This year, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is celebrating 80 years of serving nature and you. MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley will be at a special open house event Tuesday, Oct. 10 from 6-8 p.m. to share insights on the Department’s history, conservation priorities and future challenges. The open house will take place at the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, 4601 S. Nature Center Way.

MDC was founded by Missourians concerned by the state’s decimated fish, forests, and wildlife through a constitutional amendment passed in 1936 to create the nation’s first apolitical conservation agency in 1937.

Keeping with its tradition of citizen-based conservation, attendees are encouraged to give feedback on MDC regulations, infrastructure, strategic priorities and statewide and local conservation issues.

“Citizen involvement and participation have always been important to the Department of Conservation,” said Director Pauley. “Whether through gathering input from hunters on deer season regulations or hikers and birdwatchers on how a conservation area should be managed, we value public input. We want to hear from you.”

Refreshments will be served.

Preceding the program – from 5-6 p.m. – people can learn more about bears at the MDC program “Missouri’s Black Bears.” At this program, MDC furbearer biologist Laura Conlee will discuss black bear biology, the current bear research underway in the state, and how Missourians can become bear aware and co-exist with these large mammals.

No registration is required for the bear program or the open house event. For more information, call 417-888-4237.