Places to Go: Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center

By Larry Archer | December 1, 2022
From Missouri Conservationist: December 2022

Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center

Like a set of nature-themed Russian nesting dolls, the Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center (CEC) in Joplin is a conservation destination nestled inside a conservation destination nestled inside yet another conservation destination.

At the center of the set is Shoal Creek CEC, a 10,000-square-foot facility focused on the chert glades and watershed of the area’s namesake waterway, said Shoal Creek CEC Manager Kevin Badgley.

“The exhibits are highlighted by a 1,300-gallon aquarium that replicates the Ozark stream or what you would see in Shoal Creek,” Badgley said. “It actually has a wetland area, then it has a riffle — or like a halfpipe aquarium — that dumps into the large aquarium.”

Surrounding the building are 58 acres that include trails featuring the area’s unique chert glade habitats and the native-plant landscaping, he said.

“One of our big points is what conservation principles can you integrate into your urban area, into your backyard,” he said. “So, our entire front lawn and area around it is naturescape landscaping.”

All of this exists within Joplin’s Wildcat Park, whose extended trail system and pedestrian bridge give visitors additional access to Shoal Creek’s riparian corridor.


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This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler