Noah Brown's Prairie

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 purchased two 80-acre parcels of land around 1965, including the prairie.  At that time the remains of an older house could be seen to the east, with a hand-dug well downhill from it.  Noah’s son Curt remembers many summers of collecting square hay bales from the prairie – “hot and sweaty work” – but the prairie was a reliable producer of hay that could be cut at any time in the growing season and required no added fertilizer.  Fires, both intentional and unintentional, were occasionally applied to the prairie.

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.

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.

2017 Floristic Integrity Report: Brown, Coyne, Denison and Snowball Hill Prairies

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).