MDC hosted Prairie Day festivities May 14 at El Dorado Springs

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El Dorado Springs, Mo. – A warm sunny day made colors bright for people visiting the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Prairie Day event May 14 at Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie near El Dorado Springs.  The event celebrated the value of native grasses and forbs for conservation and ranching as well as the community’s prairie heritage. Hosts for Prairie Day were MDC, The Nature Conservancy of Missouri, Missouri River Bird Observatory, and other conservation partners.

Nathan and Zazana Schwab brought their three young daughters and son to see a slice of Missouri prairie. They live in France and have been staying with relatives at Lexington since the pandemic. Their daughters are fans of the Little House on the Prairie television show. One girl wore her prairie bonnet. They tried out the outdoor skills like target archery and atlatl, visited the display booths, took the prairie wildflower and bee study tour, and enjoyed a hamburger from the St. Clair County Cattlemen Association’s booth.

Late spring and early summer wildflowers were blooming on the prairie, including the bright red petals of Indian paintbrush. Native warm season grasses were beginning growth that will lift them high by late summer. A dozen songbirds, raptors, or shore birds visiting a pond were listed on the birding board by noon.

“We do a lot of hiking in France and the Czech Republic,” Nathan Schwab said. “It’s amazing to see this. I’m glad the Conservation Department takes care of this prairie. I’m glad to see it.”

Prairie Day celebrates the work being done by MDC and private landowners in the Upper Osage Grasslands to preserve and restore grassland systems that benefit ranching, conservation, and water quality in streams. The work benefits meadows, savannas, and open woodlands. Good management practices make healthy grasslands profitable for agriculture and wildlife.

For more information about prairie in Missouri, visit To learn about MDC expertise and financial assistance for grassland improvements on your property, visit