MDC taps Storybook Forest friends for conservation tales

News from the region
Kansas City
Published Date

Kansas City, Mo. – Once upon a time, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff at the Burr Oak Woods Nature Center realized children enjoy both nature's surprises and familiar fairy tales. So do grownups. So on Oct. 3, the staff magically made well-known characters from fables appear. The Nature Center's paved Missouri Tree Trail became for a day a walk into "Storybook Forest."

The free event drew several hundred people for both afternoon and evening presentations. Characters such as Robin Hood, Snow White, Belle and the Beast greeted visitors on their walk through the forest. Snow White's pals, the Seven Dwarfs, volunteered as tour guides and pointed out wildlife along the way. Meanwhile, the fairy tale heroines and heroes cast spells of attention as they talked about outdoor fun, discovering and preserving nature, how natural life is interrelated with human life, and how some critters that seem scary – like spiders – really are not.

Mother Nature provided perfect weather on an early autumn day that was sunny but cool. Parents and grandparents brought youngsters who plucked crayfish from a pool, studied moss on logs and learned how friendly and fun a forest can be.

"We saw Snow White," a youngster proudly proclaimed. "Cool," Belle replied, "I'm having dinner with her later."

Keep in touch with future programs at MDC's Burr Oak Woods Nature Center by visiting

And in keeping with the season, the staff at the Anita G. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave., Kansas City, will present a HOWLoween special event 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 16. The free fun for all ages will include nature stations along the outdoor trail such as Track or Treat, the Bone Yard and the Bat Cave. For information, call 816-759-7300 or visit

MDC connects people with nature year round. For conservation programs near you, visit