MDC offers free Go Native program April 23 in Kansas City

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Kansas City, Mo. – Learn how hardy native plants can add color to landscape plantings and benefit birds and bees when the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hosts a free Go Native event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City. This program will help visitors get started using native plants in flower gardens, border plantings, and tree plantings.

MDC’s native plant experts at the Discovery Center will discuss how native plants can add long-lasting beauty and value to home and business landscaping. Visitors will get a chance to make and take home a seed ball with native grasses and wildflowers. MDC will give away native plant and tree seedlings for transplanting. Visitors can take guided tours of the center’s outdoor garden and see what natives are blooming and how they can fit into home landscaping.

The wildflowers, grasses, and trees native to Missouri are adapted to local soil and weather conditions. That adds to their hardiness. Prairie plants also have deep root systems that helps them survive or even thrive when summer turns dry and hot. Wildflowers offer colorful blooms. Warm-season prairie grasses add interesting structure in summer and rusty-red color in autumn. A variety of flowering trees and shrubs fit well in the lawn and garden settings.

Native plants from the smallest wildflower to the tallest tree also do far more to support butterflies, songbirds, and wildlife than non-native plants. Insects and wildlife evolved in symbiotic relationships with native plants. Non-native plant leaves have toxins that prevents insects from using them for food. Butterfly and moth caterpillars and other insects that feed on leaves are a key food for songbirds in spring and summer. Plus, natives produce fruits, nuts, and seeds that are important food for wildlife, especially in winter. Non-native species offer no food or low-nutritional food sources for wildlife.

Go Native is open for all ages. Registration is not required. COVID-19 precautions will be followed. The Discovery Center is at 4750 Troost Ave. For more information, call 816-759-7300 or visit