The Missouri Prairie Foundation and its Grow Native! program recognizes “outstanding efforts to conserve prairie and to use and promote native plants” by awarding efforts by individuals around the state. This year, there were 18 awardees.
From the Missouri Prairie Foundation December news release:
In 2015, the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) recognized three individuals for their excellence in prairie conservation at its annual awards presentation, held this year on October 10 in Cole Camp, MO. Additionally, in recognition of the 15th anniversary of its Grow Native! program, MPF bestowed 15 awards to native plant pioneers at the MPF Annual Dinner in Unity Village, MO on November 6, 2015.
The 2015 awardees are:
• Missouri Prairie Foundation Bill T. Crawford Prairie Professional of the Year: Randy Haas, of Joplin, MO, for his outstanding work to promote and conserve prairies through his long career with the Missouri Department of Conservation.
• Missouri Prairie Foundation Donald M. Christisen Prairie Volunteer of the Year: Lance Jessee of Kansas City, MO, for his volunteer efforts on behalf of prairie, which include seed collection, native plant sale assistance, and Mead’s milkweed research.
• Missouri Prairie Foundation Clair M. Kucera Landowner of the Year: Glen D. Wilson of Joplin, MO for the continued protection of the hundreds of acres of prairie he and his family own in Newton County.
• Grow Native! Native Plant Pioneers recognized for their decades of work to educate about, promote, and cultivate native plants are: Steve Clubine of Windsor, MO; Bill and Joyce Davit of Washington, MO; the late Edgar Denison of Kirkwood, MO; Henry Eilers of Litchfield, IL; the late Cindy Gilberg of St. Louis, MO; Rex and Amy Hamilton of Elk Creek, MO; Greg Hoss of Rolla, MO; Wayne Lovelace of Elsberry, MO; Frank Oberle of Novinger, MO; the late Carl Settergren of Columbia, MO; Tom Toney of Piedmont, MO; Dave Tylka of St. Louis, MO; Mervin Wallace of Brazito, MO; the late John Wylie of Jefferson City, MO; Dr. George Yatskievych, of Austin, TX.
Tallgrass prairie once covered 15 million acres of Missouri, but today, there are fewer than an estimated 70,000 acres remaining. The hard work of prairie professionals, prairie landowners, and volunteers is critical to conserving and promoting what is left. Plants native to our prairies and other natural communities are now gaining increased acceptance for use in landscaping, stormwater control, water quality, forage, and other uses because of their beauty, resilience, livestock nutrition, and crucial importance for supporting pollinators and wildlife.
The nonprofit Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) owns and manages more than 3,000 acres of prairie in Missouri, and through partnerships with public agencies and private individuals, has helped conserve thousands of additional acres. MPF also runs the Grow Native! native plant education and marketing program. MPF receives support from its 1,900 members and other groups, and invites all to join the effort to conserve the state’s remaining prairie.
A PDF of the Grow Native! 15th Anniversary booklet can be viewed by clicking on link below.