :)
nice work
Here's my two cents on the letter.

Now, I know you are new to this whole "CP" thing, so here are some "tips" for collecting plants:
I'd consider removing the quotes. Comes across as condescending with the way it reads, and opens the letter on a negative note.

If you piss him off right off the bat, the rest of the letter loses power.

I don't ever want to see you selling these plants. You took from nature, don't even think about selling what you took.

Take this as a kind warning, don't take plants from the wild.

Instead of ordering him not to sell the plants, maybe just make sure he understands that if he does sell plants he takes illegally, he could be fined.

Younger folk don't take kindly to being ordered around, but warnings about being fined/cited/etc. generally grabs their attention.

Lastly, what he did was in fact poaching. He's a poacher. I'd be sure to indicate that somewhere in the letter to bring it all crashing in...subtly.

As you said, you don't want to scare him away, but he needs to understand the gravity of his actions.

All in all, very well-written, and good on you for taking the time to address it.
Good calls veronis! I see what you mean. I'll edit that before I send it.
I don't have enough information to know the situation, so it is difficult to advise on this.
If the kid admitted to taking plants, did he do it in an attitude of regret & guilt?
For the interest of the natural stand, you don't want to just beat the kid more, but to encourage him not to do it again.
Getting it off your chest is one thing, but helping the kid to understand the situation is quite another.

You could advise him to carefully replant them, as at least they have a small chance of surviving.
Or if he is feeling remorse, congratulating him on learning & helping him to do the right thing in the future would actually do more good,
than just telling him again how he screwed up.

Again, hard to even advise you on this, without knowing more of what the situation actually is.

Keep in mind, some people are only concerned about whether something is illegal or not, and don't care about taking from the wild & selling the stuff they collect, so long as it isn't outright "illegal".
Well, good luck.
Better to make this kid a friend, as you can help him to do more good that way, than by seeing him as an enemy of sorts.
Good luck.
Thanks Growingold!

Here is the direct quote from the forum:
"I collected some D. Rotundifolia from Mer Bleue bog near Ottawa. If you're particularly interested in this species, I can give you some if you can pick up from downtown Toronto."

It was in response to a grower who said he wished he was experienced enough to participate in a giveaway.

I have messaged back and fourth with the member in question, and have even sent him quite a few plants and seeds, free, and shipped on my dime...

I've sent him a message asking how many plants he collected. Hopefully it was not to many.

I don't think he knows that what he did was wrong. Hopefully this letter will help to edjumacate him further...

Mainly I'm trying to pound in the fact that even though what he did was (technically) illegal, what matters more is what he took away from the public (in taking away the opportunity for them to see the plants) and from the ecosystem (in removing certain genetic strains from the population).

I considered reporting him to the authorities, but nothing would ever get done...

It also bugs me that since he posted, the kid he posted to may now think that collecting from the wild is ok. The whole culture of taking what you want from nature is terrible, and self perpetuating...

Thanks for all the advice everyone!
  • #10
TAKING FROM PARKS IS USUALLY ILLEGAL ,from national forests is usually legal but should be frowned on
I would never take from the wild unless the area is going to be destroyed, bog drained, road built , then only with permission of the owner
it have taken wild < non cp< plants from areas going to be bulldozed to build a housing development( with owners permission) and transplanted them on to property nearby that they can safely grow on

people have to be taught to respect wild plants , there was no need for him to take plants that can be easily gotten for free from cultivation,best to teach people , you letter sounds to preachy for my taste and he might take more for spite
  • #11
i just posted a post about not picking plants from the wild on a different forum and I think it should be posted on every site to let people know its a no no
  • #12
Alright, I got a reply from the kid. Here it is:

Hi there...

I had picked up 4-5 plants from Mer Bleue and later discovered as many seedlings buried in the sphagnum. I did not find any seeds though - in fact, I saw very few with flower stalks on them. Perhaps it's already past the flowering season… Are you looking for seeds?

It was fun being the first time I saw CPs in the wild… The last time I visited this bog, I had no idea that there were sundews out there otherwise I would have looked more closely.


Any recommendations on how to proceed?
  • #13
Sounds like your letter went completly over his head. Now i think he needs a realty check, along with pointing things out to the forum mods.
  • #14
Say something like, "No, I'm not looking for seeds. I'm just severely concerned about the declining population of these plants. Although you do say that there more seedlings, it still has an significant impact when you take one or two plants then add in how many other people would have the done same thing. The lack of seeds could even be an indicator that many flowering (mature) plants have already been removed or that others have gone an stole the seeds for themselves. Please understand this. Thanks."
  • #15
No, Chib, I sent him a letter first to find out how many plants he took...

Yeah, I think I'm just gonna send the letter with a few modifications.
  • #16
i agree with leaf kirby like chibae siad point it out to the mods and any one in athority here
  • #17
No, Chib, I sent him a letter first to find out how many plants he took...

Yeah, I think I'm just gonna send the letter with a few modifications.

Don't heart crush him. He really sounds like he wants to learn about these plants but didn't do enough research.
  • #18
tell him to put them back and stop taking them if he wants to have a good record
  • #19
tell him what could happen to him if he was caught
  • #20
if you "spank" him too hard, he will just disappear imho

the kid is clueless, mentor him peat.... you would be a great influence,

(the teacher in me is talking LOL)