The pollinator garden at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Education Center has been submitted for a “landscaping with natural plants” award by the Kansas Native Plant Society.
The garden, planted in May 2013 as a joint effort by KDWPT, Pratt County Conservation District and K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners, is one reason the society chose Pratt as the site of its 2014 Annual Wildflower Weekend in September. Another reason for the selection is based on the theme: “Comparison of Plants in the High Plains and Red Hills Ecosystems in Kansas.”
Pratt is located in the High Plains area, and close to the Red Hills in Barber County. Pratt has the amenities, according to coordinator Phyllis Sherich. Meeting and conference activities will be held at Pratt Community College. The cafeteria is an advantage — convenient, reasonable in price and good food, she said. Several hotels are nearby and motels are not far away.
The annual event is moved around to different parts of the state to provide accessibility to members and also to allow them to view wildflowers in various areas. Anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of membership in the society, although members get a price break on the registration fee.
Activities begin on Friday, Sept. 19, with a meeting of the board of directors, followed by a visit to the garden at KDWPT. One or more buses will take attendees to Sun City for an evening meal and a tour of the “city.”
Saturday’s business meeting includes elections, awards and the always popular silent auction and photo contest.
Special presentations will be given by Iralee Barnard, author of “A Pocket Guide to Kansas Flint Hills Wildflowers and Grasses” and “Field Guide to the Common Grasses of Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska,” and Craig Freeman, who will give an overview of his work on the plant genus penstemon for the Flora of North America Project.
Saturday’s bus tour is to the Red Hills to view areas not usually open to the public. Two stops are being planned. Dinner will be at the Club d’Est.
Sunday’s tour will include a stop at the Hamm Prairie and another stop near Pratt.
Final plans for tours are still being made. The society newsletter notes, “this part of Kansas has far more unique and interesting sites than we can possibly see in our three-day stay.”