Posted: May 9, 2005 2:49 pm EST

Native wildflowers in full bloom in Indiana (~11 col. in.)
by Carly Nation - Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, Ind.
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    Additional Information: Colletta Kosiba lives on 13 acres in Brownsburg decorated with 50 varieties of native spring wildflowers and other plant life.

    CNHI News Service photo by Carly Nation/The Hendricks Co. Flyer, Avon, Ind.

    By Carly Nation
    CNHI News Service

    INDIANAPOLIS — Behind the state flower discussion and native plant auctions, a group with more than 400 members spends its time collecting and promoting native plants and wildflowers.
    The Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society, more commonly referred to as INPAWS, has a mission to promote appreciation, preservation, conservation, and scientific study of the flora native to Indiana.
    Brownsburg resident Colletta Kosiba, a charter member of INPAWS, focuses on educating the importance of indigenous vegetation. Also a Master Gardener, she hosts discussions and classes at local libraries to talk about the ease of gardening, specifically of native plants.
    “I love to encourage people how important it is to preserve them and how easy and much fun it is to have those plants in the garden,” she said. “You will never come to a gardening class of mine and not hear about a native plant.”
    Kosiba said the organization was started about 11 years ago to follow the lead of other states that had native plant societies.
    “We thought there was a need to encourage this, and it certainly has gone over nice,” she said.
    The group consists of professors, botanists, naturalists, photographers, artists, gardeners, and people that just love the beauty of nature.
    The president of the organization is Rebecca Dolan, director of the herbarium at Butler University in Indianapolis.
    “In my professional background I’m interested in ecology and basic biology of native plants,” she said. “But in my weekends I love gardening with and growing native plants.”
    She said she is always wanting to learn more about plants and is dedicated to the mission of INPAWS.
    The organization has a quarterly newsletter, it takes field trips to natural parks and other areas, and has a plant rescue, among other things.
    “Every year, we have a conference where we get nationally known native plant speakers,” Kosiba said.
    Dolan also said the group has fundraisers to make educational materials free to the public. The group produces brochures about invasive plants, and where to buy native plants. And they also use the funds for grants and to maintain demonstration gardens like the one at the Indiana State Museum.
    For more information or to become a member, visit the web site at or contact Dolan by calling (317) 940-9413 or by writing to Butler University, 4600 Sunset Ave., Indianapolis, 46208.

    — Carly Nation writes for the Hendricks County Flyer in Avon, Ind.

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