Max Brown Surveys Wire Road

Max Brown, retired geologist and tireless botanist!

Max Brown, retired geologist and tireless botanist! (That’s Max, on the right!)

Max Brown, a regular members of the Southwest Chapter of the Missouri Native Plant Society, spent an estimated 350 field hours at Wire Road Conservation Area in Stone Co MO in 2014 conducting a vegetation survey. Max sent me an email about this experience:

Last year I made the suggestion to the Southwest Chapter of the Missouri Native Plant Society that perhaps we should do some sort of new project in 2014. I am not sure how it happened but this was translated by the group into me doing a plant inventory of a conservation area in southwest Missouri!

Wire Road Conservation Area, near Crane in Stone County was selected. The area consists of 818 acres of bottomlands (wooded and old fields) along Crane Creek (a Blue Ribbon trout stream), steep forested slopes, and an uplands composed of mostly old fields; the area also contains several homestead sites.

I allowed two days a week from late February to the end of October with time out for vacation, etc., resulting in approximately 55-60 days in the field, 5-6 hours per day. For an amateur botanist, this was a humbling and daunting task but I have learned over the years as a geology teacher that if one wants to learn something go ahead and jump in. It may not be so good if students are involved but it will definitely be a learning experience for the teacher!

I survived and loved it! The result was a database with about 450+ species recorded and a minimum estimate of 500+ species for the area. I will continue to visit the area to work out a few species I had trouble with.

Walking the same areas from late winter through spring, summer and fall was a great experience except for seed tick season but I must admit the blackberries were fantastic. Most of those did not get home.  If I were to do this again I would definitely try to involve other people more and I would press those specimens that I had trouble with and those that were not officially recorded for that county. Hindsight of course is nearly perfect.

The results of my efforts will be shared with the Missouri Department of Conservation. I hear some people actually get paid for doing things like this?

Congratulations, Max, and thank you!

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