Explore the many and varied ways to enjoy nature in Jackson County at the 2nd Annual GET OUTDOORS event on Saturday, April 23rd from 10:00am - 2:00pm at Jackson County’s Kemper Outdoor Education Center located at 8201 Jasper Bell Road in Fleming Park near Lake Jacomo. This free event is open to all ages and families are encouraged to attend.
Visitors will have an opportunity to experience kayaking, fishing, archery, atlatl (spear-thrower), hiking, birding, outdoor yoga and more. All equipment will be provided, and no experience is necessary as experts will be on hand to assist. Pick up a slice of pizza from the Minsky’s Food Truck to enjoy a picnic while exploring.
by Bill Graham, Missouri Dept. of Conservation
Fishing jigs are among the most effective fishing lures for catching fish that are big or small, from bass and crappie to bluegill and trout. Jigs are hooks with a lead head adorned with marabou, chenille, and various colors to mimic baitfish. They can be hand tied by anglers.
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will offer three free jig tying classes on Saturday, March 19, at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City. The one-hour classes will begin at 10 a.m., Noon, and 1:30 p.m.
Participants will learn about the materials, tools, and techniques needed to tie jigs and flies. MDC will provide materials. Instructor Steve Jacobsen, assistant Discovery Center manager, will talk about the various styles and sizes of jigs and flies and the types of fish they can catch. For example, anglers may use larger jigs to catch largemouth bass but smaller jigs to catch crappie. Some anglers favor certain colors for water conditions and the species they are targeting.
This class is for participants ages 9 and older. COVID-19 safety precautions will be observed. Registration is required. To register, visit the following links:
Photo credit: MDC
by Dan Zarlenga, Missouri Department of Conservation
Breeding season for coyotes begins in February, which makes them more active this time of year. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says it’s important to be vigilant of pets during this time in areas where coyotes are known to live.
Unlike many other kinds of wildlife, coyotes adapt particularly well around human development and coexist with people in many places. These areas can include municipal parks and other urban green space, golf courses, cemeteries, suburban wooded common areas, and even within subdivisions themselves.
As a result, it’s possible for encounters to occur between these wild canines and people’s pets. Coyotes have also been known on occasion to attack small dogs. Coyotes may attack family pets not as a food source, but instead because they see them as territorial competition.
One of the secrets behind the coyote’s survival success is their diet. As scavengers, coyotes will eat just about anything, including foxes, groundhogs, mice, rabbits, squirrels, fruits, vegetables, birds, insects, carrion (dead animals) and common household garbage.
Coyotes typically breed in February and March. Females give birth to four or five pups about 60 days later.
Because food requirements increase dramatically during pup rearing, April through May is when encounters between humans and urban coyotes are most common. At that time, coyotes are on the move more seeking food, and may act more aggressively toward any animal they see as potential competition, like family dogs.
So how can encounters between coyotes and people be minimized? These three things are key: food, scare tactics, and vigilance.
Firstly, ensure that your yard or property has no food sources readily available to coyotes. If food is deliberately or inadvertently provided by people, adult coyotes and their pups quickly learn not to fear humans and will develop a dependency on these easy food sources. MDC urges dog and cat owners not to leave pet food outside, to securely cover all trash containers, and consider waiting to put trash containers out as close to pick up time as possible.
Think about bird feeders too. While coyotes are usually not interested in bird food, bird feeders attract rodents, especially squirrels, which in turn attract coyotes.
MDC recommends the use of scare tactics to instill fear of humans into coyotes. If a coyote should approach or be seen in the yard, homeowners should do everything possible to make it feel unwelcome. This could include yelling or making other loud, threatening noises, throwing rocks, spraying garden houses, or blowing air horns. If its encounter with humans is unpleasant, a coyote will be less likely to come back.
Finally, vigilance regarding pets is extremely important. MDC cautions that pet owners should not leave their pets outside unattended, especially during the hours of dusk, nighttime, and dawn. These are the periods coyotes are most active. Owners should be with their pets and have them in constant view during these times.
Installing a fence around yards may also help. Fences should be at least six feet high and dug into the ground six inches deep, so the agile and resourceful canines cannot jump or dig under them.
More information on dealing with nuisance coyotes can be found at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zaa, or in a free brochure obtainable by writing: Controlling Conflicts with Urban Coyotes in Missouri, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102. Or e-mail email@example.com
Photo credit: MDC
by Joe Jerek, Missouri Department of Conservation
Missouri turkey hunters can apply online during February for 2022 spring turkey managed hunts through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) website at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/turkey/turkey-spring-managed-hunts. Managed hunt details and application procedures are outlined on the webpage. Drawing results will be posted starting March 15.
The spring turkey hunting youth portion will be April 9 and 10 with the regular spring season running April 18 through May 8.
Detailed information on spring turkey hunting will be available in the MDC 2022 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold beginning in March.
To learn more about turkey hunting in Missouri, visit MDC's website at mdc.mo.gov/hunting-trapping/species/turkey.
