Bright red-orange indian paintbrush flowers and bright purple flowers in a green field

Wildflowers at MPF’s new Lordi Marker Prairie. Photo: Walter Moser

A Missouri Bicentennial Project: Protection & Restoration of MPF’s 400-acre Lordi Marker Prairie

An extraordinary $1 million lead gift from Susan Lordi Marker and her husband Dennis Marker, along with other generous gifts and financial backing from MPF, made this new MPF acquisition possible. Gifts received from MPF supporters through May 2021–totalling more than $56,000, were matched with an additional $25,000 gift from the Markers. Your gift today will help us reach our fundraising goals for the entire project, including purchase cost ($1.6 million), short-term restoration ($125,000), and long-term stewardship ($475,000 to add to the principal amount of our Stewardship Fund) of this remarkable 400-acre property.

Dennis with arm around Susan in their prairie, blooming bright green and yellow, with a pond in the background

“We are supporting this Bicentennial Prairie Project because the Missouri Prairie Foundation accomplishes what it sets out to do,” said Susan. “Not only does the organization have passion for prairie, but is run by a very dedicated, hard-working group of people that follows through on its goals. Dennis and I have been very impressed, and we know that our gift will be well spent.”

“We all benefit when prairie is protected,” said Dennis. “Our passion for prairie landscapes—and the cherished wildlife that depend on them—has grown beyond what we enjoy now, during our lifetimes, to making a difference in what is protected for the benefit of our children, grandchildren, and all future generations of Missourians.”

Photo: Susan Lordi Marker and Dennis Marker by Rick Kraft

The Missouri Prairie Foundation, a 55-year-old land trust, is part of a coalition of entities committed to developing projects, programs, and events that commemorate Missouri’s 200 years of statehood this year. In a salute to Missouri’s Bicentennial, this year MPF will begin restoration and stewardship of 400 acres of a Missouri Century Farm in Pettis County purchased late in December 2020.

This new MPF acquisition, which includes nearly 100 acres of original, unplowed prairie, was made possible thanks to an extraordinary $1 million lead gift from Susan Lordi Marker and her husband Dennis, gifts from other supporters, and financial backing from MPF. You are invited to support this project, as well!

This new MPF property—named the Lordi Marker Prairie—links two MPF properties—the 40-acre Friendly Prairie, the organization’s first acquisition in 1969; and the 80-acre Drovers’ Prairie, purchased in 1981—creating 520 acres of prairie and native grassland habitat just 14 miles south of Sedalia, MO and 100 miles southeast of Kansas City, MO. The Lordi Marker Prairie is within a Missouri Conservation Opportunity Area and an Audubon Important Bird Area—a key region for landscape-scale prairie and native grassland conservation.

Two maps of Missouri, the first one with large sections of dark orange representing 15 million acres of prairie pre-settlement, and the second map with very little dark orange, showing the fewer than 60,000 scattered acres of prairie today

Until statehood in 1821, Missouri had up to 15 million acres of prairie. Today, fewer than 60,000 scattered acres—or less than ½ of 1%—remain. 

Until the time of Missouri statehood in 1821, 73% of Pettis County—or 496 square miles—was prairie. Nearly all the original, unplowed prairie in Pettis County and throughout Missouri is gone today, with the land broken by sprawl, row crops, and other development. The Lordi Marker Prairie is a wonderful opportunity in historic Osage Plains prairie country to protect and restore 400 hundred acres of land for present and future generations to enjoy.

MPF’s planned restoration work at this property includes removal of encroaching trees on the remnant prairie, conversion of tall fescue to native prairie plantings, restoration of a riparian corridor, and creation of small ephemeral wetlands to support grassland amphibians and migrating shorebirds. MPF is also planning to establish wildflower plots on a portion of the property for seed collection, to support restoration efforts throughout the Conservation Opportunity Area. MPF may also establish native pastures to demonstrate conservation grazing.

With your gift of any amount, you will be part of restoring a landscape that will provide habitat for grassland birds, pollinators, and other grassland-dependent species; contribute to healthy streams; provide carbon storage—and pay tribute to Missouri’s historic prairie landscapes to benefit present and future Missourians.

Donors contributing $25,000 or more toward the purchase price or the stewardship of this property will be recognized on a permanent marker on the prairie.

Missouri 2021 Bicentennial logo reading "Past. Present. Future." with an image of the state of Missouri

MPF is extremely grateful for the following MPF Missouri Bicentennial Project gifts:

$1,025,000
Susan Lordi Marker & Dennis Marker

$200,000 & above
Missouri Department of Conservation Land Acquisition Program Grant

$75,000 & above
Estate of Edward Schmidt

$40,000 & above
Ron & Sue Berry
MPF Land Acquisition Fund
Gina Miller

$10,000 & above
Dr. Bibie Chronwall
David Marker
Clark Mitchell
Emily Pulitzer

$5,000 & above
Martha & Rex Hill in Memory of Pat and Jack Harris 
Ann Rankin Horton & Bob Horton
Margo Farnsworth and Jim Pascoe in Memory of Doc and Glo Pascoe
Susan and Tuck Spaulding
Howard Wood

$2,500 & above
Dale & Marla Blevins

$1,000 & above
Wesley Fordyce
Barbara Oelke
Jerry Overton
River Bluffs Audubon Society in Memory of Christy Lundy
Randall Washburn

$500 & above
Casey Galvin
Rheba Symeonoglou
Andrew Williams & Rebecca Christoffel
Mark Zurbrick

$100 & above
Kathleen Anderson
Anita Berwanger
Marty Clark
Thomas Ganfield
Emily & Paul Horner
Celia Llopis-Jepsen
Jay Kelly
Larry & Belinda Mechlin
Emily O’Neal
Jeannine Steinhoff

$10 to $99
Mike & Patty Ardis
Lucy Church
Kelly & Greg Deline
Frank Dvorak
Rich & Pat Glessner
Melodie Husted
Tom & Phebe McCutcheon
Veronica Mecko
Alex & Cathy Primm
Doug & Jeanette Salzman
Eric Seaman
Stephanie Sigala
Mark & RitaMarie Thomas
Chip Tynan & 
Suze Stark  

Small brown, yellow, and gray bird perching on a twig with a green caterpillar in beak

Dickcissel by Bruce Schuette. The Lordi Marker Prairie is within the Cole Camp Prairies Important Bird Area.

Close up photo of a spiraling green stem with small white flowers

Common ladies tresses (Spiranthes cernua) by Bruce Schuette.

Silhouette of a hummingbird hovering above bright orange indian paintbrush flowers

Hummingbird visiting painted-cup paintbrush (Castilleja coccinea) at the Lordi Marker Prairie, by Walter Moser.

Young boy in an orange shirt and bucket hat places a marker flag in the prairie during a bio blitz event

All MPF prairies are open to the public for all to enjoy. Photo by Noppadol Paothong

close up of dark, rich purple flower with 5 petals

Find prairie treasures in all seasons, like this Downy gentian (Gentiana puberulenta), which blooms in the fall. Photo by Bruce Schuette

Regal fritillary butterflies, orange and brown with white spots, on bright orange butterfly weed plants

Regal fritillary butterflies on butterfly weed by Bruce Schuette.