Nature News: Wildflowers, native plants to attract wildlife and walkers to new trail – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Nature News: Wildflowers, native plants to attract wildlife and walkers to new trail


By Flint, LHS Junior

Plans are being made for classes at Lyndon to participate in planting native Kansas wildflowers at the Lyndon High School outdoor classroom and nature trail beginning soon and continuing into the spring school year of 2014.


The compass plant is one of many native wildflowers that are to be cultivated at Lyndon’s new nature trail.

Kansas is home to over 1,000 species of wildflowers, most of which are found in the Kansas tall grass prairie like that being restored near Lyndon’s Aldie Christesen Trail and the new Jones Park Trail.

Native wildflowers are being planted for several reasons, the first of which is that they will not harm the existing ecosystem the way many non-native species could due to the planned addition of a wetlands area. Benefits of the addition of native plants near the wetlands area are they help prevent erosion, help water soak into the ground, and increase the quality of the water filtering through the dirt much more effectively than many non-native plants and wildflowers do.  Another benefit that will be much appreciated by the public is that a great deal of wildlife, including a plethora of insects, songbirds, rabbits, turkeys, and even deer are more attracted to native wildflowers than other, non-native alternatives.

As planting of wildflowers begins, the planting areas will first be dominated by perennials and will slowly evolve into areas of primarily annuals. Some vibrant perennials that may be spotted are butterfly milkweed, which is a bright orange plant that flowers in the midsummer; Queen of the Prairie, which many people say looks like Queen Anne’s lace; and many varieties of Kansas’s state flower, the sunflower, including the compass plant. Many of the sunflowers planted will be annuals; these include two of the most famous: the common sunflower and the Maximillian sunflower. Another annual will be the fleabane, which many liken to a small daisy.

Nature News is a project of the Lyndon High School English III class taught by Heather Fuller, who teaches English, drama and forensics. Along with the study of the works of famous authors, the junior students are learning about community-based writing. Coursework includes writing about subjects that will benefit readers. In Nature News, they plan to report on topics about appreciation of nature, using nearby Jones Park Trail as a learning tool.

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