Residents hoping to kick off the summer season this Memorial Day weekend with a dip in the pool will have to wait a few weeks longer. Grain Valley Parks and Recreation announced the opening of the pool will be delayed until June, contingent on the restrictions provided in Phase 2 of Jackson County’s Recovery Plan for outdoor aquatic facilities. Aquatic programs, including swim lessons, are contingent upon Phase 2 restrictions.
The Fitness Center inside the Grain Valley Community Center reopened on Monday, May 18th. The gymnasium and all other common meeting space have remained closed, with just the Fitness Center open to the public.
“We are thrilled to once again see members of our community coming in to exercise. Even though we are not ‘completely’ open yet, the Fitness Center is a step in the right direction to once again provide opportunities for health and wellness to our residents,” Shannon Davies, Grain Valley Parks and Recreation Director said.
The Center will be open 8:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday through at least May 25th, and will not be open on Memorial Day.
“We hope to reopen the building in its entirety soon and resume our normal hours of operation, 7 days a week. This will be contingent on Phase 2 of Jackson County’s Recovery Plan, which we have been told will be issued between now and May 25th,” Davies said.
The Center is open to current members and those wanting to purchase a membership or day pass.
Davies explained the Community Center has implemented several safety measures in response to COVID-19, including:
Limiting the # of patrons in the Fitness Center at one time. Patrons are encouraged to call the Community Center (816-847-6203) before arriving to see if there will be a wait.
Certain pieces of cardio equipment and weight machines are “out-of-service” to ensure that the 6-feet of distance between individuals is adhered to.
Patrons must sign-in when they arrive, and sign-out when they leave. This includes name and contact information. This allows for tracing by the Jackson County Health Department should the need arise.
Patrons are not allowed to use the Fitness Center if they are showing any signs of illness.
Patrons are required to wash their hands before entering the Fitness Center and required to wash their hands before leaving the facility.
Patrons are required to wipe down any fitness equipment immediately after they are done using it with anti-bacterial/alcohol wipes provided at the center.
Center staff is required to wear facemasks when interacting with patrons who come to exercise. Staff are to not come to work if they are exhibiting any signs of illness.
Facemasks for patrons are recommended when visiting, but it is not required.
Center staff sanitizes commonly used areas each day before opening and more frequently depending on volume.
Grain Valley’s aquatic facility will not reopen on Memorial Day weekend due to
Jackson County’s stay-at-home order. The opening of the pool will be delayed until June, contingent on the restrictions provided in Phase 2 of Jackson County’s Recovery Plan for outdoor aquatic facilities. Aquatic programs, including swim lessons, are contingent upon Phase 2 restrictions.
Photo credit: City of Grain Valley
With many traditional entertainment options closed due to stay-at-home orders related to COVID-19, families have taken advantage of the limited outdoor recreation spaces open during this time. Their options will expand in the coming weeks as Grain Valley Parks and Recreation pushes forward with plans for the summer, including the opening of the Grain Valley Aquatic Center in late May.
The Grain Valley Aquatic Center will open for the season on Saturday, May 23rd. Pool season passes can be purchased once the Grain Valley Community Center resumes normal operational hours. Registration for group and private swimming lessons as well as water aerobics is now open on the City’s website. Residents may also register for Parks and Recreation programming by calling the Community Center, 816-847-6230 ext. 9 from 8:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday.
Shannon Davies, Parks and Recreation Director, is not yet certain what changes in terms of capacity will need to be implemented at the pool. “We will know more once Jackson County provides their recovery plan,” Davies said.
Residents should expect some changes when utilizing parks facilities and participating in programming.
“As our parks and recreation facilities start to open back up to the public, initially there will be changes with regard to limiting the number of registrants, maintaining social distancing, and the PPE’s utilized by staff. We should be getting guidance from Jackson County this week on what this will look like. Some facilities will open sooner than others but the ‘gathering’ restrictions the County provides will dictate what programs we can still offer and what programs we will have to cancel or postpone. Of those programs that we can still provide, we will have to limit the registration count to maximize social distancing,” Davies said.
The Parks and Recreation Department will offer a Youth Tennis program and Pre-K Instructional T-Ball program this summer, as well as popular programs such as Popsicles in the Park and Movies in the Park.
The first Movie in the Park program will be held Friday, June 5th at the Armstrong Park Pavilion. The June 5th event will feature the movie Abominable and will begin at dusk (approximately 8:30pm).
