I enjoyed the article describing Frances Mathews’ and her friends’ efforts to promote foraging for edible wild plants [Eat Your Weedies; October]. Her Wild Ones group should not be confused with the national organization, Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes, or its St. Louis chapter, both of which go by the shorter name of Wild Ones. Our mission is to promote the use of native plants in landscaping.
In cooler months the St. Louis chapter often holds its monthly meetings at Powder Valley. Warmer months find us meeting in members’ yards or public spaces that incorporate natives in their landscapes. Plantings we create in our yards, or help create in public spaces, provide habitat for insects, birds and other wildlife.
In 2010, the St. Louis chapter was awarded the Grow Native! Ambassador Award “in recognition of a generous commitment of its members’ time, talent and ongoing effort to promote the use of native plants in home landscapes.”
Ed Schmidt, president
St. Louis Chapter of Wild Ones
I was interested to read your “Agent Notes” [September] on collection of plants along roadsides. I thought a response was necessary, as the information that you provide is not quite accurate.
The pertinent section of the Missouri statutes is 171.6, RDS(E7): Plant Collection from Right of Way: “No person shall dig or remove any plants or plant parts from any real property of the Commission or the right of way of any state highway or roadway without permission. Special permits covering the collection of plants and plant parts from highway rights of way may be issued by MoDOT. Provided that such plants or plant parts are not offered for sale, the collection of seeds, fruits, nuts, berries, edible wild greens or flowering parts of plants, or the occasional collection of plants for the purposes of scientific research or education may be permitted.”
You will note that the law specifically regulates digging up of wild plants, not removal of the above-ground portions. In fact, it is entirely legal for citizens to pick wildflowers along public rights-of-way, as long as doing so is not counter to other special regulations for a particular roadside. This came about not to restrict the public’s enjoyment of roadside plants, but as a way to control the rampant excavation of cone flowers and a few other herbs from roadsides for commercial sale.
George Yatskievych, Ph.D.
Curator, Director–Flora of Missouri Project
Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
Ombudsman’s note: Dr. Yatskievych is correct that the state law does not prevent the picking of roadside wildflowers as long as it is not done for commercial purposes.—Tim Smith
Seven years ago, my deaf son had the once-ina- lifetime opportunity to attend MDC’s Deer Camp [The Deer Camp Kids; October]. I told my husband ”one of us has to go.” I was the chosen one, lucky me.
What an outdoors opportunity for both of us! The commitment and mentorship of the MDC agents and Boys Scouts of America’s H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation volunteers were astounding. My son and I share many outdoor adventures now; it’s our special time together.
He, too, is sharing the whole outdoor experience with his younger twin sisters. Now we can mentor a new generation in Missouri’s great outdoors. Thanks for a lifelong adventure.
Sheri Cerame, Florissant
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