Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund applications due Feb. 1
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin endowment fund helps protect Wisconsin’s floral gems
Hairy beardtongue. Small flowered grass-of-Parnassus. Zigzag bladderwort. These are just three mythical-sounding plants of more than 300 rare plants in Wisconsin that could get a boost in status thanks to the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund, managed by the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. The fund supports the restoration, monitoring, inventorying and preservation of rare plant species in Wisconsin.
“We are fortunate in Wisconsin to have such diversity in rare plants,” said Jim Bennett, a botanist and Foundation board member who created the fund in 2006. “By their very nature, rare plants need our help to ensure they don’t disappear forever. My hope with this fund is that someday these important organisms are no longer rare—or that we have a better idea of how to preserve them.”
Over the past few years, the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund has supported research on the demography and preservation of the federally threatened dune thistle (Cirsium pitcher) in Door County, woolly milkweed (Asclepias lanuginosa) surveys, and most recently a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website on the state’s rare lichens. The new lichen website provides natural resources professionals and the general public educational tools to learn about—and help conserve—lichens. Applications for 2016 funding are due Feb. 1 and can be in support of any of Wisconsin’s rare plants, from rare lichen all the way up to rare trees, Bennett said.
“Our native plants provide the foundation on which so many of our insects, birds and other wildlife depend for their survival, and make up the living fabric of our wetlands, savannas, woodlands and prairies,” said Camille Zanoni, Foundation development director. “The Foundation is deeply grateful to Mr. Bennett for helping to ensure the future conservation of Wisconsin’s native plants and natural communities through this endowed fund.”
Applicants must demonstrate their project focuses on a rare plant in the state. Applications are welcome from state agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. To apply, visit WisConservation.org, or contact Caitlin Williamson, Foundation program and development coordinator, at [email protected].
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Photo: Azure bluets (Houstonia caerulea), are a Wisconsin Special Concern Plant found in dry prairies and woodlands and damp meadows. (Photo by Fyn Kynd Photography, via Flickr)
The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s most imperiled species and public lands, while helping citizens connect with our state’s unique natural places. Learn more at www.WisConservation.org.
Lindsay Renick Mayer
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin