Bringing Nature Home

Bringing Nature Home

Are you looking for a gift for that person in your life who is on the cusp of becoming a native plant enthusiast? There is no doubt that it’s difficult to convince people to plant natives so insects can eat them! Isn’t that what we’re trying to avoid, they’ll say? Look no further than Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home. In particular, Tallamy makes the case that the birds that so many people enjoy absolutely depend on native plants to raise the insects and spiders needed to raise their young. It’s an easy and compelling read and has convinced me to put as much of our farm as possible in natives of some kind.

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!

Missouri Native Plant Society is a member of the Grow Native! program


The Missouri Native Plant Society is a proud member of the Grow Native! program! This program, administered by the Missouri Prairie Foundation, brings commercial organizations, growers, nurseries, and non-profits together with folks from around the state and region interested in growing native plants and restoring native landscapes. Check it out at!

Confronting the Plight of Pollinators

Sweat Bee

Sweat Bee

This message is from Anne Frances, lead botanist at NatureServe, concerning a new presidential task force on pollinators.

From: Anne Frances
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2014 3:12 PM
Subject: [PCA] Presidential Task Force – Pollinators’ listening session this Monday, 11/17 + request for written comments by 11/24

The US Federal Government recently announced listening sessions related to the new Presidential Task Force on pollinators. The second and final session is this Monday, November 17th, from 1-3pm eastern standard time. You can attend in-person (near University of Maryland College Park) or you can join via webinar. I have included the full announcement below.

Continue reading

October Bonfire!

Our October meeting was held at Pearl Creek Farm, Michelle’s and Brian’s little native plant oasis. Several folks from the chapter showed up early to harvest seeds from the prairie planting, now six years old. Several seeds were exchanged, including a particularly generous harvest of common milkweed seed. At dusk, the annual lighting of the “Brushpile of Shame” commenced. This year, the pile consisted of a few non-native thistles, some honeysuckle, wintercreeper, and some multiflora rose. It seems that we won’t be running out of material for the brushpile any time soon!

MONPS Fall Meeting and Field Trips

Here is the latest, updated information about the MONPS Fall Meeting and Field Trips, September 12-14, in and around Cape Girardeau, MO. Everyone is invited to join some of the best field botanists in the state and view spectacular sand prairie and mesic southeastern Missouri forest flora! Check out the information below for current plans and updated, printable maps and plant lists:

Events, Directions, and Lodging for the 2014 Fall Meeting and Field Trips (You may want to print this to bring with you.)

Google Event Map