The past few weeks have proved to be an interesting challenge for Parks and Recreation staff, and helping families stay active while most parks facilities are closed has required creativity.
“We have tried to do more things through social media. For example, our “Boredom Busters” activity through Twitter. Each day, we post an activity that kids can do at home inside or out in their yards and ask that they post pictures of them in action or of their completed activity. With playgrounds, park shelters, and other park amenities being closed to the public, we have seen a huge increase in trail usage,” Davies said.
“With the warmer weather and people tired of being cooped-up at home, our trails have been a true asset for people to spend time outdoors and exercise. We have seen a marked increase in trail use at Armstrong Park and Butterfly Trail Park. Our new Blue Branch Creek Trail has been very popular over the past several months. We are also seeing people use our open greenspace areas to play on and picnic, which is really great to see.”
by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation
Songbirds are free to roam, and their travels take them beyond wild places to the trees, shrubs, and grasses they find in cities or near rural homes. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages people to get outside this summer and look for birds in their yards or neighborhood.
Nuthatches and wrens will be looking in oaks and maples for insects to eat, or to carry back to a nest of young. Blue jays and bluebirds may be among the feathered visitors looking for food or nest sites. Robins enjoy pecking bugs out of a fresh-mowed lawn. People can simply enjoy listening to bird songs coming from the trees, or, they can use them as an educational tool, particularly for curious children.
Children learn by observation and thinking. Birds offer lessons in colors, numbers, geography, and biology. The lessons can be simple or complex, but a stimulation of wonder and curiosity is found in either approach. In times when people are sticking close to home, and children are getting restless in summer, birds await by simply stepping outside and listening or looking.
Simple birding tips:
Start a birding journal. Use a school notebook, scratch pad, or stationary. Keep it handy. Children will note an adult’s enthusiasm for the bird journal and follow their lead. Include all ages in spotting and watching birds.
Once or twice a day go on bird-seeking expedition in the back yard, the front yard, or perhaps a walk on the sidewalk. Take the journal. Teach the young to watch for birds, or to listen for their songs.
Ask questions, of yourself or those with you. How many different bird sounds can you hear? Where are they coming from? Can you see the bird or is it hidden by leaves? Is there a pair of binoculars of some sort in the household that would help spot them?
If you see the bird, what is the color and the size? Do you think it is male or female? Can you identify the species? How many birds have you counted today? How many counted so far this summer?
Being a simple birder is good enough. However, if you or a family member is interested, a wealth of information about birds is available online. If a species is determined, say a blue jay, are they migratory or residents, or both?
If migrants, where do they go and when? What do they eat? For example, if that smallish red bird doesn’t quite look like a cardinal. Perhaps it is a male summer tanager, one that spent the winter in Central America and is now feeding on bees and wasps in your backyard. If a female or immature male summer tanager is near, they will be a greenish yellow. Birds surprise with variety.
Bird feeders and waterers will attract birds in summer as well as winter. But they are not essential, as summer birds will be finding natural foods.
Early morning and sunset are the prime times for hearing and seeing songbirds. But any time of day the curious feel like an outside trek is good enough. Don’t forget to listen for owls at night, or to watch for raptors such as hawks and turkey vultures soaring high in the sky during the day.
Count them on the journal list. You can count birds heard in your journal listings as well as those sighted, like noisy crows.
Make some birding sorties a quiet time for listening and watching. When people are still, nature’s sounds and movement stand out.
Have fun, birds are enjoying summer, you might as well join them.
For help in identifying birds, visit MDC’s web page at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zhc.
Also, get general tips for birds and information about birds at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zhp.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers a useful website called All About Birds that includes photos, bird song recordings, and information about habitats, diets, and migrations. Visit the site at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZhG.
by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation
Trees are leafing out, morel mushrooms are emerging, and fish are active as nature’s dynamic spring patterns are unfolding. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages people to enjoy the outdoors, but MDC also encourages anglers, hikers, and hunters to observe COVID-19 physical distancing health precautions.
Also, while fishing and turkey hunting seasons are open, the normal regulation and permit requirements apply.
MDC and partners provide angling opportunities in urban as well as rural areas. But anglers need to have proper fishing permits, Conservation Agent Rachel Webster, who patrols Jackson County said. MDC earlier temporarily waived permit requirements for sport fishing and daily trout tags, but that waiver ended on April 15 and normal fishing regulations now apply.
Permits can be purchased online. To buy a fishing permit or to check on requirements, visit https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/permits.
MDC conservation areas offer trails or roads to hike upon.
