By Laurie Scott.
Saturday morning, January 20, 2024, dawned bright and cold as Wild Ones Ozark chapter hosted our 2024 kick-off program with Eric Fuselier presenting Native Plant Gardening 101 at the Fayetteville Library. The below-freezing temperatures didn’t seem to keep people from dreaming of thoughts of spring plantings, insects emerging, and birds wheeling against a blue sky. An eager-to-learn 64 people joined Board members and Officers as we started the 2024 programming season!
Eric began the presentation with defining native plants and their importance within an ecosystem, as well as describing ways that a native plant can be a workhorse in helping fix landscape issues in a home environment. The presentation gave an overview of the different types of native plant gardening, as well as showing attendees how to decide what plant would work best in each type of environment. An example might be utilizing Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata sub. incarnata, in moist, full-sun areas of the yard, while planting Purple Milkweed, Asclepias purpurascens, in shady spaces of the yard.
The presentation also drew attendees further into the program by highlighting wildlife that also benefit from native flowering plants, grasses, shrubs and trees alike. If you are an avid birder, then planting native is right up your alley and we encourage you to come join us in February as we learn about the Diana Fritillary and our state butterfly’s habitat needs and life cycle and challenges the Diana faces. Please join Wild Ones Ozark Chapter and Shawn Hunter from the Diana Project on February 24, 1 – 3 pm, at the Fayetteville Library!
Laurie Scott, Vice President of Wild Ones Ozark Chapter, is the Lab Coordinator and Land Manager in the Science Department at Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC). At NWACC, Laurie maintains the native plant beds and greenhouse; coordinates seed collection, cleaning, stratification, and germination of native plants propagated on the NWACC campus; and maintains the Outdoor Living Laboratory, which contains a marsh, a pond, and a Post Oak Savanna remnant that is currently being restored. Laurie is also on the steering committee for the Arkansas Monarch and Pollinator Partnership (AMCP), where she co-chairs the Monitoring and Research committee for AMCP and is an active member of AMCP’s Education and Outreach committee. Laurie is also an Arkansas Master Naturalist as well as a member of Quail Forever.