SW Oregon Ecological Nonprofit Launches Matchmaking Service

MEDFORD, OR — In a groundbreaking move that marries conservation with companionship, The Understory Initiative (TUI), a Southwest Oregon ecological nonprofit known to partner with the Institute for Applied Ecology, has unveiled a matchmaking service called SeedySingles designed to make volunteer events not just more productive but also a chance for romance. The innovative program, launched just this year, aims to boost volunteer engagement by combining seed collection with the thrill of first dates.

“We were at our wits’ end,” admitted Tuula Rebhahn, TUI’s Seed Partnerships & Operations Manager and one of the masterminds behind TUI. “Seed collection efficiency was plummeting. Newly retired baby boomers are looking at their busy calendars and asking, do I have time for volunteering AND Match.com? We needed a solution, and fast.”

Enter Kathryn Prive, TUI’s Executive Director who, in a caffeine-fueled overnight session with Chat GPT, stumbled upon a novel idea. The AI suggested making events more engaging to motivate volunteers, but how? “I had no clue how to spice up seed collection,” Kathryn shared. “Then, while binge-watching ‘Love on the Spectrum,’ it hit me: why not seedy first dates? It’s perfect!”

Despite skepticism, including Tuula’s concern that Kathryn might be the sole enthusiast for such an unconventional first-date activity, the plan moved forward. The result? An unexpected fusion of romance and environmental activism, powered by a newly hired dating coach with an unorthodox background.

“I met Kathryn at a vegan silent disco/primal scream/crafting workshop,” chuckled Sheila Flowers, a former wildlife biologist turned love guru. “When she pitched this idea, I was intrigued. Mating success in the animal kingdom, particularly among squirrels and Clark’s nutcracker, correlates with seed-gathering prowess. Why not humans?”

At TUI SeedySingles events, participants receive coaching not on “stale conversation starters” as Flowers explains, but instead on impressing potential partners with their seed collection skills. “It’s all about showcasing your ability to nurture the earth—and possibly, a new relationship,” Flowers explained while gently palpating a burstingly ripe milkweed pod.

Imagine: They show up to the event with  recycled paper bags not only neatly folded but also pre-labeled with the site name. Their eyes meet over a gorgeously scenesced native thistle.

The next SeedySingles event is scheduled for sunset on a yet-to-be-disclosed date in late May 2024, promising breathtaking views, occasional risk-taking (known to boost oxytocin), and perhaps the bloom of new relationships. In an era where dating apps and conventional meetups have become the norm, TUI’s SeedySingles stands out as a testament to innovation, environmental stewardship, and the universal search for human connection and plant reproduction. Whether volunteers find love or not, one thing’s for sure: the seeds of a great idea have been sown.

Disclaimer: TUI is not responsible for ticks, rattlesnake bites, bear attacks, poison oak rashes, heat exhaustion, sunburn, dehydration, twisted ankles, smoke inhalation, poky socks, or broken hearts incurred at its dating events.

Thanks for reading this spoof. Happy April Fool’s Day and keep your dating habits seedy! This article contributed by our jocular friends at The Understory Initiative.