Noah Brown’s Prairie, Newton County

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Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia caespitosa var. caespitosa) and big-flowered coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora). Photo by Bruce Schuette.

Noah Brown’s Prairie is a 19-acre tract in Newton County that was acquired in 2017.  The prairie includes many rarer wildflowers that in Missouri, range only into the southwest part of the state, including Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia caespitosa) and Tharp’s spiderwort (Tradescantia tharpii).

Prior to European settlement, more than one-third of Missouri’s landscape was native prairie. A large swath of prairie extended southeast of Joplin and eastward where the town of Diamond would be built. This prairie, locally called Diamond Grove Prairie, was 14 miles long and up to 5 miles wide. Today, only scattered remnants remain, but they are vital habitat for many prairie plants and animals and beautiful areas for people to enjoy.

Noah Brown recognized the beauty and value of the vanishing prairie and preserved and maintained this 19-acre parcel of native prairie—part of the original Diamond Grove Prairie—for decades. It was Noah Brown’s wish that after his death this remnant prairie on his land be preserved, and the Missouri Prairie Foundation was fortunate to acquire it in 2017 to ensure its protection in perpetuity.

Dwarf spiderwort (T. tharpii). Photo by Bruce Schuette.

A partial donation from the family of Noah Brown and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) funding awarded to the Missouri Prairie Foundation in 2013 allowed for the acquisition of this 19-acre tract and an adjoining 40 acres. NRDA award funds, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, were made available as a result of a NRDA settlement with ASARCO, a lead mining and smelting company whose operations created

environmental damage while it operated in Jasper and Newton Counties over the last century.

Other nearby portions of the original Diamond Grove Prairie are the Missouri Department of Conservation’s nearby Diamond Grove Conservation Area and Natural Area, and the adjacent Carver Prairie, owned by the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

 

Directions:  Noah Brown’s Prairie is located in Newton County on Panda Road, about 9 miles southeast of Joplin. From the intersection of I-44 and north I-49/Hwy 59 south, drive 3 miles south on Missouri Route 59, then turn left (east) onto Aspen Road.  Drive 1 mile and then turn right (south) onto Panda Road.  Drive about .6 miles south and park on the side of the road.  The prairie is on the east side of the road.  By GPS, N37 2.005 W94 17.763 (in decimal degrees, 37.033431 -94.296046).

Noah Brown’s Prairie Reference Map. Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close-up of Noah Brown’s Prairie.