Discovering Nature In The City

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Published on: Nov. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

of the kids as they prepared to board the buses back to their school.

"There's no place to sleep," Bob said.

"We'll sleep on the floor," replied one of the budding conservationists.

Educational resources

Teachers, group leaders and families can find valuable resources at the Discovery Center. Here are a few:

  • Outdoor Teacher Resource Center is packed with videos, books, sample lesson plans for teachers to preview.
  • Teacher workshops offer graduate credit and help teachers plan their own conservation-related lessons.
  • Discovery Trunks are available for loan to classroom teachers and group leaders. Filled with hands-on activities, each trunk features a different conservation-related theme.
  • Teacher orientations provide elementary and secondary teachers the background they need to prepare their class for a visit to the center's workshops.
  • The five Discovery Center workshops are available to registered families and youth groups on Saturday. For a list of courses, call (816) 759-7300, ext. 0.

In harmony with nature

Just east of the Country Club Plaza, at 4750 Troost Ave. in Kansas City, is the Discovery Center Urban Conservation Campus. Here, in the heart of the city, is a place where students, teachers and other groups can learn skills to enjoy, protect and live with nature. Every aspect of this newly developed facility was designed to conserve natural resources, increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution.

  • Three types of photovoltaic cells are installed on greenhouses, the outdoor pavilion and the main entrance. The solar energy they capture feeds the buildings' main power grid.
  • A highly efficient heat pump heats and cools the building.
  • The center's roof beams are made of laminated wood. They're not solid, but are composed of smaller bits of wood integrated into a single unit. They are stronger than solid wood beams of the same size ,and because they are made from scrap wood pieces from other sources, the laminated beams actually conserve wood.
  • Recycled building material from demolished historic buildings helps preserve the past. The center used wood from an old warehouse in the K.C. River Market area and bricks from Kames School and Bunting Hardware Store downtown.
  • Instead of traditional concrete blocks, the center substituted calcium/silicate-based blocks that use less energy and create less air pollution when produced.
  • Rainwater from the roof is directed into a stream that feeds a wetland full of tadpoles, frogs, dragonflies and other aquatic animals and birds.
  • Bioswales throughout the parking lot collect runoff and filter oil and other chemicals from the water that enters Brush Creek.

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