Fringed poppy mallow grows at MPF’s Rae Letsinger Prairie, one of many prairie plants that attract insects like this checkered skipper. Photo: Bruce Schuette

The Rae Letsinger Prairie

About Rae Letsinger Prairie

In May 2020, MPF purchased this 68-acre original, unplowed prairie near Sarcoxie. The prairie is named for the late Rae Letsinger, whose sister, Joan Letsinger, purchased naming rights to honor her brother. Though not trained as an entomologist, Rae was a moth expert, and through his lifetime he accumulated one of the largest insect collections in Missouri, with more than 22,000 specimens of more than 1,400 species, the vast majority of them being moths. Read more about the prairie dedication in this Missouri Prairie Journal article. 

The Missouri Prairie Foundation purchased The Rae Letsinger Prairie from the Pauline Gillett Trust with Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) funding awarded to the organization in 2013. NRDAR award funds, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, were made available as a result of a NRDA settlement with ASARCO, a lead mining and smelting company whose operations caused environmental damage while it operated in southwestern Missouri over the last century.

This prairie, in a hay regime for decades, supports many prairie-dependent plants, including blue hearts (Buchnera americana), fringed poppy mallow (Callirhoe digitata), and Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia caespitosa). MPF will be implementing annual, rotational prescribed fire to the property and will carry out tree thinning on a wooded portion of the property to expand prairie habitat. The Rae Letsinger Prairie is about 7 miles east of MPF’s Noah Brown’s Prairie.

2021 Breeding Bird Surveys on Missouri Prairie Foundation Properties by the Missouri River Bird Observatory

2020 Floristic Integrity Report: Coyne, Golden, Linden’s, and Rae Letsinger Prairies by the Institute of Botanical Training, LLC. 

Directions

Rae Letsinger Prairie is in Newton County southwest of Sarcoxie, on the northeast corner of the Terrier Rd and Aspen Rd intersection.  Park on the side of the road.  By GPS, N37 2.285 W94 9.032 (in decimal degrees, 37.038062 -94.150524). 

More Ways to Give

For over 55 years, the Missouri Prairie Foundation has been conserving Missouri’s prairies and other native grasslands. Donate now to help conserve prairie in Missouri, one of the most imperiled, beautiful, and biologically diverse habitat types on earth. Donate, become a member, and find other ways to support our work. 

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