Local conservation center opens under new name after two-year hiatus

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What used to be called the Wildcat Glades Audubon Center is now the Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center. And, it’s operated by the missouri department of conservation.

Center manager Kevin Badgley says the focus of the facility is different now, too.

“We’ve gone from Wildcat Glades to encompass a little bit larger mission and picture with the Shoal Creek Conservation Center, really focusing on the Shoal Creek Watershed itself, which encompasses multiple communities–not just the chert glades,” Badgley explained. “And everyone needs clean water–not only the wildlife, but also people, so there is a real focus with that.”

Some of the displays have changed as part of that new focus, including the look of the popular fresh water aquarium.

In addition to what’s inside, there are also some new displays outside.

“We are going to have a Lepidoptera house, or a moth and butterfly house, out back as well, and it will be seasonal,” Badgley continued. “So, lots of changes there. We’re still linked up to the beautiful trails system that we have here, we’ve got four-and-a-half miles of trails with the city of Joplin.”

The gift shop has also reopened, now operated by the Wildcat Glades Friends Group, a volunteer organization that will maintain the trail system and build a new structure where the little league fields used to be next to the center.

“We’re actually going to have an education cottage,” said group Executive Director Robin Standridge. “That’s in the works right now and that’s because we’ve had an awesome grant from the American Water Foundation, so we’re looking to have that finished hopefully in the next six months.”

The center’s hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday from 9-5 pm and 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday’s.

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