line drawing of western larch Clark Fork Chapter


The Clark Fork Chapter serves the greater Missoula Area and west-central Montana.  

For more information check the Chapter Facebook Page, which has field trip details and maps and photos, more on the UM Native Plant Garden, and so on; it's really the best up-to-the-minute info we have; or contact one of our co-presidents:

Anne Garde

329 S. 4th West

Missoula MT 59801

Madeline Mazurski

5278 Elk Ridge Drive

Missoula MT 59802


Project Budburst Information is at the bottom of the page

Interested in Native Plant Landscaping in our area? Click here
Here is a link to a page featuring the UM Native Plant Garden

Programs (Held 2nd Thursday of the month (with exceptions), Field Trips, and Events. 

  • *April 9, Wednesday 6:30 pm: Waterworks Hill Wildflower Loop Hold on to your hats for this wind-swept ridge walk. Enjoy a spring hike to see early spring bloomers such as Douglasia montana, Dodecatheon, Clarkia pulchellum, and Fritillaria pudica. Meet at the Waterworks trailhead on Greenough Dr. just north of Vine St. See for map and details. Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

  • *May 7, Wednesday 6:30 pm: Waterworks Hill Wildflower Loop Help celebrate National Wildflower Week and enjoy another look at Waterworks Hill to see later spring-blooming flowers such as the rare Missoula phlox (Phlox missouliensis) and the treasured bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva). Meet at the Waterworks trailhead on Greenough Dr. just north of Vine St. See for map and details. Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

  • Early May, TBA Mt. Sentinel Budburst Botanist Michael Krebs will show us which flowers and leaves appear first on Mt Sentinel this year. Hiking up the Evans Street Trail to the fire road, we’ll see as many as 130 different species of plants. If there is interest, we’ll hike a loop that goes up to the forest patch within 500' of the summit.  We’ll document the progress of spring as part of a long-term study which is incorporated into Project Budburst (  Meet on the south side of the UM campus, in the parking lot at the corner of Beckwith Ave. and Madeline Ave.  See for map and details. Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

  • *May 24, Saturday: Clustered Lady Slipper Foray Using “intell” from Lolo National Forest, Superior District botanist, Craig Odegard, we will hope to find one of the state’s rare orchids and species of concern, Cypripedium fasiculatum, and its associated plants near St. Regis. We will carpool from Missoula. Meet at the north side of the Town Pump gas station (5310 Grant Creek Rd., NE corner of the I-90 interchange with Grant Crk. Rd.) at 7:30 am. See for map and details. Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

  • May 29, Thursday 6:30 pm: Plant Labeling Party Nosh on hors d’oeuvers and sweets while preparing this year’s plants for sale. Bring your labeling fingers and a savory or sweet dish to share to 2 September Drive, in Lincoln Hills of the Upper Rattlesnake. Call Clare (728-0189) for details.

  • May 31, Saturday 8:00 am – 12:00 pm: Annual Montana Native Plant Society Plant Sale Many species of Montana native plants will be for sale this one day at the Clark Fork River Market (new location) in Missoula. Come early for the best selection.

  • June 3, Tuesday 6:30 pm: Dyer’s Woad Pull Help control Dyer’s Woad, a noxious weed in the mustard family, along with helping to restore native grasslands. Twenty-one years ago the Dyer’s Woad infestation on Mt. Sentinel was 7000 plants; we now rarely find more than 100 plants. Enjoy the view and the beautiful grasslands during this two-hour weed pull. Wear sturdy shoes and bring rain gear. Meet at the Mt. Sentinel trailhead. Call Marilyn (544-7189) for more information.

  • June 7, Saturday 1:00 pm: European Invaders on Mt. Sentinel Join Marie Curie Fellow, and visiting Assistant Professor of Plant Ecology from the University of Pécs, Robert Pal, on a walk to identify and discuss exotic weeds (many from Europe) on Mt. Sentinel. We will begin the fieldtrip with a short slideshow of the featured weed species in their native European ranges, then identify these weeds on Mt. Sentinel and discuss the common organization of weed communities – and their impacts on native plants – that we visit. Meet on the south side of the UM Native Plant Garden, next to the greenhouse of the Botany Annex Bldg. See for map and details. Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

  • June 8, Sunday 1:00 pm: Clarkia Weed Pull Party Join folks in the beautiful Jocko Valley at Native Ideals Seed Farm ( for an afternoon of pulling weeds from the growing rows of Clarkia pulchella, good food, and a tour of this native plant farm. This is a great chance to see mass planting (and blooming!) of scarlet gilia, cushion buckwheat, lanceleaf daisy, penstemons and, perhaps, the bitterroots will be in bloom. The farm is located to the southeast of Arlee at 31046 Jocko Rd. Call Bryce (726-3010) for details.

