West TN Rare Plant Meeting
The West TN Rare Plant Meeting took place at Pinecrest Camp in Fayette County on September 13, 2023. In attendance were 30 people from 14 different federal and state agencies, nonprofits, universities, and individual volunteers. Similar to the East TN Rare Plant Meeting in August, the purpose was to get input from botanists, biologists, naturalists, etc. that have a familiarity with rare plant needs of the West TN region and discuss more concrete steps on how to begin addressing those needs. We discussed 22 different project needs and designated next steps for each one. The spreadsheet linked below is a summary of our discussions.
There were a few common themes in the meeting:
-the need to update historic occurrences (occurrences that have not been observed for 20+ years). Such a project is great for an interested volunteer (visit this page to learn how to get involved)
-expand land protection efforts, e.g. via conservation easements, direct purchases by state agencies
-seed collection of vulnerable populations
A couple of the projects make for great larger group activities that would not only yield valuable data, but also be enjoyable for experts and novices alike. These include float trips at Reelfoot Lake to search for Ranunculus flebellaris, Ranunculus aquatilis, and Sagittaria platyphylla. The second would be a bioblitz type of event at Big Hill Pond State Park. The main purpose would be to search for Silene ovata, but would also be an opportunity to search for other rare plant occurrences.