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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2020

Ozark Region | Tingler Prairie Conservation Area

Prairie blooms and a sinkhole pond.

By Larry Archer

Instead of buying your mother flowers for Mother’s Day, take her somewhere wildflowers are abundant, like Howell County’s Tingler Prairie Conservation Area (CA).

Located on 240 acres south of West Plains, Tingler Prairie CA’s 127 acres of remnant and recreated native prairie puts on quite a show in May, according to Area Manager Susan Farrington.

“The wildflowers in the prairie will be in full bloom — a lot of them — in mid-to-late May,” Farrington said. “That’s a really good time of year to go see it.”

But as impressive as the prairie’s spring bloom is, this area has a lot more to offer, she said.

“There’s a large sinkhole pond, which is called Tingler Lake,” she said. “Numerous rare species are found in and around this unusual natural pond.”

The Nature Conservancy purchased the property for both the pond and the 27-acre original bottomland prairie remnant. MDC purchased the area from the The Nature Conservancy in 1987–1988.

“The Nature Conservancy recognized it as a really important site because of the remnant wet mesic prairie swale that runs through it,” she said. “While prairie once covered much of Missouri, less than 1 percent of remnant prairie remains, and wet prairie remnants are even more rare.

“A lot of birding goes on out there. There’s some great birds, including the dickcissel, and we often have loggerhead shrikes using the property.” —Tingler Prairie CA Manager Susan Farrington

Tingler Prairie Conservation Area consists of 240 acres in Howell County. From West Plains, take Highway 17 south about 6 miles, then County Road 9100 west to County Road 8110 and go south 0.33 mile to the access. 417-256-7161

What To Do When You Visit

  • Birdwatching Included in the Great Missouri Birding Trail ( The eBird list of birds recorded at Tingler Prairie CA is available at
  • Hiking Three hiking trails, totaling 2 miles, cover prairie, wetland, and woodland habitats.
  • Hunting Deer and turkey Deer and turkey regulations are subject to annual changes. Please refer to the Spring Turkey or Fall Deer and Turkey booklets for current regulations. Also rabbit and squirrel

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  • White-tailed deer
  • Spring peepers
  • Loggerhead shrike
  • Scissor-tailed flycatcher

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler