MDC program on April 8 to explore the history and folklore of Ozarks plants

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Native Americans and this region’s first pioneers once relied on native plants for a variety of food and medicinal purposes.

People can learn how plants have been used through the years at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) free program “Outdoor Skills: Useful Plant Hike.” This program will be from 10 a.m.-noon on April 8 at MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center. This program is designed for ages 15 and up. People can register at:

Today, most of the botanical remedies our pioneer forefathers used would be categorized as alternative medicine. This may be a fitting term for these items in modern times, but it’s something of a misnomer for the pioneer era. In the absence of manufactured medicines and professionally diagnosed cures, the potential healing benefits offered by some native plants were often the only options available – frequently there were no other alternatives.

At the April 8 program, MDC volunteer Don Brink, who is an ancestral skills specialist, will lead participants on a hike on nature center trails and explain the folklore and uses for some of the native plants that can be found along the trail.

MDC’s Springfield Conservation Nature Center is located in southeast Springfield at 4601 S. Nature Center Way. People can stay informed about upcoming programs at the nature center and other nearby MDC facilities by signing up for text alerts and e-mail bulletins. People who have questions about how to sign up for text alerts from the Springfield Nature Center can call 417-888-4237

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual programs. A listing of these programs can be found at