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Benedictines attend native plants seminar

Benedictines attend native plants seminar - (16-04-2018)

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Photo: Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Cheryl Morehead (left) and Nancy Rose Gucwa enjoyed exploring plant options at a recent workshop hosted by Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville.

On what was appropriately dubbed National Gardening Day, native plants was the topic of discussion at a recent workshop four members of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration attended on April 14 hosted by Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville.

“Plants with a Purpose: Native Plants in Gardens and Landscapes” offered practical tips on improving the health of yards and landscaping, the diversity of area pollinators and the importance of their survival, how to develop a sustainable prairie garden, managing good soil practices and learning the benefits of using native plants.

Attending the event were Sister Sean Douglas, OSB, and Sister Cheryl Morehead, OSB who have spent years cultivating native prairie grasses on the monastery’s grounds, along with acres of green spaces. Sister Ruth Elaine Starman, OSB, and Sister Nancy Rose Gucwa, OSB were intrigued by the panel discussion on native pollinators since the two serve as the congregation’s beekeepers.

“We are looking for ways to improve our understanding and practice of good stewardship in regard to native flowers, trees and other plants,” Sister Cheryl said. “More specifically, how we can provide the pollinators who migrate through our area with the best food supply so they can continue to do what they do best: pollinate. We also want to have a food supply for our own local bees, so they are not tempted to go elsewhere.” 

Speakers for the day included Dave Tylka, an educator, nature author and the first St. Louis Urban Biologist for the Missouri Conservation Department; Dr. Ed Spevak, director of the Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute for Native Pollinator Conservation; Scott Vogt, executive director of Dyck Arboretum of the Plains; Doug Peterson, regional soil health specialist for Missouri and Iowa; and Ruth Ferrand-Cox, an educator and volunteer naturalist at the Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center.

“It was a great event with wonderful, helpful speakers,” Sister Cheryl added. “The workshop gave us a lot of help in how to go about achieving our goals.”