Putting Down Roots at Discovery Center

By Beacon Staff

After meeting in Kalispell for the past 20 years, the Flathead Chapter of the Montana Native Plant Society is moving to Glacier Discovery Square in Columbia Falls.

There, the plant society, in partnership with the First Best Place Task Force, will be designing several planting beds at Discovery Square, creating gardens to showcase a variety of native growing zones, which will be used as educational tools for their group, as well as other organizations throughout the valley.

To kick off the group’s fall programming, Glacier Park botanist Jen Hintz will present a slide show on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m., taking participants on a virtual tour through moist forest, prairie, and alpine habitats to see their favorite flowers. A general membership meeting starts before the main presentation at 5:30 p.m., and is also open to the public.

The goals of the Montana Native Plant Society are to preserve, conserve, and study the native plants and plant communities of Montana, and to educate the public about the values of our native flora. Over the years, the Flathead Chapter has sponsored monthly educational programs, held workshops on native plant landscaping and identification, led field trips, secured protection for endangered plants, started native plant gardens, including one at FVCC, helped eradicate weeds on public lands, produced literature on gardening with natives, and sponsored a station at Flathead Forestry Expo.

Events later this winter will be on the third Wednesday of each month:
Dec. 17 – Christmas Party at Mary and Gary Sloan’s
Jan. 21 – planning meeting
Feb. 18 – Flathead National Forest botanist Kay Izlar lecture about whitebark pine
March 18 – Terry Divoky of Windflower Native Nursery will be heading up a panel with tips on gardening with native plants
April 21 – plant family identification workshop

Other than the Christmas party, all events will be at Discovery Square. Field trips will start up in May. All events and programs are free and open to the public. Use the NW door of the Glacier Discovery Square Building, 540 Nucleus Avenue, Columbia Falls.