Pioneer Cemeteries and Native Plant Diversity Workshop
Saturday, June 15, 11:00 a.m., Pullman, Washington (RSVP by June 10)
Pioneer cemeteries, such as Whelan Pioneer Cemetery in Whitman County, are of great importance to native plant conservation. For example, Whelan Pioneer Cemetery was formally established in 1888 but it was in use as a burying ground before that. When huge acreages of Palouse Prairie were going under the plow, Whelan Pioneer Cemetery was set aside and left alone, except for a few plantings of iris and lilac near the old graves. Today, this cemetery is an important prairie relic that is a snapshot of the amazing species diversity that once was widespread across native Palouse prairie grasslands.

The Palouse Prairie Foundation and the White Pine Chapter of the Idaho Native Plant Society are sponsoring a program on the importance of Whelan Pioneer Cemetery, historically and botanically. This program will start at the home of Joan Folwell, where Pamela Brunsfeld, retired Stillinger Herbarium curator and Systematic Botany instructor, will give a synopsis about the history and the diversity of native species that are still found at Whelan Pioneer Cemetery today. Following the talk and a provided lunch, we will go to Whelan Pioneer Cemetery for two hours. Participants will be divided into two groups. Pam will lead a botany foray with one group to identify native Palouse Prairie species there, including the very rare Palouse thistle, for an hour while the other group will take part in the third annual Weeding Party to eliminate the weeds which are a threat to the prairie remnant. The groups will be switched for the second hour. Wear sturdy shoes or boots and long pants to protect yourself from insects and scratches. Sunscreen and hats and gloves are recommended.

If you will be attending please let us know by June 10 by commenting through the comment form through the Palouse Prairie Foundation web page. We will let you know the location of the meeting (at a private residence just outside of Pullman).