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Protecting Prairies & Promoting Native Plants

Bringing Prairie to the People

Happy Earth Week!


As spring has unfurled, MPF, its Grow Native! program, and the Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP) administered by MPF, have been incredibly busy across the state, stewarding our prairies and sharing native plant, prairie, and invasive plant information far and wide. Here are some highlights of the work of board members, volunteers, and staff in March and April 2024 alone:

scouted for tall fescue and other invasive plants on MPF's prairies, and treated when found.

presented on prairie and native plants to 10 groups in Kansas City, Jefferson City, St. Louis, St. Joseph, Ferguson, Springfield, and Columbia, reaching hundreds of people. Talks included opening keynotes at the Missouri Native Grasslands Summit and the St. Louis Partners for Native Landscaping Workshop.

distributed thousands of 2024 Grow Native! resource guides across the lower Midwest, to help market the native plant products and services of 185 Grow Native! professional members.

shared prairie and native plant information, including many free fact sheets and Grow Native! garden plans at 20 events, including the Missouri FFA Convention (attended by 3,000+), Rolla schools' Evening with Nature (attended by 500), Healthy Yards Expo in Shawnee, Kansas (attended by 1,200), the Land Learning Foundation's Family Field Day in Troy (attended by more than 200), St. Louis Earth Day (attended by 16,000+), and the Grow Native! Brews & Blooms event in St. Louis (attended by 200+).

organized successful native plant sales in Jefferson City, Columbia, and Kansas City, the latter drawing 1,200 people. Grow Native! professional members sold more than 13,000 plants at these three sales alone.

organized 13 MoIP Callery Pear Buyback events across the state, happening today.

planned for many more prairie stewardship and upcoming events!


Please consider making a gift to MPF to help us continue our high level of impactful prairie protection, education, and outreach in the Give St. Louis campaign April 24 to May 9 (see details below). Your gift will be matched 100%!


Here is a quick summary of other news as well as upcoming events featured in this issue:


–Save the dates: MPF's 13th Annual Prairie BioBlitz and National Prairie Day celebration will be held June 1 and 2 at MPF's Shelton L. Cook Memorial Meadow, and the MPF Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony will be held August 17 at Stoney Creek Hotel in Columbia. BioBlitz registration will be open by May 1. Stay tuned for information about both events.


To date, Missouri House Bill 2412 and Missouri Senate Bill 1281 to prohibit the sale of five invasive plants have not been scheduled for House and Senate votes. (Both bills passed unanimously out of their respective committees.) Voice your support for HB 2412 by contacting your State Representative. Voice your support for SB 1281 by contacting your State Senator. Find his/her contact information here.


–April 24: Early Giving Begins for Give STL Day 2024

–Upcoming Spring Wildflower Walks on MPF Prairies

Call for 2024 MPF, Grow Native!, and MoIP Award Nominations

April 24: Grow Native! Master Class with Scott Woodbury: Restoring Remnant Woodlands in a Sea of Bush Honeysuckle

–April 27: Native Plant Sale at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield

–April 28: St. Louis Partners for Native Landscaping Native Plant Fair

–May 4: EcoTones: The Urban Prairie at Tower Grove Park's Nee Kee Nee

–May 8: MPF Webinar with Bruce Schuette: Virtual Hike on the Prairie - Spring Edition

–May 11: Native Plant Sale at World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri

–May 11: Native Plant Sale at Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City

Spring 2024 State of Invasives MoIP enewsletter

–Prairie Postcard: Will the Real Wild Strawberry Please Stand Up?


Happy Earth Week!

The MPF Team


P.S. We'd love to see you at our booths at these other upcoming events:


--April 27: Birds, Bees, and Blooms Festival in Arrow Rock

--May 4: Shaw Nature Reserve Spring Wildflower Market

--May 10: Kansas City Rotary Club Native Plant Sale in Lee's Summit


Pictured above are many members of the MPF crew at the Missouri Native Grassland Summit in Jefferson City, attended by more than 320 people April 9 to 11. From left, Executive Director Carol Davit, MPF Board member Doug Helmers, MPF Land Acquisition Subcommittee member Rick Thom, MPF Board Secretary Sarah Hinman (seated), MPF Operations Coordinator Emily Gustafson, MPF Special Projects Coordinator Erika Van Vranken, MPF board member Jane Haslag (seated), MPF Director of Prairie Management Jerod Huebner, MPF Board President David Young, and MPF Vice President of Science & Management Bruce Schuette.

