Ap­ply for a Na­tive Plant So­ci­ety grant; en­rich your en­vi­ron­ment

The Taos News - - HOME AND GARDEN - By Tom Ste­wart and Jan Marten­son

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, mul­ti­skilled 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.

Photo by Al Sch­nei­der

Com­mon sun­flower, Helianthus an­nuus, with pol­li­na­tor.

Photo by Al Sch­nei­der

Tamarisk, aka salt cedar, Ta­marix chi­nen­sis. Sev­eral species were in­tro­duced hun­dreds of years ago and proved to be in­vaders that clog wa­ter­ways and crowd out na­tive plant species.

NMSU, Trou­ble­some Weeds of New Mex­ico

Ravenna grass, aka hardy pam­pas grass, Sac­cha­rum raven­nae, is a hor­ti­cul­tural es­capee. Now clas­si­fied as a nox­ious weed, it in­vades marshes, ri­par­ian zones, ditches.

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