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.

  • Thursday, April 9, 7:30 pm. Can you remember the names of those wildflowers? You haven’t seen them for nearly a year. Get an early-season refresher when Clark Fork Chapter photographers show slides of Western Montana’s Grassland Wildflowers. Rm L09 Gallagher Business Bldg, UM Campus. 

  • Wednesday, April 22, 6:00 pmEarly Bloomers in Pattee Canyon  Celebrate Earth Week with the Montana Native Plant Society, Clark Fork Chapter during an evening stroll in Pattee Canyon looking for early wildflowers such as fairy slippers (Calypso bulbosa), glacier lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum), and violets (Viola adunca).  Meet at 6:00 p.m. at bleachers of Dornblaser Field on the SE corner of South Ave. and Higgins Ave to carpool to the trailhead.  See for map and details.  Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

    May 7, Thursday 6:00 pmWaterworks Cushion Plant TLC   Celebrate National Wildflower Week by getting up close to the short, colorful and unique cushion plants of Waterworks Hill.  This community boasts spring bloomers such as the uncommon Missoula phlox (Phlox kelseyi var. missoulensis), Rocky Mountain douglasia (Douglasia montana), as well as treasured bitterroots (Lewisia rediviva), and important pollinator plants like buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium).  These slow-growing cushion plants are threatened by invasive weeds such as leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) and spotted knapweed (Centaura stoebe).  The delicate nature of cushion plants prevents the use of weed-control methods such as herbicide application, tilling or sheep grazing.  Gain knowledge of these cushion plants while helping to keep spurge and knapweed from overrunning this rare plant community.  Bring gloves, your favorite weeding tool, pruning shears and a bucket.  Tools will also be provided by the Missoula Conservation Lands Program, with whom we will be working.  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 20, Wednesday 6:00 pmLater Bloomers in Pattee Canyon   On our second walk of Pattee Canyon, we will be looking for later spring blooming plants such as orchids (e.g. Cypripedium montanum, Corallorhiza sp.), blue camas (Camassia quamash).  Meet at bleachers of Dornblaser Field on the SE corner of South Ave. and Higgins Ave.  See for map and details.  Call Clare (728-0189) with questions. 

  • *May 16, Saturday 10:00 am:  Mt. Sentinel Budburst  Clare Beelman, who is volunteering with the phenology project on Mt. Sentinel, 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 (  Wear sturdy shoes for the steep sections of this trail and expect to spend about four hours for the entire hike. Meet on the south side of the UM campus, in the parking lot at the corner of Beckwith Ave. and Madeline Ave.  See for a map and details.  Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

  • May 28, Thursday 6:30 pmPlant 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.  2 September Dr., Lincoln Hills, in the Upper Rattlesnake.  Call Clare (728-0189) for details.

  • May 30, Saturday 8:00 am – 12:00 pmAnnual Montana Native Plant Society, Clark Fork Chapter Plant Sale  Many species of Montana native plants will be for sale this one day at the Clark Fork River Market in Missoula.  Our tables will be at the eastern end (towards the Holiday Inn) of this busy market.  Come early for the best selection of native plants to add to your landscape!  See for map and details.

  • *June 13, Saturday 9:00 am:  Plants of a Ninemile Conservation Easement  The Montana Native Plant Society, Kelsey and Clark Fork Chapters have teamed up with The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) to offer a hike to look for orchids and other native plants on private property that is under MLR conservation easement. The hike will be in a small drainage dominated by western red cedar, so we’ll be looking for uncommon, moisture-loving jewels of plants in the understory of cedar forest.  The hike is easy-moderate in difficulty.  Expect to return to Missoula in the evening.  We will carpool from Missoula to the Ninemile Community Hall to meet Kelsey Chapter folks at 10:30 am and then carpool to the trailhead.  To carpool from Missoula, meet at 9:00 am 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.).  See for map and details.  Call Clare (728-0189) with questions.

  • June 14, Sunday 1:00 pmClarkia 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 (Ipomopsis aggregata), cushion buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium), lanceleaf daisy (Erigeron linearis), penstemons and, perhaps, the bitterroots will be in bloom.  The farm is located to the southeast of Arlee at 31046 Jocko Rd.  See for map and details.  Call Bryce (726-3010) with questions.

  • June 20, Saturday 6:30 amSubalpine & Montane Plants of Southern Front   Join author and botanist-extraordinaire, Wayne Phillips on this day-long trip from Rogers Pass to Lewis and Clark Pass and down Alice Creek to view a great diversity of wildflowers from forest, to grassland, and subalpine areas.  Some of the notable species that we should encounter are rock jasmine (Androsace chamaejasme), chocolate lily (Fritillaria atropurpurea), alpine forget-me-not (Eritrichium howardii), Lyall’s penstemon (Penstemon lyallii), hoary balsamroot (Balsamorhiza incana), and sugarbowls (Clematis hirsutissima).  This hike will follow good trail along the Continental Divide for about 11 miles and will likely use most of the sunlight on the longest day of the year.  A shorter, out-and-back trip can be done of the first part of the hike in the Rogers Pass area.  Please RSVP to Clare (, 406-728-0189406-728-0189) to indicate which version of the hike you will be doing.  We will meet at the truck stop in Milltown at 6:30 am to carpool from the Missoula area to Lincoln.  In Lincoln, we will meet at the Cenex Convenience Store at 8:00 am and arrange getting cars to the Alice Crk. terminus to shuttle back to Rogers Pass.  Those joining us from the Kelsey Chapter can meet at Rogers Pass at 9:30 am (be sure to RSVP so that we can plan enough room to shuttle back to Rogers Pass).  Call Clare (728-0189) or Wayne (453-0648) with questions and visit for maps and details.

  • June 26 – 28, Montana Native Plant Society State Meeting   For Peat’s Sake…Befriend the Fens!  Several field trips around the Seeley-Swan area will be lead by botanical experts.  Home base will be at the Loon Lake 4H Camp just outside of Bigfork.  Orchids (e.g. Liparis loeselii, Cypripedium parviflorum, and Epipactis gigantea, sundews (Drosera sp.), rushes (Juncus sp.), and more will be highlighted on field trips.  For more information about and to register for the meeting, visit websites: and www.facebook/MTNativePlantSociety


    Don’t forget to check out the Clark Fork Chapter Facebook page (, the State MT Native Plant Society Facebook Page (

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