Nature and the outdoors enjoyed at MDC’s Discover Nature Field Day in Lee’s Summit

News from the region
Kansas City
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Kansas City, Mo. – To touch a turtle, splash water on your buddy with a canoe paddle, or see your arrow plunk into a bullseye, all were part of the fun when the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hosted the annual Discover Nature Field Days June 20-23 at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area in Lee’s Summit. Attending were youths and their adult leaders from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City. More than 800 youths had registered for the event.

Problems were few and the youths showed up on time and ready to go, said Kathleen Savaiano, MDC conservation educator. Helping the youths learn about nature or new outdoor skills were MDC staff from throughout western Missouri, volunteers from the Osage Trails Master Naturalists, and staff members for Missouri State Parks.

Youths were divided into three age groups and activities for them were held at three different lakes at the Reed Area. The youngest group studied turtles and snakes, went cane pole fishing, did nature crafts and games, netted aquatic life near shore, and caught insects in a prairie. The middle group learned how to fish and went fishing, paddled canoes on the lake, and went on a guided nature hike. Teenagers shot target archery and pellet guns, paddled canoes and kayaks, viewed nature exhibits, and went fishing.

During all the activities, MDC staff or volunteers were on hand to help them go fishing or do the activities. Fishing was unusually slow at times, yet one teenager caught his first fish, a 10-pound channel catfish. Participants come from the more urban neighborhoods of the Kansas City metro area. For many, Discover Nature Field Days is their first close-up contact with nature and outdoor recreation.

MDC offers a variety of free outdoor skills and nature training programs throughout the year including at four staffed sites in the Kansas City area. To learn more about free upcoming MDC nature and outdoor skills programs in the Kansas City region, visit