Kansas City, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) invites teachers to learn how to incorporate prairie ecology into classroom study. MDC will offer a free Discover Nature Schools prairie session from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Dunn Ranch Prairie near Eagleville in Harrison County.
MDC and TNC staff will focus on the Discover Nature Schools formats taught in grades 3 through 12, including Nature Unleashed, Unhooked, Unbound. Topics will include the importance and history of Missouri’ prairies, and the plants and animals unique to prairies. All educators are welcome. Participants will explore the specialized adaptations of prairie life, learn to identify several common prairie wildflowers and grasses, and learn about prairies streams and watersheds.
Dunn Ranch Prairie is owned and managed by TNC. It is in the Grand River Grasslands, an MDC priority geography. MDC works with private landowners and conservation groups in the geography to protect and restore functioning native grasslands and stream watersheds.
Teachers will also build and take home a plant press. They will receive a guide to Missouri wildflowers and other materials. A free lunch will be provided by TNC. During the workshop teachers will visit the clear-water creek habitat of the endangered Topeka Shiner minnows. They will also see a bison herd that roams the prairie, just like they did for centuries until the early 1800s. Teachers will also walk the prairie with instructors and identify prairie plants and insects. Many wildflowers, especially the golden sunflower types, will be in bloom. Teachers who attend the full day and meet grant requirements will be eligible for MDC Discover Nature Schools funding. COVID-19 safety precautions will be followed.
Registration is required. For more information and to register, visit MDC’s online teacher portal, MDC Teacher Portal (mo.gov). Contact Adam Brandsgaard, MDC conservation educator, for more information at Adam.Brandsgaard@mdc.mo.gov or by call 660-646-6122, ext. 1369.