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.

  • 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.

  • Saturday, September 6, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm. Late Flowers of Pyramid Pass. Part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Wilderness Act. Meet at the parking lot of Lindey’s Prime Steakhouse. We’ll drive 10 miles to the trailhead and then hike four miles (one-way) and 1600 ft of vertical to Pyramid Pass at 7,000 ft on the west edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. We’ll look for late blooming flowers in the moist meadows around Pyramid Lake just north of the pass. Bring a lunch and water. Trip leaders: Peter Lesica, Dave Hanna. Limit: 18 people. Sign up by email ( after September 1 or the morning of the trip if there is still room. This hike is sponsored by the Montana Native Plant Society and the Montana Wilderness Association.

  • Thursday, October 9, 7:30 pm. Bring your favorite or unusual plant identification and other botany books to show to your friends at The Festival of the Botany Book. This is an opportunity to find the best moss, lichen or vascular plant books for your purposes, talk to the people who own them, and show the ones you have. Natural Sciences (Botany) Bldg. Rm 202.

  • Thursday, November 13, 7:30 pm. What was the vegetation of the Bitterroot Valley like prior to European settlement? How has it changed? Come hear Karen Shelly tell us about her research on The General Land Office Surveyor’s View of the Bitterroot Valley Landscape (1870-1924). Rm L09 Gallagher Business Bldg, UM Campus

  • Thursday, December 11, 6:30 pm. Our Annual Christmas Potluck will again be held in the Del Brown Room in Turner Hall on the UM Campus on the northwest side of the Oval. Parking will hopefully be available west of the Gallagher Bldg. in lots or on the streets off of Arthur and Connell. You will be emailed a map in early December. Bring plates, utensils and a dish to share. Alcoholic beverages are okay! Don’t forget to bring a few of your favorite slides or digital pictures from the summer. Call Peter (728-8740) or Kelly (258-5439) if you have 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