Big crowd turned out Oct. 1 for Conservation Carnival at Burr Oak Woods Nature Center

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – A Conservation Carnival celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center in Blue Springs drew big crowds on Oct. 1 for nature-based activities and exhibits. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) opened the nature center in 1982. Since then, thousands of people have enjoyed the center’s trails, exhibits, and nature programs.

There was more than 2,500 attendees at the Conservation Carnival. People of all ages toured exhibits and activity stations. Some tried target archery and pellet gun shooting with help from MDC staff. Nature-based games for children such as ring toss over deer antlers or corn hole with critter themes as targets were popular. MDC had fishing nets, boats, native seed planters and other equipment on hand to view. Plus, conservation partners such as Grow Native, KC Parks and Rec, Burroughs's Audubon, Wild Souls Rescue and others hosted booths with games and activities.

“It’s going great,” said Sam McCloskey, the Burr Oak Woods manager who was directing staff and volunteers as the event progressed. “We’re seeing a huge turnout. We’re excited to be interacting with a diverse cross section of our Kansas City area community.”

Conservation Agent Justin Pyburn and his companion, K9 Agent Korra, greeted visitors. Korra did so with a friendly lick to outstretched hands. At other activity stations, MDC staff and volunteers answered questions about conservation and nature. Food trucks were on hand. So was a 1946 Chevrolet panel truck restored in green with MDC’s early flower logo, a replica of one that used to tour the Ozarks with a generator in the back showing movies about fire prevention and conservation.

“People are enjoying all the activities,” McCloskey said. “There’s a wide age range of visitors including children, adults, and senior citizens, and it’s a beautiful day.”

MDC’s Burr Oak Woods Nature Center and the surrounding conservation area with hiking trails and varied natural habitats connects people with nature year-round. For more information, call 816-228-3766 or visit