Achieving the varied objectives of the Conservation Department requires creativity and collaboration. We often turn to outside experts to meet important needs and generate stronger conservation results. One such partnership is developing just outside St. Louis to advance the goals of the Grow Native! initiative and to help more Missourians enjoy and experience nature at a very special place.
The Grow Native! program was created to promote the use of native plants in gardening and landscaping on both a residential and commercial scale. The use of native plants directly benefits fish, forests and wildlife and provides niche markets for the agriculture sector as well. The program combines public education efforts and services with the native plant industry, which in turn provides native plants and seed to consumers. Grow Native! is off to a good start, but the rapidly developing body of knowledge surrounding native plant production requires special expertise. Therefore, we turned to the able staff of the Shaw Nature Reserve for help.
The Shaw Nature Reserve is a beautiful 2,400-acre property bordering the Meramec River in Franklin County. It is owned and operated by the Missouri Botanical Garden, a prestigious organization with outstanding philanthropic support for its plant science research around the world and display gardens in St. Louis. We are indeed fortunate to have the Garden and its president, Dr. Peter Raven.
The native plant experts at the Shaw Nature Reserve are working under contract to produce technical guides on native landscaping for homeowners, nurseries and landscape professionals. These experts also host Native Plant School, a series of native plant workshops for the public and professionals. The public workshops are held at the Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, while the professional workshops are held at the Alberici Corporation in Overland. The native landscaping and environmental design of the Alberici world headquarters is an outstanding example of the practices Grow Native! supports.
In addition, the Shaw Nature Reserve is ideally suited for public visitation and the quality outdoor experiences promoted by the Department. It is dedicated to environmental education, to the maintenance and restoration of the region’s native flora and fauna, and to public enjoyment of the natural world. There are excellent walking trails throughout the property.
We work cooperatively on a number of special events, including Prairie Day, Missouri Outdoor Women weekend and special workshops on native plants. Shaw Nature Reserve supports expanded programming and educational activities cosponsored and led by the Department. They are especially interested in technical assistance to increase beneficial habitats for wildlife species. The possibility of a managed hunt to control the deer population on a portion of the Reserve is under consideration to provide a quality hunting experience for youth or disabled Missouri citizens. It is a special place, ready-made for nature study and group learning that, if starting from scratch, would take the Department years to develop.
We are excited that this partnership will provide more Missouri citizens a place to safely enjoy the satisfaction, fun and excitement of time spent in nature. We encourage you to visit the Shaw Nature Reserve and the Grow Native! Web site to learn more about native plants and their importance.
John Hoskins, director
Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Arleasha Mays
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Ruby
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler