8 Days and Counting!

We’re only 8 days away from the start of the Fall Native Plant Sale, Birding & Pollinator Festival!

We’re hoping for beautiful weather!

We now have 4 speakers on our schedule. Chris Wilson, Director of the Audubon Conservation Ranching Program and Jake Davis of Prairiebird Pastures and owner of The Root Cellar, will give a joint talk about their partnership to preserve and improve grasslands and conserve grassland birds. Their efforts give local farmers and ranchers a market-based incentive to provide delicious Audubon Certified Grass-fed Beef. If you are a beef producer, be sure to catch their talk at 9 am. As an added bonus, they will be grilling burgers made from this delicious antibiotic- and hormone-free beef.

Doolittle Gardens and Prairie Hill Farms will be selling a wide variety of native plants. Hummingbird banding will commence at 11 am and kids’ activities will run all day. Four different guided walks will be offered.

Check our festival website at http://festivaleducation.com for more information.


More Information Booths and More Activities to Choose From at the Fall Native Plant Sale, Birding & Pollinator Festival.

The festival is four weeks away!! My how time flies!

Since my last entry, three more information booths have been added: Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Maramec Springs Park and the Bonebrake Nature Center. Susan Wrasmann will be staffing the Citizens’ Climate Lobby booth and will be able to talk with you about their group. They are sponsoring a 3 part film series on climate change, beginning August 22nd, that is open to the public. The first showing will be at 6:30 pm at the Phelps County Courthouse. Kendra Swee, the new Interpretive Services Coordinator for Maramec Springs Park, will have information about the park outside of St. James for our newcomers. She will also be able to talk about new programs that will be offered at Maramec Springs Park. The Bonebrake Center is located in Salem and is another valuable local resource for budding and current naturalists.

We will not be having a presentation on medicinal plants as previously advertised, but Colleen Smith will be happy to talk about some local medicinal plants at her Turtle Earth Healing and Arts booth and on her Medicinal Plants walk. Hamilton Native Outpost will not be participating in this year’s event due to a schedule conflict.

Prairie Hill Farm will be an additional native plant vendor this year. Between them and Doolittle Gardens, there will be a wide variety of wildflowers and grasses to choose from. Remember, the best selections go quickly, so be sure to do your shopping early that morning. Parking shuttles will start at 7:45 am and the festival opens at 8:00 am.

That’s all for now, folks! Check in again before September 7th!


Things Happen Unexpectedly

For those of you who tried to access the Fall Native Plant Sale, Birding & Pollinator Festival this afternoon, I apologize. I had an unexpected visit from “Murphy” at a most inopportune time while making some changes to the website. However, after a few hours work, the pages are restored.

I plan to add a page listing booth, activity, vendor and speaker locations in the next few weeks. There may still be some additions or subtractions, so check in periodically.

The festival is just over a month away (Saturday, September 7th), so mark your calendar if you haven’t already done so. Invite your friends to attend and have them check out our website at http://festivaleducation.com.

We’re Excited…

about this year’s Fall Native Plant Sale, Birding & Pollinator Festival! Our list of participating organizations has grown considerably and we now have three speakers and two food vendors. Four different guided walks will be offered during the festival: birding, wildflowers, nature photography and Missouri medicinal plants. As an added bonus, John and Nancy Cable will offer a tour of their 30 acre remnant tall grass prairie at 3:00 pm on September 7th.

Mitch Leachman, Executive Director of St. Louis Audubon, will give a talk entitled “How to Build Your Own Bird Sanctuary”. Sarah Havens of the Phelps County University of Missouri Extension will talk about invasive plants and will have samples to examine. Colleen Smith of Turtle Earth Healing and Arts will give a presentation on Missouri Medicinal Plants.

The Root Cellar will be grilling Audubon Certified Grass Fed Beef burgers and Chris Wilson, Director of the Audubon Conservation Ranching Program, will be available to talk about how to improve your forage and beef production. The Rolla Breakfast Rotary Club will have coffee, water and morning snacks to keep you hydrated and energized as you visit the booths and hike the trails.

Admission and parking are free. Take advantage of our two shuttle vans that will run from the I-44 and Hwy E commuter lot to Audubon Trails Nature Center. There will be a loading and unloading zone where you can store your purchases while enjoying the festival activities.

Check in often for further updates. We’ll post the schedule of events and a festival map in the next few weeks.

Festival Update

If you have already looked at the festival website, you might like to know that we have added some more organizations and an additional speaker.

The Rolla Bee Club will be present to answer questions about beekeeping and will be able to give you information about starting a hive of your own. Terry Osbourne, of Eagle Lake Organics, will set up a worm composting display and give a demonstration. There will be a booth with pollinator hotels on display, courtesy of the Phelps County Master Gardeners. Information about Stream Teams United and the Stream Team Program will be at the “Native Plants Protect Watersheds” booth. The Stream Teams participate in a lot of really neat and fun activities and always welcome new members. Be sure to check them out!

Sarah Havens will give a talk about invasive plants and will have plants for you to examine and get familiar with. Sarah is with our local University of Missouri Extension Office and I understand that her talk is very informative and helpful for native plant gardeners. Our schedule of events will be posted closer to the festival date.

Have a great summer and remember to check in often!


Plan on attending the Fall Native Plant Sale, Birding & Pollinator Festival at Audubon Trails Nature Center, 550 Meriweather Ct., Rolla, MO on September 7th, 2019! There will be lots of educational booths from nature and outdoors related organizations, birding, wildflower and nature photography walks, hummingbird banding, vendors and kids’ activities. Buy native plants from Doolittle Gardens!


After several revisions, it is time to release the Fall Native Plant Sale, Birding & Pollinator Festival website. There will be further additions and no doubt subtractions from the content over the next few weeks, but I’ll do my best to keep you informed as to what this event will have to offer to you, our visitor. Share this information with your family and friends. We will distribute green postcards around town with the title “Buy Plants from Doolittle Gardens” and a QR code that links to this website.

Hummingbird visiting a flower
Fall Native Plant Sale, Birding & Pollinator Festival

The Planning has Begun


The festival committee is hard at work planning for this year’s festival. We are extending invitations to even more nature and outdoor-related organizations to make this event better than ever.

Doolittle Gardens is our native plant vendor. Their plants always look great and grow very well. Ned’s Nesting Boxes and Nature Mugs by Jim Rathert will be selling birding and bird related items. They can take care of your birthday and Christmas gift lists! Check in often to see our vendor updates.

Mitch Leachman, Executive Director of St. Louis Audubon, will talk about the importance of native plants for pollinators. He will also speak about the “Bring Conservation Home” program developed by St. Louis Audubon. Mitch was scheduled to give a presentation last year, but the festival was rained out by the remnants of Tropical Storm Gabriel.

Max Alleger will talk about the Audubon Certified Grass-fed Beef program. If you aren’t already familiar with this program, be sure to hear his presentation! Max is employed by the Missouri Department of Conservation and has been working on grassland conservation and conserving grassland birds for many years. Our festival visitors may even be able to sample some of this truly delicious beef! More on this later.

There will be several activities to participate in during the day. Guided birding walks and wildflower walks will be offered, as well as a nature photography walk for our local shutterbugs. Lanny and Linda Chambers will once again do hummingbird banding. Kids’ activities include coloring for kids, face and stone painting.

Visitors may park in the I-44 commuter lot off Hwy. E and take one of our two shuttle vans to Audubon Trails. Limited parking is available along White Columns Drive and Meriweather Ct.

Be sure to mark September 7th on your calendar and tell your friends and family about this event!