Buy Missouri hunting permits from numerous vendors around the state, online at mdc-web.s3licensing.com/ or through the MDC free mobile app -- MO Hunting -- available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.
Photo credit: MDC
With the temperatures finally coming down a bit and the leaves starting to change color, the search for fall family fun begins. There are a number of opportunities to get your fill of fall festivities in the area as we countdown to Halloween.
Local high school students raising funds for Women for Afghan Women will present a movie in the park event at 6:30pm on Saturday, October 23rd at Faith United Methodist Church. Tickets are $3 and the Tim Burton classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas, will be featured.
Powell Gardens is partnering with Quixotic to present Dark Forest, an immersive, multimedia walk-through installation in the woods. Dark Forest will be held October 22-24th and 28th – 31st from 7:00pm – 11:00pm. Gates open at 5:00pm for refreshments.
Dark Forest invites you to journey through a magical and mysterious landscape brimming with enthralling performance, captivating music, and innovative creative technology where the channels of nature’s mortal realms are fiercely pierced by unexplainable paranormal forces and spellbinding supernatural beings. At Dark Forest, the universe’s most coveted secrets are freely revealed to all those who wander.
Tickets are $28 and parking is $5. For more information on Dark Forest, visit www.powellgardens.org.
The Pumpkin Pad, located at 35100 E Outer Belt Road, Lone Jack, is brimming with fall fun for all ages. Open Saturdays and Sundays through Halloween, more than 70 acres of activities welcome guests.
Admission is $14 and includes unlimited rides and attractions, including the pumpkin patch, corn maze, sunflower field, in ground jumping pillows, corn pit, giant roller slide, tetherball, bounce house, kiddie barrel cow train, old-fashioned hay wagon rides, and much more.
This weekend, the Pumpkin Pad will host two local clubs who are coming together to present an antique tractor show on Saturday from 10:00am – 2:00pm.
Food trucks are on site each weekend, and kettle corn, chips, sodas, and water are available at the concession stand. This Saturday, featured food trucks include KC Concoctions, Grandma’s Mini Donuts, and ATE1SIX BBQ.
Every Saturday night from 7:30pm – 10:00pm, a $10 reduced rate gets fun seekers access to food trucks, a local band, bonfires, and the corn maze.
The Pumpkin Pad is owned by Vince and Melissa Moehle, and their 13-year old daughter Jayden is an integral part of the business as well. Jayden designed the social media themed corn maze, and there are five SnapChat filters located around the farm for guests to use in their social media posts.
For more information, visit the www.thepumpkinpad.net or The Pumpkin Pad on Facebook.
And to usher in Halloween weekend in Grain Valley, the City’s Trail or Treat event will be held once again at Butterfly Trail Park from 6:30pm – 8:30pm on Friday, October 29th. Local businesses and organizations will hand out treats along the trail. Costumes and flashlights are encouraged.
Each Tuesday and Thursday at the Grain Valley Community Center, a tight knit family of friends come together in the afternoon to play pickleball. On the court, it’s serious business, but off the court these friends say they’re a family. On Thursday, the group of friends celebrated a special birthday for one of their own.
Erika Davis turns 95 on Saturday, and a cake and decorations welcomed her as she arrived ready to play.
Davis joked she was actually turning 59. “I was 49 for many years, but now I’m 59,” Davis said.
Joe Thomas, who has played pickleball at the Center for many years, said Erika’s family has planned a party for her this weekend, but they felt the need to celebrate as well.
“We all said, we’re a family, let’s have one of our own,” Thomas said.
Thomas taught his grandson, who is now at West Point, to play pickleball and ping pong.
“Now I can’t beat him at either one. He told me, ‘Well, you did too good a job at teaching me’,” Thomas said.
As Davis chatted with fellow teammates, Patti Garrett and Michelle Rollins marveled at Davis.
Garrett, a retired school bus driver, plays nearly every day at either the Community Center or the Blue Springs Fieldhouse.
“She is such an inspiration to all of us. At 70, I want to continue to play pickleball for the next 25 years,” Garrett said.
Pickleball’s increasing popularity comes from the quickness in which it can be learned, the fast paced nature of the game, and its accessibility to players of all ages.
“It can get very serious, but it is fun. Several of us have had busted wrists, busted heads,” Garrett joked. “But when we do get knocked down, we all come together to take care of each other.”
Rollins agreed. “We are like family. When someone is out injured or sick, we all come together. One person says, ‘I’ll come over and take out the trash.’ Another says, ‘I’ll be the one to walk the dog.’ It’s as much about the camaraderie as it is the game.”
While it is a tight-knit group, and game time is serious business, both Garrett and Rollins are quick to say that new members are always welcome and everyone there is willing to teach newbies the sport.
Pickleball is held Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:00pm – 3:00pm at the Community Center, 713 Main. It is $2 per participant, and free for Silver Sneakers, Silver & Fit, and Renew Active members.
For more information on all the senior activities offered at the Community Center, visit www.cityofgrainvalley.org or call 816-847-6230.
Erika Davis (center in orange pickleball shirt) is greeted by friends for an impromptu birthday celebration. Davis turns 95 this weekend and plays pickleball at the Community Center twice a week.
Photo credit: Valley News staff
Erika Davis (fourth from left) celebrates her 95th birthday with her pickleball family on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: Patti Garrett
Davis in the midst of a pickleball game. Photo credit: Patti Garrett
Popsicles in the Park
Bring your little one for family fun time in the park! We will make new friends, hear a special story, and enjoy free popsicles! After, feel free to stay and play as long as you would like. A parent/adult will need to stay with their child(ren) and enjoy the fun!
Ages: Family (Story will be geared toward younger ages: 2 to 7 years)
When: Tuesday, June 15 @ 6:30pm
Where: Armstrong Park Gazebo
Registration: Pre-registration is not needed - just show up and have fun!
Red Cross Blood Drive
“A single pint can save three lives; a single gesture can create a million smiles!" Please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter: GrainValleyCommunity to schedule an appointment today. Presenting donors will also receive a free Worlds of Fun Ticket, while supplies last.
When: Wednesday, June 23
3:00pm to 7:00pm
Where: Grain Valley Community Center
Pokemon Engineering Lego Camp
Join Ash and Pikachu as you build, capture, train, and explore the vast world of Pokemon with tens of thousands of LEGO® parts. Design your own Poke Balls, explore the Kanto region, and fly with Charizard.
Explore engineering through the fun world of Pokemon with the guidance of a Play-Well instructor. (All materials used are the property of Play-Well TEKnologies and are not for sale or distribution. Students will not be able to keep LEGO materials.)
Ages: 5 to 10 Years (Boys & Girls)
When: Monday, June 28 - Thursday, July 1 (4-day camp)
1:00pm - 4:00pm Each Day
Where: Grain Valley Community Center
Fee: $120.00 Per Participant
For more information on these and other Parks and Recreation programs, visit www.cityofgrainvalley.org.
The Grain Valley Aquatic Center opens for the season on Saturday, May 29th with normal operating procedures returning in 2021. Gone are the distanced “family pods” on the deck, and loungers are once again available so families do not have to bring their own chairs. Masks are not required for patrons.
Open swim hours are Monday—Sunday from Noon—6:00pm. Hours are subject to change once Grain Valley Schools return for the new school year in mid-August. The last swim of the year will be on Labor Day from Noon—4:00pm.
Call the community center or visit their website (816-847-6230 or https://bit.ly/3ovc6SE) for more information and to get signed up for swimming lessons, water aerobics, season pool passes, and private pool rentals.
by Bill Graham, Missouri Department of Conservation
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) will host a native plant sale from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, at the Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City. Visitors can peruse the plants that vendors bring, but they can also pre-order online or by phone from participating vendors and pick them up at the event.
Native wildflowers and grasses offer lovely blooms, colors, and textures in landscape garden plantings. Many will benefit from some tender care in the days after planting, such as watering and removing weed competition. Kansas City’s up and down weather can stress new plantings. But once established with deep roots systems, natives can often survive weather variances better than non-natives. Using a variety of plants can extend blooms in the garden from spring into autumn.
Another benefit from native plants, shrubs, and trees is that they benefit songbirds, butterflies, and other urban wildlife. Many non-natives do not host insects that are vital food for songbirds during spring nesting season. They also are not host plants for butterfly and moth larvae.
At the May 15 event, visitors can talk with MDC staff, MPF volunteers, and vendors about natives. Knowing what plants work best in soil and sunlight types can make a big difference in growing success. COVID-19 safety protocols such as physical distancing and face masks will be followed.
The participating vendors and their contact information for preordering:
GALLENA'S GARDEN: View the plant list here and email your order to firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail) by Thursday, May 13. After ordering, they will send an invoice for the purchase.
OZARK SOUL: Order via email or phone by noon on Friday, May 14: email@example.com(link sends e-mail); 816-809-4062, Please visit https://www.ozarksoul.com/availability.php for a current availability list. In your email or voicemail, please include your phone number and note the date and location. After your order has been placed, Ozark Soul will email you to give you the payment details.
MISSOURI WILDFLOWERS NURSERY: Order by calling 573-496-3492, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail), or online here by Wednesday, May 12: https://mowildflowers.net/
ALLENDAN SEED COMPANY: Please email email@example.com(link sends e-mail) to request current prices and available mixes. https://www.allendanseed.com/.
COLONIAL GARDENS: More information coming soon. Visit https://colonialgardenskc.com/.
CITY ROOTS, LLC: Order online by Thursday, May 13: https://www.cityrootsnursery.com/plants-for-sale.
GREEN THUMB GARDENS: Order and pay online by Thursday, May 13: https://store.dtekc.com/.
To learn more about the Missouri Prairie Foundation, visit Home - Missouri Prairie Foundation (moprairie.org). For information about using native plants in landscaping, visit https://short.mdc.mo.gov/Zc8.