Thanks to you and other supporters, the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) and its Grow Native! program accomplish a sustained, high level of conservation activity for prairie, people, and native plants. One of our many accomplishments this year was the launching of a $2.2 million fundraising campaign for our Missouri Bicentennial Lordi Marker Prairie Project—the purchase cost, short-term restoration, and long-term stewardship of this remarkable, 400-acre property south of Sedalia adjoining two other MPF properties.
Thanks to generous gifts of $1,025,000 from Susan Lordi Marker and Dennis Marker, donations from many supporters, including a recent gift of $200,000 from Rudi Roeslein, and future pledged gifts from the Markers, there is less than $66,000 remaining to reach our $2.2 million goal. We invite you to make a year-end contribution of any amount via check or online donation to bring us across the finish line of our Missouri Bicentennial project.
Most taxpayers, whether they itemize their deductions or not, are eligible for a tax deduction for cash donations to charitable organizations through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. You may wish to consult a tax professional for details. Other giving options include an IRA distribution or a gift of appreciated stock, which may also provide tax benefits.
MPF owns and manages some of Missouri’s most biologically diverse prairies—29 properties totaling more than 4,100 acres. Our stewardship sustains the stunning biodiversity of these prairies and their natural integrity, making them irreplaceable sites for prairie wildlife conservation and research. Through our work with partners, we help protect thousands of additional acres.
In 2021—thanks to an active board, Grow Native! committee, other valued volunteers, only three employees working in the field and from home offices, and with generous gifts from supporters like you—MPF has completed an incredible amount of work including these highlights:
- Dedicated four recent MPF prairie acquisitions—Lordi Marker Prairie, Schuette Prairie, The Rae Letsinger Prairie, and Polson Loess Bluff Prairie.
- Purchased a rare sand prairie in southeastern Missouri—the Edgar W. Schmidt Sand Prairie—and accepted the donation of three prairies from the Missouri Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
- Organized and hosted more than 35 webinars and master classes on many aspects of prairie biology and native landscaping. This programming had combined live attendance of more than 8,000, with more than 7,000 additional views on MPF’s YouTube channel.
- Received national accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission in February.
- Treated invasive plants and/or brush on all MPF prairies and administered contracts for invasive plant and brush treatment on more than 4,000 acres that included several Missouri Department of Conservation and many MPF prairies.
- Conducted prescribed burns on 850 acres over portions of 12 MPF prairies, the Ozark Land Trust’s Woods Prairie, and the Joplin Urban Prairie site. More prescribed burns are planned for the remainder of 2021.
- Planted thousands of remnant-dependent prairie plants on reconstructions next to MPF prairie remnants and began work on a 40-acre prairie planting at Creve Coeur Park in St. Louis County.
- Contracted for bird surveys at MPF’s Lordi Marker Prairie, baseline botanical surveys at Lordi Marker Prairie and Schuette Prairie, and a re-survey at Carver Prairie. Leaf beetle surveys were conducted by a volunteer at MPF’s Schuette, La Petite Gemme, and Lordi Marker Prairies.
- Produced a new video “A Conversation with Walter Schroeder” in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council, featuring the creation of Schroeder’s Presettlement Prairie Map of Missouri. The video premiered during MPF’s virtual Annual Dinner on August 20.
- Organized the virtual annual Grow Native! Professional Member Conference, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Doug Tallamy. More than 300 people registered for the conference, which was open to all.
- Organized numerous guided hikes and tours to MPF prairies and other native grasslands, held Bumble Bee Atlas Training, launched MPF’s iNaturalist Citizen Science project, and organized several prairie exploration activities on National Prairie Day (founded by MPF in 2016).
- Produced numerous new Grow Native! educational resources, including the Native Gardens of Excellence program, Plant Installation BMPs for Land Care Professionals, a Native Plant Care Calendar, and many revised native garden plans.
- MPF produced three issues of the Missouri Prairie Journal, now in its 42nd year of publication.
- The Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP), administered by Grow Native!, developed new educational resources and collected stakeholder input on its Cease-the-Sale of invasive plants idea.
- Awarded Prairie Garden Grants totaling $2,533.31 to the Manheim Park Garden Conservancy in Kansas City, The National Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, Phelps County Master Gardeners, and the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles.
- Staff and board members gave in-person or virtual presentations on prairie and native plants to many groups including the Houston Botanic Garden in Texas; Garden Club of St. Louis; Missouri Humanities Council; Watershed Committee of the Ozarks; Caldwell County Historical Society, Missouri; and co-organized a prairie strips field tour for professionals.
Ecologists rank temperate grasslands—which include Missouri’s prairies—as the least conserved, most threatened major terrestrial habitat type on earth. Of Missouri’s original 15 million acres of prairie, fewer than 50,000 acres of intact, scattered remnants remain. Prairie protection efforts in Missouri, therefore, are not only crucial to preserving Missouri’s natural heritage, but also are highly significant to national and even global conservation work. In 2022, we will continue our award-winning conservation work, as the only state-based organization dedicated exclusively to prairie protection.
MPF greatly appreciates your support. Please consider making a year-end gift to our Lordi Marker Prairie Missouri Bicentennial Project. A form and envelope are enclosed for your convenience. If you wish to make a donation directly from your IRA or a gift of appreciated stock, please contact us for routing information. Donate here.