by Carol Davit
The mission of the 52-year-old nonprofit land trust the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) is to protect and restore prairie and other native grasslands through acquisition, management, education, and research. MPF also operates the Grow Native! native plant education and marketing program, the goals of which are to increase the demand for and supply of native plants, including milkweeds and other native plant nectar sources.
MPF owns and manages more than 3,300 acres of mostly original prairie in 21 tracts of land and provides management services to other prairie landowners. MPF’s unplowed prairie remnants are habitat strongholds for rare pollinators including regal fritillary butterflies and many native bee species, as well as original monarch habitat.
Some of MPF’s many activities in 2018 that benefited monarchs and pollinators include the collection of seed from MPF prairies and work on extensive multi-year restoration projects on land owned by MPF: 88 acres at Pleasant Run Creek Prairie and 50 acres at Stilwell Prairie in Vernon County, 18 acres at Snowball Hill Prairie in Cass County, and 12 acres at Carver Prairie in Newton County.
In 2018, MPF gave away more than 3,770 native milkweed and nectar plants — with funding from the Missouri Department of Conservation — to more than 40 groups or events to benefit monarch butterflies. MPF’s extensive outreach and education activities included the production and distribution of 25,000 Grow Native! Resource Guides to suppliers of native plant products and services, which contain information about Grow Native!’s Monarch Café series of milkweed plant tags; the organization of four native plant workshops, all of which included discussion of natives to benefit monarchs; organization of native plant sales in Kansas City, Sedalia, Jefferson City, Maryville, and Columbia; and a presence at numerous public events where MPF shared native plant information, including the Monarch Mania event in Jefferson City and the MonArch Migration event in St. Louis. Individuals can support the work of MPF and its Grow Native! program by becoming a member or making a donation. Find out more at www.moprairie.org and www.grownative.org.