May 8th kicked off the Watershed Natives Spring Sale at the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds. The Watershed Committee of the Ozarks Watershed Natives hosted one of the many Missouri Prairie Foundation’s GrowNative! Plant sales that have been going on through-out the state. These GrowNative! sales showcase native growers from around the state. This sale included Missouri Wildflowers, Gaylena’s Garden, and Ozark Soul.
Hundreds of native plants including 120 trees, 52 shrubs, 184 wildflowers found their way into 61 new families. Sale favorites were Flowering Dogwood, Eastern Redbud, Tulip Poplar, White Fringetree, New England Aster, and Ohio Spiderwort.
At the heart of the Watershed Natives program is the partnership with Hillcrest High School and the College and Career Pathways and Future Farmers programs. Students in these programs play a huge roll in every aspect of getting the trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses ready for plant sales. They learn how to germinate, care, and carry out day-to-day operations of a greenhouse. In the week leading up to the sale students helped pot wildflower plugs, tag plants, and pull orders for the sale. These activities associated with plant production, greenhouse operations, agriculture, and soil health are integral parts of the FFA and Environmental & Natural Resource Management College and Career programs with Springfield Public Schools.
The ongoing three-way collaboration between Ozark Empire Fairgrounds, Springfield Public Schools and Watershed Committee of the Ozarks has the potential to reach a much larger audience through your continued support. Watershed Committee was awarded grant funding from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks and the Darr Family Foundation to help get the program off the ground and growing.
These sales are vital for getting natives into the hands of homeowners, but also continuing the significant part of our education and outreach efforts. Any income generated from the sale of the native plants goes back into the program to support our education and outreach efforts. Additionally, plants produced by the program are used in restoration efforts throughout the region. This has the added benefits of protecting our water and providing important habitat for our wildlife.
The next sale Watershed Natives will be participate in is Saturday, May 29th at Mother’s Brewery Company, 215 S Grant Ave, Springfield MO 65806. This sale is from 2pm- 6pm and is a walk-through buy on site. All guests are required to follow local public health guidelines, and are encouraged to stay distanced from those not in their party and wear a mask. For more information http://moprairie.org/event/springfield-native-plant-sale-3/