The first step is to check the species conservation status and the ownership of the lands where the species occurs. If your target species is listed under the Endangered Species Act, check with your local U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) office. Depending upon the land ownership where the species occurs, you may or may not need to have a USFWS permit, but it is always good to have a discussion with the recovery staff before you make a collection. If the species is not federally listed but is protected by your state, contact the state agency that issues collecting permits. Google “collecting permit rare species STATE NAME.” If your target species grows on private land, it is also good to get written permission from the landowner before making the collection.