Deb Babcock's gardening column appears Mondays in Steamboat Today.
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Although Steamboat Springs does not have a local chapter of the Colorado Native Plant Society, this organization offers some valuable benefits to local gardeners via newsletters, workshops, field trips and the Internet.
The society was founded in 1976 and is composed of volunteers who work with public and private organizations to promote the appreciation and conservation of native plants and the responsible use of these plants in gardening and restoration projects. Volunteers study Colorado’s native flora, especially rare plants, and the ecosystems that support them.
On the website, www.conps.org, you’ll find exquisite photos of the many plants that grow in Colorado including a slideshow of Colorado orchids, mountain wildflowers, foothills and plains wildflowers, semi-desert flowers in Colorado and more. With each photo is a description of the plant including its common and botanical name and its origins and history.
If you’re interested in working on a project, opportunities abound. There are several ongoing field studies and restoration projects you can get involved to help with and receive training.
Members also are invited to participate in field trips, which take place May through September with occasional winter trips. During 2012, the society hosted several field trips throughout the state exploring lichens.
The society also provides information on such topics as Ethics of Collecting Native Plants, Plant Species to Avoid and a Vegetative Key for Willows. Workshops also are offered on a variety of topics such as Plant Terminology, Wildflower Photography and Beginning Plant Identification.
In addition, the society awards grants to people seeking to research native plants and provides the results of the research in its bimonthly newsletter.
As you can see, there are many benefits offered by the Colorado Native Plant Society. Becoming a member is as easy as visiting the website and downloading the membership application. Dues range from $12 per year for students and seniors to $20 for individuals/$30 for couples to $300 for a lifetime membership.
If you’re interested in native plants in our beautiful state, it will be worth your time to check out the Colorado Native Plant Society.
Deb Babcock is a volunteer Master Gardener through the CSU Extension Routt County. Call 970-879-0825 with questions.