MDC hosts 80th anniversary open house in Kansas City

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hosted an 80th anniversary open house Oct. 26 at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City. Visitors were able to tour the native plant garden, hear speakers, and provide comments about the state’s conservation programs.

MDC’s support of a volunteer program to protect and improve remnant natural communities on public lands in the Kansas City metro area was highlighted by speaker Linda Lehrbaum, program manager for Kansas City Wildlands. The program, an offering of Bridging the Gap, organizes volunteer work days to remove invasive species or restore natural plant balances in prairie, forest, glade, and savanna remnants found in public parks or on conservation areas. More than 6,000 volunteers have been connected with programs to help nature. Those efforts also led to broader programs such as the Heartland Conservation Alliance and Kansas City Native Plant Initiative, Lehrbaum said.

“There’s a conservation ethic that wasn’t here years ago,” she said. “They want to take care of it for now, and they want to take care of it for the future.”

MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley noted that the event was the final of eight open houses held around the state in past months to celebrate 80 years of conservation based on science and public service. The open houses provided the public a chance to meet staff and also provide comments about conservation regulations, programs, infrastructure, and issues.

“There’s been a common theme, and that’s the celebration of conservation,” Pauley said.

Director Pauley also presented an Irwin T. Bode Award to Anita B. Gorman, who attended the open house at the Discovery Center named in her honor. Gorman is a Kansas City civic leader and former member of the Missouri Conservation Commission. She is among several recent recipients of the Bode Award, a joint honor sponsored by MDC and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. The award honors those who have made significant contributions to conservation in Missouri.

For more information about Missouri’s great outdoors and conservation legacy, visit