MDC offers free native plant starter session Jan. 22 in Kansas City

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Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – Spring isn’t that far away, even if bitter cold visits in late winter. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer a free class on native plants on Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center. This session will include a tour of the outdoor garden, discussions on native plants in gardens, and participants will do some seeding indoors to grow seedlings at home they can transplant in spring. Sessions will be from 10 to 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 1 to 2 p.m.

Native wildflowers and grasses add attractive colors and shapes when used in landscape gardening. Gardeners can pick and choose from a wide variety of species with varied blooming times and growth patterns to accomplish their goals for a garden plot. Another plus is that native plants benefit creatures such as butterflies and songbirds far more than non-natives. Native plants are adapted to local soils and climate, and butterflies and birds are adapted to those plants and depend on them.

This session will include a winter walk on trails through the Discovery Center’s outdoor native plant garden led by Pat Whalen, MDC naturalist. Participants will identify dormant plants and gather seeds from them. Back indoors, gardeners will plant the seeds in recycled plastic containers to make a mini greenhouse to take home. Seedlings that sprout can be transplanted in spring for a touch of prairie at home.

This class is for participants ages 10 and older. Registration is required. COVID-19 safety precautions will be observed. Participants should dress comfortably for the outdoor hike. If special accommodations are needed, requests can be made by email via the registration portal. Visit these links to register for a session starting at: 10 a.m.,; 11:30 a.m.,; 1 p.m.,

MDC’s Gorman Discovery Center is at 4750 Troost Ave., east of Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza. For more information about connecting with nature in the city, visit