  • June 14, Saturday 9:00 am:  Monitoring Pollinators and their Plants  Join MPG Ranch botanist, Marirose Kuhlman, to look at her study of the relationship between native plants and the diversity of pollinators.  We’ll look at different plant communities, including areas that are undergoing restoration treatments, and try our hand at netting pollinators.  Those interested in carpooling from Missoula to MPG Ranch (which is NE of Florence), meet at the SW corner of Wal-Mart (on S. Brooks St.) at 8:15 am.  See for map and more details.  Call Clare (728-0189) for more information.

  • June 23, Monday 6:30 pm: John Toole Park Weed Pull Help John Pierce and other volunteers restore Missoula Valley’s native grasslands. Bring a friend, a weeding tool, and enjoy an evening near the Clark Fork River doing good for the community and environment. Meet just northeast of the Waterwise Garden and east of the Missoulian, near the Kim Williams Trail in John Toole Park. Call John (542-2640) for more information.

  • *July 6, Sunday, 9:00 am: Sun River Orchid Excursion Join Wayne Phillips, us to see the highest concentration of orchid species in Montana. Meet at 9:00 am at the Lewis & Clark National Forest Home Gulch Campground (~20.5 miles west of Augusta, on Sun Canyon Rd.). We will carpool from there on a loop drive to Sun Canyon, Wagner Basin Research Natural Area, Beaver Creek and back to Augusta via Willow Creek. There will be two hikes, the first of 2 miles/hours, and the second of perhaps 4 miles/hours, both on relatively gentle terrain. However, the second hike requires a stream crossing and some bushwhacking through an unstable landslide area. There is a good alternative for those who want to skip the second hike, and stay in rich orchid areas near the road, but the reward is a chance to see the uncommon sparrow’s egg lady slipper orchid, Cypripedium passerinum. Expect a long, but rewarding day. We could reasonably find a dozen orchid species, including Orchis rotundifolia, Cypripedium calceolus, C. montanum, Epipactis gigantea, etc. Clare (728-0189) or Wayne (453-0648) for details and visit for maps and potential lodging in the area.

  • August, TBA:  West Fork Buttes Weeds & Species of Concern Learn about invasive weed prevention and management and help look for native plant species of concern with Ken Cook, BLM Range Technician, at this near-pristine parcel of BLM land along the West Fork of Rock Creek. We will carpool from Missoula. See for map and details. Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

Events could be canceled due to weather. Hikes typically proceed at a leisurely pace. Please bring adequate food, water, sunscreen, a hat, and be prepared for Montana’s unpredictable, inclement weather. No pets please!

Clark Fork Chapter mushroom hike
 Clark ForkChapter members enjoy a robust schedule of hikes every year.
Here a few members relax in the midst of searching for mushrooms.
(Peter Lesica photo)

* Camera Geek trips are designed with ample time for photography and exchanging camera tips and techniques.

Project Budburst

A nationwide initiative by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), The Chicago Botanical Garden, and others, Project Budburst allows citizen scientists (e.g., students, naturalists, gardeners) to enter observations of the timing of flowers and foliage into an online database to help create a national picture of the effects of our warming climate on plants. The project operates year-round so early and late-blooming species around the country can be monitored throughout their lifecycles. UM professors Carol Brewer and Paul Alaback are collaborators on the project; MNPS member Paul is the project's lead scientist nationally. Project Budburst is looking for Native Plant Society members and others to volunteer in monitoring when plants come out in the spring. This involves selecting one or more plants near your house-in a park or somewhere you walk regularly--then noting the day leaves and flowers first appear and leaves first change color in the fall. Observations on Mt. Sentinel would be particularly valuable. Last year over 4,000 volunteers participated nationwide! Budburst is particularly interested in observations of widely distributed plants such as chokecherry, serviceberry, red osier dogwood, garden lilacs and others. You can register to collect data at or contact Paul Alaback (; phone: 970-227-4745