partners to achieve this.” A prairie landowner himself, Parrish spends many volunteer hours conducting controlled burns and keeping a close eye on many Foundation-owned prairies.
Pooling Prairie Resources
The Foundation’s partnerships with other conservation groups and private landowners enable the restoration, management and protection of prairie on a larger scale than any one group or individual could accomplish alone. The Foundation generates enthusiasm among landowners to improve prairie habitat, shares technical knowledge with them and leverages funding for restoration work by serving as a grantee or grant partner on many projects.
Private prairie in the Mystic Plains COA in northeastern Missouri has benefited from one such recent partnership. In 2010, the Foundation completed a three-year $70,000 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore native prairie and manage grasslands in Adair and Sullivan counties, partnering with the Department of Conservation and private landowners to improve more than 2,000 acres through elimination of woody cover, fence removal, hay field resting, prescribed fire assistance and invasive species control. The Foundation, private landowners and the Department of Conservation also provided funding, bringing the total sum for grassland management and restoration to $110,000. The work resulted in greater prairie species diversity, expanded open vistas and more continuous habitat needed by grassland birds and other wildlife—for less than $55 an acre.
“I have a great relationship with the Missouri Prairie Foundation,” said John Murphy, private land conservationist with the Department in Adair and Sullivan counties. “It’s like a car dealership. Foundation members are out on the showroom floor, drumming up interest among private landowners in prairie conservation. Then the landowners come to me and we talk about financing and how to get it done.”
Engaging Future Prairie Stewards
The vision statement of the Foundation “is to awaken and engage the passion of others to protect and restore native grassland communities, for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.” Its board members, staff and members go about encouraging the prairie spark in many ways.
Since its founding, the Foundation has organized and promoted prairie symposia, seed collecting workshops, hikes, prairie campouts and prairie and glade restoration workdays; sponsored lectures and photography exhibits; and continues to host numerous prairie-related events throughout the year. It also publishes the Missouri Prairie Journal, a periodical providing detailed articles on prairie management and biodiversity, beautiful photography, and a new section this year, Steve Clubine’s Native Warm-Season Grass