MDC Cape Nature Center to host annual Native Plant and Garden Seminar March 10

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – One of the most beneficial ways to help wildlife is to “go native” when planning landscaping, according to naturalists at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center. Because native plants can be difficult to find, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Cape Girardeau County Master Gardeners will host the thirteenth annual Native Plant & Garden Seminar Saturday, March 10, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the MDC Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center.

Native plants are indigenous to a given area, including plants that have developed or occur naturally in a specific area. Native plants will typically grow better in the geographic area they belong to and will help local native wildlife thrive. The Native Plant & Garden Seminar is designed to help well-intentioned gardeners and landscapers learn about native plants, including the benefits to wildlife, and to help them find plants to get started.

“This is a much-anticipated event in our area,” said Sara Turner, manager of the Cape Nature Center. “Each year we look forward to sharing ideas and connecting with fellow native plant enthusiasts.”

The Native Plant & Garden Seminar will feature several special sessions. Kevin Godsey, NCRS soil scientist, will discuss different types of soils in the local area, where they’re located and their condition. Jamie Koehler, Cape Nature Center’s assistant manager and master gardener, will teach about uses of plants and old time remedies before leading participants in making native plant based balms and infusions. Professor of Biology Dave Tylka will demonstrate how you can attract songbirds and hummingbirds to your yard using specific native plants, and MDC Community Forester Jennifer Behnken will lead a session on tree identification.

The last two sessions will be led by Donna Aufdenberg from the University of Missouri Extension office and Dena Biram and Mike Fiaona from the George O. White State Nursery. Aufdenberg will teach the basics of growing strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, as well as specific varieties that do well in Southeast Missouri. Biram and Fiaona will talk about the benefits of having native trees and shrubs, as well as which ones are best for the wildlife on your property.

“We are excited to host these experts and offer an opportunity for the public to meet and interact with them,” Turner said. “Sometimes all people need is a little bit of direction from the experts and they can turn around and create amazing habitat for themselves and local wildlife to enjoy.”

Native plant and garden product vendors, such as the Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, Forrest Keeling Nursery, and the Master Gardeners, will be available throughout the event. 

This event is free, but session seating is limited. Make reservations by calling (573)290-5218 before March 5. For more information about this and other nature programs at the Cape Nature Center, go online to