Wonderful world of native plants

Apply for a Native Plant Society grant; enrich your environment

By Tom Stewart and Jan Martenson
For The Taos News
Posted 11/7/18

The subject is money. Relax, it's not about yours but about the grants awarded by the Native Plant Society of New Mexico from the Jack and Martha Carter Conservation Fund. Thanks to generous donations …

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Wonderful world of native plants

Apply for a Native Plant Society grant; enrich your environment

Posted

The subject is money.

Relax, it's not about yours but about the grants awarded by the Native Plant Society of New Mexico from the Jack and Martha Carter Conservation Fund. Thanks to generous donations by many lovers of native plants in recent years and some sound investments, the fund has lately allowed us to support many worthwhile efforts that are compatible with our mission on the basis of yearly revenues. The principal sum is left untouched.

One important thing the plant society board does during its winter meeting is sort through proposals and select appropriate projects to assist with amounts of up to $1,500 each. A report from grantees after the year of funding helps us learn how to evaluate the most promising kinds of applications ahead of time.

They must fit into our mission goals of conservation and restoration of natural habitats, botanical research and education of the public (especially the youth) about native plants, their value, and their appropriate uses.

Projects recently supported

Here are a few of the projects we have supported with grants in the last two years:

• The removal of tamarisk trees from the Gila River within the wilderness area;

• Nonchemical eradication of exotic Ravenna grass from an area of the Río Grande bosque;

• Habitat restoration at the New Mexico Wildlife Center using volunteers from Master Gardeners;

• Giving hands-on, multi-skilled experience to elementary school children as they learn about the yucca and its life cycle;

• Analyzing a backlog of herbarium specimens from New Mexico, with one result being the discovery of a species not previously reported from our state;

• Training and employing Pueblo youth in the recognition, collection and processing of native plant seeds, contributing to the National Seed Strategy;

• Repeating a 1970s field study of bees pollinating wild sunflowers to document changes in bee species composition in the same areas over time;

• A floral study of the Sabinoso Wilderness in Northern New Mexico, developing baseline data in an area that was only recently opened to the public;

• A study of how grassland restoration practices affect desert soils;

• The first printing of the New Mexico native plant curriculum, "From Ponderosa to Pricklypear" (Institute for Applied Ecology), supplied to interested high school science teachers at no charge. It can also be downloaded from the website: npsnm.org/from-ponderosa-to-prickly-pear/

Equally important is an annual contribution by the society to the five college and university herbaria in our area, those often underappreciated storehouses of historic and contemporary botanical specimens of incalculable value to education, training, identification and research.

Who can apply for these grants?

Must applicants be renowned institutions or people with a doctorate? No.

Our grants have gone to community groups, small schools, independent botanists, managers of preserves, professors, grad students, and a few larger organizations. Requests range from less than $300 to $1,500, and a reasonable, line-item budget is required with the application. In this age of multi-billion-dollar grants for subatomic particle gear, these amounts may seem puny, but they have been all it took to bring a lot of great ideas into reality.

We ask that good-quality proposals be submitted before the deadline of Dec. 31. Successful applicants will be notified in February 2019. Please find more information on the NPSNM website under Funding & Grants/NPS Sponsored Grants and Donations (npsnm.org/nps-sponsored-grants-donations/). And yes, please donate if you wish. With support from kind people like you, our grant amounts can increase in the future.

Taos Chapter grants

In addition to the state-sponsored grants, both the Taos and Otero chapters of the native plant society offer their own grants. Our Taos grants are $250 and are offered to local educators to ignite their students' love and appreciation of botany and plants in their environment. The deadline for the next grant cycle is March 31, 2019. Funds granted must be used by the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Next month we will present more information in this column about the grant application procedure, or find it here: npsnm.org/about/chapters/taos/

Science Teacher award

This annual award recognizes grade 6-12 science teachers who incorporate teaching about plants, plant science or native plants in effective and inspiring ways. A one-time award of $500 will be granted to the teacher. Additionally, the award recipient will receive one free teacher copy and one free classroom copy of Jack Carter's book, "Trees and Shrubs of New Mexico," as well as a copy of "From Ponderosa to Prickly Pear," a curriculum developed by the Institute for Applied Ecology focusing specifically on Native Plants of New Mexico.

An application for the award can be filled out online at npsnm.org/education/science-teacher-award-2018. The deadline is December 31, 2018.

How to contact us

This column is printed every second Thursday of the month. For questions or suggestions, contact us at TaosNPS@gmail.com or call (575) 751-0511. Get in on the fun and support the education and outreach efforts of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico by joining npsnm.org/about/join/ Be sure to select Taos as your chapter affiliation

Stewart is the president of the Native Plant Society of New Mexico. Martenson is the president of the Taos Chapter/NPSNM and a member of the board of NPSNM.

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