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Published on: Aug. 29, 2011

Phil Koenig and Lindsay Firth Catching Butterflies

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Advice and restoration information from individual Foundation members has helped introduce others to prairie, including Rudi Roeslein of St. Louis, now a Foundation board member and an avid prairie restorationist. “I think my life used to be a lot simpler before my prairie love affair started and invaded my waking and sleeping hours with plans on how to save and restore it,” said Roeslein. “We can never completely reconstruct a real prairie but make a facsimile. That is why the Foundation’s work to conserve original prairie is so critical in giving us the benchmark of what we have to shoot for and what we need to preserve. My prairie restoration work has been a hopeful journey that has made my life richer.”

The Foundation’s now annual Prairie BioBlitz brings biologists and prairie enthusiasts together for a weekend of intense prairie nature study, species discovery and inventory, camping and fun. “The Foundation’s BioBlitz at Golden Prairie this past June was the best outdoor event I have attended in 20 years,” said Barbara Van Vleck, a Foundation member and a Missouri Master Naturalist from Kansas City. “The event provided expert instructors whose enthusiasm was inspiring as we surveyed the biodiversity found on Golden Prairie. We hear a lot about the ecosystems of forests and deserts, but I was amazed to see first-hand the wonders of Missouri’s prairies full of wildflowers and swaying grasses, teeming with colorful wildlife and beautiful birds such as the scissor-tailed flycatcher and the bright song of the dickcissel. I am a new member of the Foundation, and look forward to helping to preserve and conserve these jewels of Missouri for the enjoyment of future generations.”

When Crawford looks back at the past 45 years, his pride in the organization is obvious. “Although there is much prairie conservation work to be done by all prairie partners in the state, the Foundation has done what it set out to do,” said Crawford. “It created an awareness of the importance of prairie among citizens and continues to do so to this day. I’m proud to be a member and I invite others to join me.”

For more information about the Missouri Prairie Foundation or to become a member, visit, send a message to, or call 888-843-6739

Why Prairie Matters

  • Temperate grasslands of the world, including Missouri’s remaining tallgrass prairies, are the most endangered and least conserved of any major terrestrial habitat on earth. Missouri’s remaining prairies are stunning in their ecological wealth and complexity, and they, and all their components, are ours to conserve for the benefit of future generations.
  • In addition to their immeasurable beauty, Missouri’s prairie provides habitat for hundreds of native plant species, thousands of invertebrates (including as many as 400 different pollinating insects) and dozens of vertebrate animals.
  • Prairie plant roots, some growing as deep as 15 feet, build and anchor rich soil.
  • One acre of prairie can store at least 1 ton of carbon every year. (University of Minnesota)
  • According to research at the University of Iowa, 1 acre of established prairie can produce 24,000 pounds of roots.
  • Prairie can absorb a large volume of rainfall before runoff occurs, thereby naturally filtering water, protecting streams from flood events and helping to recharge precious groundwater supplies.

Trying to recreate the environmental services that prairies provide would be prohibitively expensive—and not nearly as biologically diverse.

October 8, 2011—An Evening on the Prairie

In conjunction with the Town of Cole Camp’s annual Oktoberfest and Prairie Day, the Missouri Prairie Foundation and Hi Lonesome Chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalists will host an Evening on the Prairie at a 400-acre private prairie just outside of town. All are welcome to participate in this free event! Afternoon wagon tours of the prairie and demonstration of bird mist netting will be followed by a complimentary reception, live music from Prairie Strings of Columbia and star gazing. For full details, and to RSVP, visit

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