April 19 MDC programs to focus on how light at night is affecting nocturnal wildlife

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The many lights that brighten our night-time world may be impacting the life cycles of a number of wildlife species.

People can learn more about how artificial lights at night are affecting wildlife at two Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) programs on April 19 at MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center.

The first program is free and will focus on how these lights are affecting birds. This program, “Earth Week: Effects of Artificial Light on Birds,” will be from 10-11 a.m. and will be in the nature center’s auditorium. No registration is required. People can learn more at: https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/199125

At this program, MDC volunteer Cathy Webb will be presenting on behalf of DarkSky Missouri. She will discuss how artificial lights humans use to illuminate the night-time world are affecting spring and fall bird migrations. At other times of year, bright lights at night are causing birds to stay away from some parts of their habitats that are essential to their survival and may also be altering predator-prey relationships.

Later in the day on April 19, people can learn about how night-time lights are affecting other species of wildlife at “Earth Week: Effects of Artificial Light on Wildlife.” This program, which is also free, will be from 2-3 p.m. and will be presented virtually. People need to register for this program and can do so at: https://mdc-event-web.s3licensing.com/Event/EventDetails/199126

At this virtual-only program, MDC Naturalist Sam Grove will discuss how an abundance of lights at night is impacting a number of wildlife species. Animals whose courtship and mating routines are dependent on darkness are not calling as frequently. Also, insects who would be pollinating plants as part of their night-time feeding routines are hovering around lights instead. These are just two of many examples of how human lights are changing the life cycles of animals that are active at night.

Though this virtual program is free, registration is required to participate. Use the link above. Registrants must provide an e-mail, so a program link can be sent to them. This program will include a chat-based question-and-answer period where participants can interact with the presenters.

MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center is located at 4601 S. Nature Center Way in southeast Springfield. People can stay informed about upcoming programs at the nature center by signing up for text alerts and e-mail bulletins. People can get information on how to sign up by calling 417-888-4237.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual and in-person programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/events.