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Published on: May. 18, 2011

MDC Discovery Center

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Urban Gardens

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If you love wildlife, you probably already know that habitat loss is the greatest threat to its survival. You probably also know that development is the leading cause of habitat loss in Missouri and around the globe.

Of course, “development” includes homes, towns and businesses —the places where we live and work.

So how can we balance our habitat needs with those of wildlife when we’re shopping for homes and landscaping solutions? Part of the answer is choosing “conservation friendly development.” This approach creates communities, homes and landscapes that “build with nature,” and it’s beginning to catch on in Missouri.

Here’s how you can use your shopping power to reward and encourage choices that leave room for wildlife.


It’s hard to make “conservation-friendly” consumer choices when you’re not sure what they are and how they’re different from “traditional” building and landscaping.

A good place to learn about building-with nature designs, techniques and systems is at one of the Department’s newer facilities, such as Twin Pines Conservation Education Center in Winona or the new Kansas City Regional Office.

In general, the Department is moving toward these practices on all new facilities:

  • Working within landscape contours to preserve the building site’s plants, soil and water
  • Positioning buildings within existing trees to maximize passive solar gain and take advantage of natural shade and cooling
  • Managing storm water runoff with techniques such as native-plant rain gardens. Like bio-facilities, they soak up and filter water before it reaches storm drains.
  • Landscaping with native plants, which need less water and provide better wildlife habitat
  • Using energy-efficient construction, materials and appliances, including “cool roofs” that reflect up to 70 percent of the sun’s rays, resulting in less heat transfer and saving up to 40 percent in energy costs
  • Using recycled and locally sourced materials. For example, Twin Pines Conservation Education Center has flooring made from wood harvested in Missouri as well as structural insulated panels made in Taos, Mo.



If you can choose where you live, seek communities with policies that protect open space.

Good land-use policies can make a big difference in your quality of life over time. Without them, your property’s “great views and lots of wildlife” may disappear in a few short years.

The City of Weldon Spring is a community that is making a firm commitment to protecting open space. In March 2009,

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