St. Louis Men Help Botanical Garden

by Charlie Raiser '69

November 2, 2005

In Saint Louis, our WABASH Day celebration was small, but enjoyable and rewarding. The Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution of international reputation, accepted our offer of volunteer hours, knowing our numbers might be small.  They assigned us to a seasonal project at Shaw’s Nature Reserve, a 2,400 acre facility about 30 miles from St. Louis that is operated by the Garden.

At the Reserve, they have been restoring a tall grass prairie, and in the fall, this involves collecting seeds as they ripen on the various prairie plants.

Mike Kelley ‘70, Jim Thomas ‘73, and Charlie Raiser ‘69 met Dr. James Treager of the Garden’s staff and received brief instruction in how to identify and collect seed from Bidens polylepis, a type of sunflower, and then they went to work. Later, the group collected prairie blazing star, prairie dropseed, and boneset. After a break for lunch, they collected little bluestem seeds during the afternoon session. Everyone enjoyed learning about some native prairie plants in the beautiful October weather, and Dr. Treager expressed satisfaction with both the quantity and the quality of the collecting effort.

Both the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis area participants in this year’s WABASH Day celebration are interested in reprising the activity should WABASH Day become an annual event. With a bit more preparation here, participation could be expanded; we could collect more seeds; enjoyment could be multiplied.


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