JOPLIN, Mo. – Native prairies are rare in Missouri, but these native grassland habitats once were an important part of the state’s outdoor world.
People can learn more about how prairies once dominated the landscape of western Missouri and where remnant prairies can be found today at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) free virtual program “A Look at the Prairie Frontier.” This online program will be from 2-3 p.m. on Sept. 9 and is being put on by the staff of MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center. This program is open to all ages. People can register for this program at:
A prairie is a grassland that contains a diversity of native plant species and few woody plants. The type of prairie found in Missouri – tallgrass prairie – is not nearly as common as it once was. When European explorers and early settlers arrived in Missouri, it’s estimated that more than one-third of the state – approximately 15 million acres – consisted of prairie. Today, less than one percent of the state’s original prairie habitat remains.
At the Sept. 9 program, MDC Conservation Educator Jeff Cantrell will provide a historical view of southwest Missouri’s prairies from the perspective of one of the state’s famed agricultural scientists and early environmentalists – George Washington Carver. He will discuss how, in addition to developing innovations to agriculture, Carver promoted stewardship of the land and our natural resources. Cantrell will discuss the plants and animals that can be found in a typical southwest Missouri prairie – both in Carver’s time and today – and will talk about remnant prairies that still exist in southwest Missouri today. Though this program is free, registration is required. To participate, use the link above. Registrants must provide an e-mail, so a program link can be sent to them. This program will include a chat-based question-and-answer period where participants can interact with the presenters.
Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/regions.