April 24: Early Giving Begins for Give STL Day

MPF is grateful to be a part of Give St. Louis Day. During this online day of charitable giving on May 9, 2024, we invite you—no matter where you live—to make a donation to help us reach our fundraising goal of $10,000 to support our award-winning prairie conservation work.


Thanks to a generous $5,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor, the impact of your tax-deductible gift will be doubled! Please consider donating $10 or more to help us reach our goal. You can also support other participating charitable organizations at the same time.


Please visit MPF's profile in the campaign and make a donation here. You don't need to wait until May 9—early giving opens on April 24!


Photo of orange puccoon (Lithospermum canescens) and paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) blooming at MPF's Noah Brown's Prairie by Bruce Schuette

Upcoming Spring Wildflower Walks on MPF Prairies

MPF will host upcoming hikes on several of its old-growth prairie properties to help participants discover the beauty, science, and importance of prairie from experts in the field. All free of charge!


Please see individual event pages linked below for details, including registration:


April 30: Spring wildflower walk with Jeff Cantrell at MPF's The Rae Letsinger Prairie at 5:30 p.m.

May 6: Spring wildflower walk with Jerod Huebner at MPF's Carver Prairie at 5:30 p.m.

May 21: Spring wildflower walk with Jerod Huebner at MPF's Snowball Hill Prairie at 5:00 p.m.

May 28: Spring wildflower walk with Jeff Cantrell at MPF's Linden's Prairie at 5:30 p.m.


Photo of prairie larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum) at Schwartz Prairie by Carol Davit

Call for 2024 MPF, Grow Native!, and MoIP Award Nominations

Graphic with text that reads nominate your favorite prairie or native plant champion today nominations accepted until June 15 a photo of 2018 MPF Prairie Pioneer Awardee Dr. Walter Schroeder holding his award and logos for MPF GN and MoIP

MPF, its Grow Native! program, and the Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP), administered by MPF, are now accepting nominations for MPF awards (Prairie Pioneer, Prairie Professional, Prairie Communicator, Prairie Volunteer, and Prairie Landowner); Grow Native! awards (Grow Native! Ambassador Award, Native Plant Pioneer Award, Native Plant Protector Award); and MoIP Invasive Plant Action Awards (Individual Citizen, Individual Organization, and Individual Professional Awards, Collaborator Award, Researcher Award).


One need not be a member of MPF to be nominated for an award. Current MPF board members are not eligible to receive an award. If you nominated someone in the past who was not selected for an award, we encourage you to renominate that individual. All nominations must be received by June 15, 2024. MPF intends to present awards at in-person events this summer and fall.


Questions? Call 888-843-6739.

April 24: Grow Native! Master Class: Restoring Remnant Woodlands in a Sea of Bush Honeysuckle

Graphic promoting the restoring woodlands master class with a photo of Scott Woodburys face and pink wild geraniums blooming in the background

Many natural woodlands and shady landscapes are infested with invasive bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), one of the biggest current threats to native woodland ecosystems. When mature, these highly aggressive invasive shrubs compete with native plants for sunlight, nutrients, and moisture, and can choke them out. In this online master class with Scott Woodbury, you will learn about the history and spread of bush honeysuckle and how to control and replace it on your sliver of earth.


Scott will share how to identify bush honeysuckle and its look-alikes, learn how to control it and what to replace it with. This persistent plant, and others like it, are here to stay, so get ready for long-term scouting and removal of shrub sprouts. The good news is that you may have remnant native plants hanging on for dear life in your existing woodland. The great news is that you can resuscitate the wooded area of your yard or property to resemble something similar to its former glory days.


Wednesday, April 24 at 4:00 p.m. This 50-minute presentation will be followed by a question/answer session. A private link to a recording of the master class will be emailed to registrants. Free for MPF members and Grow Native! professional members. $15 for non-members. Register here.

April 27: MPF Native Plant Sale at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield

orange black and white monarch butterfly getting nectar from lavender daisy like flowers of aromatic aster

MPF will hold a native plant sale on Saturday, April 27 at Bass Pro Shops®1 Bass Pro Drive, Springfield, Missouri from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Buy native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, vines, and sedges from Grow Native! professional member Gaylena’s Garden. A wide variety of species suitable for a diversity of growing conditions will be available.


Shoppers can stroll through the sale and purchase plants from each vendor. Plants can also be pre-ordered and be ready for pick up at the event. Find pre-order information here. Vendors will donate a portion of plant sale proceeds to benefit MPF's conservation work.


