Native Plant Research and Conservation
Because the increased interest in native plants in landscaping and conservation during the past decade, researchers at the University of Missouri initiated projects to evaluate the potential use of native plants as living mulches, forage, landscaping and conservation to provide food and cover for wildlife (Research projects).
Results of experimental trials are demonstrated during field days throughout the year (Outreach and Education Projects). By informing the public about the importance of growing native plants, we expect to increase the demand for native plants which can create opportunities for small farmers.
During plant inventories conducted since 2004, more than 150 native plant species have been identified in upland prairie and swale prairie remnants and different types of native plant gardens are being established since 2005 (Naturescaping).
This plant diversity, the presence of several ponds, crop fields and other open space provides habitat for more than 175 migratory and resident birds. Columbia Audubon conducts monthly bird surveys to monitor bird populations.
In Missouri, the interest for native plants increased significantly since the creation of the Grow Native! Program, a joint effort between the Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri Department of Agriculture which helps to protect and restore biodiversity by increasing conservation awareness and the use of native plants.
Native plant research is still very limited or is not easily accessible. To facilitate and to identify need for native plant research, we are creating the ‘Native Plant Research and Conservation Center’. The main goal is to centralize information including formal and applied research to make it available for those interested in native plants such as students, farmers, homeowners and native plant enthusiasts. For more information on research conducted at Bradford, check Research link on main page.
In 2011 we will offer the Native Plant Sale April 9th and the Native Plant Field Day June 16th.
We encourage neighbor farmers, landowners, and anyone living near Bradford to visit us anytime of the year. If your group or school is interested in a tour or need advice on how to establish native plant gardens, please contact Nadia Navarrete-Tindall.