Carol Elaine Davit

Executive Director
Missouri Prairie Foundation
About the Speaker

As executive director for the Missouri Prairie Foundation, Carol Davit oversees fundraising, strategic planning, communications, advocacy, the Grow Native! program, and administration, and has also edited the Missouri Prairie Journalsince 1996. Davit has worked for more than 20 years in the conservation and environmental fields in communications, development, administration, and leadership capacities. She has worked for private, nonprofit conservation groups and in municipal and state government. She is the chair of the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s Grasslands Committee and of the MPF’s/Grow Native! Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force. Davit has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in interdisciplinary studies.

Why Prairie Matters: New Relevancies of a Vanishing Landscape

At the time of statehood, at least 15 million acres of tallgrass prairie blanketed Missouri—about a third of the state. Missouri’s prairie was part of the great North American prairie ecosystem that stretched from Ohio to the Rockies, north into Canada, and south to Mexico. Today, there are fewer than 60,000 scattered prairie acres remaining in the state. Missouri’s prairie remnants have inherent value, but they also serve us by providing carbon storage, water filtration, pollination, and other measurable benefits. This presentation focuses on the history, beauty, and conservation of Missouri’s prairies, and on facets of a new “tallgrass prairie economy,” which uses an ancient ecosystem as a model for new, sustainable landscapes that benefit people in many ways.

Benefits of Native Plants to Missouri Communities

Missouri’s native plants provide more than habitat for wildlife in undeveloped parts of our state. Incorporated into plantings, they also provide many benefits to cities large and small, including stormwater management, pollinator habitat, and beautification. This presentation delves into the many reasons why, to improve human quality of life and make municipalities function better, we must draw upon the botanical wealth of our state and incorporate native plants into the places where we live, work, and do business.