Photo of New England aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) by Mervin Wallace

April 28: St. Louis Partners for Native Landscaping Native Plant Fair

Log of Partners for Native Landscaping with an illustration of a purple coneflower and a bumble bee and a tiger swallowtail butterfly visiting the flower

The St. Louis Audubon's Partners in Native Landscaping Spring Series, of which MPF's Grow Native! program is a partner, will hold a Native Plant Fair on April 28 from

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Beyond Housing Headquarters, 6506 Wright Way, St. Louis, Missouri.


The event will include a rainscaping tour at 11:00 a.m., a native plant sale with Grow Native! professional members Missouri Wildflowers NurseryForrest KeelingPapillon Perennials, and River City Natives selling a wide variety of native wildflowers, grasses, sedges, vines, shrubs, and trees. In addition, many groups, including MPF and its Grow Native! program, will have informational booths. Here is information about native plant sale pre-order information and other details.

May 4: EcoTones: The Urban Prairie at Tower Grove Park's Nee Kee Nee

EcoTones Concerts present imaginative outdoor performances sited in public nature spaces, exploring connections between humans and the natural world. EcoTones: The Urban Prairie at Tower Grove Park’s Nee Kee Nee, for which MPF is a sponsor, on May 4, will be a whimsical, innovative live performance experience sited at the park’s Nee Kee Nee Stream (Osage for “revived water”), an enchanting and recently constructed trail surrounded by native plantings alongside a recently day-lighted stream. The day includes a free event for families with children ages 0 to 7 from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. and an all-ages ticketed event from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.


The free family event from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. is offered in partnership with the St. Louis Public Library’s Carpenter Branch. Families with children ages 0 to 7 are invited to hear soloists and a chamber ensemble alongside the Nee Kee Nee Trail, as well as a trailside story circle with a SLPL Carpenter Branch children’s librarian, and hands-on naturalist stations about bees, butterflies, and native plants with MPF and Missouri Department of Conservation volunteers.


The all-ages ticketed event from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. features the members of the full St. Louis EcoTones Ensemble, featuring professional musicians from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra as well as mainstay players on the regional and international jazz scene, together with naturalists alongside the “Nee Kee Nee Music Trail.” There, a mobile audience will walk amongst instruments from all four instrument families playing small group chamber music inspired by the flora and fauna along the trail, interspersed with special trailside stations where volunteer naturalists will provide insight about the prairie ecosystem. This will be followed by an outdoor sit-down concert set in the wheelchair-and-stroller-accessible Stupp Amphitheater. Newly commissioned music inspired by the flora and fauna of Nee Kee Nee, composed by St. Louis composer and trumpeter Daniel Campbell, St. Louis native saxophonist Chris Cheek, and new music by talented young composers Daniel Kent and Scotty Russell will be premiered at the event.


Registration is required for both events.


Please visit this site for tickets and registration. This EcoTones experience is made possible by a program support grant from the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, business sponsors Jackson Pianos (providing a grand piano for the event), Top Notch Violins, and Grow Native! Sponsor Pure Air Natives, EcoTones partner the St. Louis Public Library Carpenter Branch, and donations from private individuals.

May 8: MPF Webinar: Virtual Hike on the Prairie with Bruce Schuette

What can you see, hear, and experience on a Missouri tallgrass prairie in spring? Join MPF Vice President of Science & Management Bruce Schuette as he leads a virtual tour of Friendly Prairie in Pettis County, which was MPF's first prairie acquisition. We’ll learn about life on the prairie in spring, including flora and fauna you can observe. This virtual hike will be pre-recorded, but participants will be able to ask questions live following the virtual hike.


Wednesday, May 8 at 4:00 p.m. Approximately 40 minutes, to be followed by a question-and-answer session. Free. A link to a recording of the webinar will be emailed to registrants. Register here.


Photo of shooting star (Primula meadia) by Bruce Schuette

May 11: MPF Native Plant Sale at World Bird Sanctuary

MPF will hold a native plant sale on Saturday, May 11 at the World Bird Sanctuary, 125 Bald Eagle Ridge Rd., Valley Park, Missouri from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


A wide variety of native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, vines, and sedges will be available for sale from four Grow Native! professional members: Gaylena’s Garden, Ozark Soul, Papillon Perennials, and River City Natives.


Shoppers can stroll through the sale and purchase plants from each vendor. Shoppers can also pre-order plants and have their orders ready for pick up at the event. Find pre-order information here. Vendors will donate a portion of plant sale proceeds to benefit MPF's conservation work.


Please note that World Bird Sanctuary charges a $12 fee per vehicle that all plant sale customers must pay to enter.


Photo above of wild plum (Prunus americana) by www.HenryDomke.com

May 11: MPF Native Plant Sale at Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center in Kansas City

MPF will hold a native plant sale on Saturday, May 11 at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Missouri from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


A wide variety of native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, vines, and sedges will be available for sale from five Grow Native! professional members: Gaylena’s Garden, Ozark Soul, City Roots Nursery, Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, and Sow Wild Natives.


Shoppers can stroll through the sale and purchase plants from each vendor. Shoppers can also pre-order plants and have their orders ready for pick up at the event. Find pre-order information here. Vendors will donate a portion of plant sale proceeds to benefit MPF's conservation work.


Make plans to attend this sale, or one or more of the other MPF spring native plant sales listed below and peruse the grownative.org website to find inspiration and resources to create native plant shopping lists:



Photo of yellow false indigo (Baptisia sphaerocarpa) by David Young

Spring 2024 Issue of State of Invasives Enewsletter

Last week, the Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP), administered by MPF, issued its spring 2024 enewsletter, with information on upcoming events, invasive plants to look for and treat in spring, and much more. Read the enewsletter here. If you do not already subscribe to it, you may sign up to receive this quarterly newsletter here.



At left, leaves of the highly invasive Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana). Find treatment information for Callery pear here. Photo by Chuck Bargeron, UGA, Bugwood

Prairie Postcard: Will the Real Wild Strawberry Please Stand Up?

Wild strawberries are a delicious edible fruit native to Missouri—but beware of the unsavory, non-native lookalike. 


Native, wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana), pictured in the three photos above, grow statewide and can be found in prairies, old fields, borders of woods, and a variety of other situations. Wild strawberry flowers, which contain five white petals, bloom in clusters in April and May. The fruit is a delicious red “berry” or aggregate fruit, meaning it forms from a single flower with many pistils and, therefore, the many seeds covering the mature fruit are technically clusters of small fruits.


In addition to bearing delectable fruit, wild strawberry plants can also be an important ecological and aesthetic addition to the native garden. This fast-growing perennial makes a good ground cover that spreads by above-ground runners and is a larval host for the gray hairstreak butterfly (Strymon melinus). 


MPF/Grow Native Operations Coordinator Emily Gustafson attests to their value in the native garden: “I planted them as a groundcover/green mulch in my front yard, but have only ever been able to snatch two or three berries, since they are so popular with the wildlife!”


Wild strawberries, top and above left, are a delectable treat for people and other animals that can be found growing in prairies. Photos by Carol Davit and Bruce Schuette. The wild strawberry flower, above right, which contains five white petals and many stamens, is a sure sign of spring as it blooms in April and May. Photo by Juliana Schroeder

The mock strawberry (Duchesnea indica), pictured directly above, can also be found statewide from April to June in open areas of woods, prairies, fields, and maybe even your yard. Like the wild strawberry plant, this non-native perennial has compound leaves, each with three leaflets, but its flowers are yellow. Its red fruit resembles a wild strawberry, but we don't recommend tasting it! Introduced from Asia, this non-native can become invasive and outcompete native plants.


So don’t be fooled by mock strawberries this spring and, instead, plant wild strawberries to add beauty and food for wildlife (and hopefully you as well!) to your native garden. 


Photos of fruit and flower of mock or false strawberry, above, courtesy of MDC.

The Missouri Prairie Foundation respectfully acknowledges that the land we work to protect was the homeland of a diversity of Native American nations prior to European-American settlement. The land in our care continues to have cultural significance for the Ni-U-Ko’n-Ska (Osage), Nyut/\achi (Missouria), Asakiwaki and Meskwaki (Sac and Fox), Báxoje (Ioway), Kaw, and other Native American nations. We are mindful that these nations had a significant role in shaping the landscape and that they continue a sacred relationship with the lands we protect. We recognize and appreciate their contributions to the cultural heritage of this region and to the history of North America. We honor them as we protect the ecological integrity of the lands in our care.
Quote: Nature is an open book for those who care to read. Each grass-covered hillside is a page on which is written the history of the past, conditions of the present and predictions of the future. Some see without understanding; but let us look closely an
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