Carol Davit, MPF
First posted on 07-13-2012
Ten years ago, purple coneflowers, prairie grasses and other beautiful and resilient native plants were less common in landscaping than they are today. A decade of work by the Grow Native! program, however, has increased the use of natives in the state dramatically. This summer, the successful native-plant-awareness program reached another milestone. On July 1, Grow Native! took root in its new home with the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MFP).
In 2002, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) began Grow Native! to promote the use of native Missouri plants in landscapes, with the Missouri Department of Agriculture later joining in as a partner. Being part of governmental agencies placed constraints on the program, so MDC assembled a team of Grow Native! members to look at options for moving the program to another home. The team decided MPF would be an ideal fit for the program.
“We are extremely pleased the Missouri Prairie Foundation is the new home of this wonderful program,” said Mike Huffman, MDC Outreach and Education Division Chief. “For nearly 50 years, the Missouri Prairie Foundation has been conserving native landscapes and promoting native plants. It’s a great fit.”
Huffman added that, while Grow Native! is no longer part of MDC, the agency is committed to the promotion of the use of native plants through educational programs, work with private landowners and on its public properties.
The missions of Grow Native! and the Missouri Prairie Foundation are similar. Both are dedicated to educating the public about native plants and the benefits of using them in small and large landscapes, and preserving existing native landscapes. The Missouri Prairie Foundation was formed in 1966 by a group of citizens concerned with the loss of native prairie. Since then, the 501(c)(3) organization has protected more than 3,000 acres of prairie, has a membership of more than 1,400, supports prairie research and has an active outreach program, including the publication of the Missouri Prairie Journal, workshops, prairie and glade tours and grassland wildlife advocacy activities.
“The Missouri Prairie Foundation leadership is pleased to take Grow Native! under its wing,” said Foundation President Stan Parrish. “We are a hands-on organization with numerous volunteers who are enthusiastic about protecting original landscapes and about native plant gardening. We’re eager to get started.”
Many features of Grow Native! will remain the same. The website (grownative.org) is being redesigned with a fresh look, but retains its popular, native plant database, buyer’s guide and native landscaping guides. As in the past, “Landscaping with Missouri in Mind” workshops will be held in various parts of the state, the annual Grow Native! Professional Membership meeting will continue to inform green-industry professionals about the latest trends in native landscaping and many other membership benefits will continue to be offered to Grow Native! professional members.
Some new initiatives are planned as well. The Missouri Prairie Foundation intends to engage in more outreach with various entities, including counties and municipalities, to organize Grow Native! plant sales, and to support more native landscaping projects.
A brief Grow Native! ceremony to “transplant” the program to its new home is planned for Aug. 30 at the Native Plant Laboratory on the Lincoln University campus in Jefferson City. The ceremony will follow the ticketed “Bringing Nature Home” lecture by author Doug Tallamy, organized by Lincoln University Cooperative Extension.
For more information about the Aug. 30 event, about Grow Native!, the Missouri Prairie Foundation, or how to become a member of the Missouri Prairie Foundation or a Grow Native! professional member, visit grownative.org, call 888-843-6739, or send a message to .
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