Missouri Prairie Foundation Year in Review
The Missouri Prairie Foundation accomplished a high level of prairie protection work and native plant promotion in 2020. Your tax-deductible, year-end gift will help us continue our award-winning work in 2021. Donate now. Learn about the CARES Act and good news for charitable giving in 2020 here. Jump to more 2020 photos here.
MPF owns and manages some of Missouri’s most biologically diverse prairies—24 properties totaling more than 3,200 acres, open to all to enjoy. Our stewardship sustains the stunning biodiversity of these prairies and their natural integrity, which also makes them irreplaceable sites for research.
In 2020—thanks to an active board, Grow Native! committee, other valued volunteers, only four employees working in the field and from home offices, and with generous gifts from supporters like you—MPF has already completed an incredible amount of work including these highlights:
- In May, purchased The Rae Letsinger Prairie, a 68-acre original, unplowed prairie in Newton County, and, on November 23, purchased a 40-acre original, unplowed prairie in Polk County, both open to the public to enjoy.
- Entered into a contract to purchase a 400-acre property in Pettis County, which includes nearly 100 acres of original, unplowed prairie. MPF is slated to close on this property by the end of 2020.
- Were recognized with two awards: MPF’s Director of Prairie Management Jerod Huebner was awarded the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year Award from the Conservation Federation of Missouri, and MPF received a Conservation Impact Partner Award from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation and the Missouri Department of Conservation.
- Treated invasive species and/or brush on 3,190 MPF prairie acres and administered contracts for invasive plant and brush treatment on 876 acres owned by the Missouri Department of Conservation.
- Conducted prescribed burns on 753 acres over portions of 10 MPF prairies, as well as at a private prairie in Pettis County.
- Completed prairie reconstruction projects, initiated three to five years ago on 174 acres at MPF’s Pleasant Run Creek, Snowball Hill, and Carver prairies. This work involved broadcasting hundreds of pounds of seed collected from adjacent MPF remnants and planting more than 6,000 plugs.
- Contracted for botanical, leaf beetle, and small mammal surveys on 13 MPF prairies.
- Hired Brooke Widmar, MPF’s Director of Administrative Operations & Member Engagement, in March.
- Launched completely redesigned MPF and Grow Native! websites.
- Carried out extensive MPF and Grow Native! virtual programming with webinars, master classes, and Grow Native! Professional Member Conference attended by more than 4,300 people.
- Connected consumers with native plant suppliers through distribution of more than 20,000 copies of the 2020 Grow Native! Resource Guide at Missouri outlets and elsewhere in the lower Midwest.
- Sold more than 161,700 Grow Native! tags to help plant producers sell natives in the marketplace.
- The Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force (MoIP), a resource of MPF’s Grow Native! program, developed methodology for stakeholder input on a MoIP proposal for legislation to cease the sale of invasive, non-native plants.
- Awarded Prairie Garden grants to Central Reform Congregation, Jefferson Elementary School, and Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri in St. Louis; Longfellow Community Association in Kansas City; and Jefferson County Parks & Recreation in Hillsboro.
- Produced three issues of the Missouri Prairie Journal sent to members, elected officials, schools, teachers, landowners, and conservation leaders, with fascinating and useful content such as articles on prairie ants, woody encroachment of prairies, and the 20th anniversary of MPF’s Grow Native! program.
- Organized MPF native plant “drive through” plant sales and staffed booths at conferences and/or gave presentations on prairie and native plants to more than 25 groups (in-person until early March 2020; virtual after).
- Produced a six-minute video featuring drone videography of MPF’s Linden’s Prairie, premiered during MPF’s virtual Annual Dinner in August.
- Hosted socially distanced outdoor events: a plein air art event at its Snowball Hill Prairie in June, ten Picnics on the Prairie events in the fall at five different MPF prairies, and several hikes to MPF prairies and other native grasslands and native plantings in spring, summer, and fall.
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 60,000 scattered, unplowed acres remain. Prairie protection efforts in Missouri, therefore, are not only crucial to preserving our state’s natural heritage, but are also highly significant to national and even global conservation work. In 2021, as the only state-based organization dedicated exclusively to prairie protection, we will continue our award-winning conservation work.
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We cannot protect prairies or promote native plants without you!
Earlier in 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, two aspects of which help both nonprofits like MPF and donors. Individual taxpayers can claim up to $300 in qualified charitable contributions on federal tax returns, even if not itemizing deductions (and up to $600 if filing jointly). In addition, for those who do itemize, the limitation cap on Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for claiming charitable deductions, which is usually 50%, has been lifted. This means taxpayers who itemize can claim unlimited deductions for qualified charitable contributions up to 100% of AGI. MPF does not offer legal, tax, or financial advice. Please consult your attorney, accountant, or financial advisor for assistance.