But visitors are reminded that health officials recommend physical distancing when outdoors as a coronavirus precaution. Also, hikers and morel hunters should be aware that Missouri’s three-week spring turkey hunting season is open through May 10.
Turkey hunting ends daily at 1 p.m., so hikers are advised to visit conservation areas open to hunting in the afternoons.
Extending courtesy to fellow visitors at public conservation areas is a good idea at all times. MDC’s public lands are a shared resource.
To find and MDC conservation area with fishing or hiking opportunities near your home, visit https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places.
MDC encourages people to enjoy the outdoors, but do so while following guidelines issued by health officials as a precaution against COVID-19. Conservation areas and public fishing lakes are shared resources, so use them with care and courtesy to others.
Photo by Bill Graham, MDC
by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation
Peregrine falcons are once again tending nests in the Kansas City area, and the public can watch one pair tend eggs and raise young online. A web camera is aimed at a nest box atop the American Century Investments office building near the Country Club Plaza. Four other nests are active with nesting falcon pairs, Joe Debold, urban wildlife biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) said.
“All nests have eggs and incubation is occurring,” DeBold said. “They should hatch in mid-May.”
Besides the American Century site, biologists are monitoring nests in the Kansas City metro area on smokestacks at Evergy’s Iatan and Hawthorn power plants, and on ledges or roofs at Commerce Tower and the offices of Shook, Hardy & Bacon.
Only the American Century site has a nest site web camera streaming live video online this spring.
Peregrine falcons are acrobatic, high-speed fliers. They historically nested on ledges on cliffs or bluffs. An endangered species in Missouri, their numbers have been increased in recent decades thanks to nest boxes placed on high places in urban areas. Peregrine falcon restoration is a partnership between MDC, private businesses, and other conservation partners.
The adult falcons brave wind, rain, cold, sun, and sometimes hot days as they tend nests and eggs in high places. People can watch on the computer in the comfort of home or office.
In early weeks, the adults take turns incubating eggs. They leave to hunt pigeons or other food and often return with food to the nest. Then the day arrives when the eggs hatch and the fuzzy baby falcons emerge.
Parents come and go with food for them. Finally, it is surprising to see how fast the young grow and mature. They fledge or leave the nest in summer.
To watch a falcon pair tend eggs and then raise young at the American Century building, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zny.
For more information about peregrine falcons in Missouri, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/ZqA.
People can watch peregrine falcon pairs incubate eggs and feed newly hatched chicks via a web camera streaming video from a nest on a ledge at American Century Investments in Kansas City. These falcons hatched in earlier years.
Photo by Debra Burns, Missouri Department of Conservation
by Joe Jerek, Missouri Department of Conservation
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Conservation Commission announce they are temporarily waiving permit requirements for sport fishing and daily trout tags for Missouri residents and nonresidents whose fishing privileges are not otherwise suspended.
The waiver of needing a permit or trout tag to fish will run from Friday, March 27, through April 15. MDC will reassess the situation at that point. All season dates, methods, and limits will continue to apply and be enforced.
“The current public-health emergency caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) has many Missourians and others looking for safe ways to get outside in nature,” MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley said. “Missouri’s rivers and streams offer high quality fishing as a way for people to connect with nature while still complying with all health and safety recommendations. Fishing is also a great way to get some much needed physical and mental health benefits during this stressful time.”
More than 200 different fish species are found in Missouri, with more than 20 of them being game fish for the state's more than 1.1 million anglers.
Get more info on Missouri fishing at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing
Pauley added that it is still critical for everyone to continue to heed all recommendations for hand washing, social distancing, and other public-health measures while fishing and during other outdoor activities, including maintaining at least six feet of distance between all individuals who are not family members.
The Grain Valley Parks and Recreation Department, in accordance with the Jackson County Executive Order to stay in place, has closed all park playgrounds, picnic shelters and restrooms to the general public effective March 24, 2020. Parks, including trails and open greenspace, will remain open and available for patrons to utilize. In a statement, the Department stated it “wants to make sure that during this challenging time, there are still outdoor opportunities available for your physical and mental well-being.”
Residents are asked to practice social distancing guidelines, keeping a distance of 6 feet from others.
by Joe Jerek of Missouri Department of Conservation
March 1st marks the annual opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing in Missouri at the state’s four trout parks: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James. The catch-and-keep season at the trout parks runs through Oct. 31.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) operates trout hatcheries at all four parks and stocks rainbow trout daily throughout the season.
