MDC’s free Prairie Day activities May 14 near El Dorado Springs celebrate native grasslands

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Kansas City
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El Dorado Springs, Mo. – Native grassland ecology and the role prairie forage plants in ranching will be celebrated when the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hosts Prairie Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 14, at the Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie Conservation Area near El Dorado Springs. This free event will showcase the prairie’s natural life and the role grasslands play in agriculture communities today.

Prairie Day will offer wagon tours, grazing demonstrations, a guided walk for bee surveys, conservation exhibits, presentations on grassland birds, and facts about grassland fire ecology. Experts will lead an 8 a.m. birding hike. Activities will include target archery and atlatl. The St. Clair County Cattlemen’s Association will provide concessions.

“People will enjoy speaking to experts about prairie ecology and management,” said Krista Noel, MDC natural history biologist. “We can assist them with managing their own prairies and grassland watershed resources. Target archery and atlatl will provide a fun experience with the hunting tools used by Native Americans on prairies.”

Co-hosts with MDC are The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the Missouri River Bird Observatory. Much of the Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie is owned by TNC but managed by MDC. Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie has unplowed remnant and restored grasslands in rolling hills north of El Dorado Springs. The prairie is part of the Upper Osage Grasslands, a priority focus area for MDC and private landowners working to enhance grasslands for conservation and sustainable agriculture practices.

Prairies have a diverse mix of grasses, wildflowers, and sedges that draw from rich soils with their own micro- and macro-biotic diversity. Today, less than half of one percent of the state’s original unplowed tallgrass prairie remains in scattered remnants. TNC and MDC properties at Wah’Kon-Tah preserve one of the state’s largest contiguous native grasslands.

Prairie Day is for all ages and requires no registration. Although organized activities end at 4 p.m., visitors are welcome to stay and enjoy the prairie.

For information about Prairie Day, call 417-876-5226. More information and a map for Wah’Kon-Tah Prairie Conservation Area are available at To learn about prairie in Missouri, visit