Trout anglers need a daily trout tag to fish in Missouri's trout parks. Daily trout tags can only be purchased at each of the four trout parks. Missouri residents 16 through 64 and nonresidents 16 and older also need a fishing permit in addition to the daily tag.
The cost of a daily trout tag to fish at three of Missouri’s four trout parks -- Bennett Spring State Park, Montauk State Park, and Roaring River State Park – is now $4 for adults and $3 for those 15 years of age and younger. A daily fishing permit for Missouri residents is $7 and now $8 for nonresidents. The daily limit is four trout.
New this year, MDC is conducting a pilot program at Maramec Spring Park where the daily limit has been raised from four to five trout and the cost of a daily trout tag for adults has gone from $3 to $5 and from $2 to $3 for anglers 15 years of age and younger.
Trout hatcheries are just one way that conservation pays in Missouri. MDC staff stock more than 800,000 trout annually at the state's four trout parks and approximately 1.5 million trout annually statewide. Trout anglers spend more than $100 million each year in the Show-Me-State, which generates more than $180 million in business activity, supports more than 2,300 jobs, and creates more than $70 million dollars in wages. About 30 percent of Missouri trout anglers come from other states, so a substantial portion of trout fishing expenditures is "new money" for the state's economy.
Missouri also offers excellent trout fishing throughout the state on rivers and streams that support naturally reproducing trout. For more information on trout fishing in Missouri, visit MDC online at huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing/where-fish/trout-areas.
Buy Missouri fishing permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc.mo.gov/buypermits, or through MDC’s free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.
March 1st marks the annual opening of catch-and-keep trout fishing in Missouri at the state’s four trout parks: Bennett Spring State Park near Lebanon, Montauk State Park near Licking, Roaring River State Park near Cassville, and Maramec Spring Park near St. James.
Photo credit: MDC
by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation
Sweet treats and warm feet, trees can provide both for those who develop a knack for tapping trees for syrup or swinging an ax to split firewood. Learn how when a free Urban Woodsman program is presented from 10:00am to 2:30pm on Saturday, February 22nd, at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center, 4750 Troost Ave., in Kansas City.
This program for all ages will include a taste test with silver-dollar-sized flapjacks topped with maple or walnut syrup. The syrup is made from sap tapped from trees in the Discovery Center’s outdoor garden. Visitors can learn how to tap trees to make their own syrup.
Trees and wood are featured at the event, including tips for making firewood. Visitors can learn how to swing an ax to split firewood. Firewood is often sold in a stack labeled a cord.
Experts will talk about what type of firewood burns best, and how to measure a complete cord when purchasing wood.
Participants can try their hand at lighting a fire using flint and steel. Demonstrations will include how to make a Swedish log fire and how to make rope from native plant fiber.
Children will find tree limbs stacked as shelters and hideaways at the Center’s Sycamore Station outdoor play area. They can explore mammal pelts and participate in kid craft activities geared to nature and enjoying the outdoors in winter.
The free Urban Woodsman program is offered as a walk-in event, registration is not required. For more information, call the Discovery Center at 816-759-7300, or visit http://mdc.mo.gov/discoverycenter.
MDC's free Urban Woodsman program from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22, will give visitors a chance to taste maple syrup and see how it is made. Tips on utilizing firewood and skills related to trees and wood will be presented in activities open to all ages.
Photo credit: MDC
by Bill Graham of Missouri Department of Conservation
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is now accepting applications for a free, one-day Discover Nature Youth Camp on Saturday, June 20 in Lee’s Summit.
Day campers will learn outdoor skills such as fishing, firearms safety, shooting, and water safety at the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area. The camp is aimed at teaching youths ages 11 to 15 how to explore Missouri’s diverse outdoors.
Limited spaces are available for this camp.
MDC will accept 16 girls and 16 boys in the order that the required applications are completed.
Participants accepted to attend must complete the first portion of MDC’s hunter education class online and submit results to MDC prior to the camp.
Application forms are now being accepted and are due May 1.
Campers should arrive at Prairie Hollow Lake at the Reed Area at 8 a.m. on June 20. They will depart at 5 p.m. Transportation to the Reed Area must be provided by camper’s family or friends.
Participants will learn outdoor skills from experts and try out activities such as fishing. This camp will give them the knowledge and confidence to enjoy the outdoors.
To request an application or for more information, contact MDC Agent Brian Bartlett at 816-835-6087 or email@example.com. Applications are also available at MDC public offices in the Kansas City area.