Audubon Nature Center in Joplin Resonates Green

My wife and I just returned from an extended weekend getaway in Southeastern Missouri.  A highlight of our trip was our discovery of the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Nature Center just outside Joplin, Missouri.  If building in the 21st Century is about saving resources and leaving a small footprint on the face of planet Earth, this place “walks the walk!”

The Wildcat Glades area is located on the southeast edge of Joplin just a mile off Interstate 44.  It is very easy to find, and well worth a stop for anyone driving Interstate 44 or visiting the Joplin area.  Located along Shoal Creek, the area provides a great escape from the hustle and bustle of traffic while still giving you easy access to the many services available in a city the size of Joplin.  There are several miles of hiking trails on each side of Shoal Creek (really a misnomer for this body of water that is much more a river).  The trails on the east side are fairly flat, but the trails on the west side climb to heady overlooks towering over the valley and the nature center area.  There are short loops for those not wanting to go far and extended trails for the hardy hiker.  Visitors will see a great variety of bird life and plant life as well as interesting rock formations and an area called Cliff Village that early humans called home.  The trail system can be accessed from the back of the nature center and there is ample free parking available there and in nearby parking areas along each side of Shoal Creek.

The Audubon Center itself is a testament to conserving resources.  The Wildcat Glades & Audubon Center opened in 2007 and features many ways to lessen human impact on the planet.  The Center features a “green, living” roof.  It consists of plastic sheathing, fabrics and soil that limit runoff (according to the brochure, up to 1 million gallons a year).  The parking lot utilizes “a plastic grid/sand/gravel system and filters residue from tires, oil, antifreeze and other liquids that leak from vehicles” that are parked at the Center.  There is a” biodetention area in front of the building that captures roof and site runoff” as do the many plants that surround the building.  The trails are made from recycled asphalt pavement, and the cistern in front of the garden collects roof runoff and is used to water the plants nearby.

The shotcrete exterior of the Center covers a steel frame made from 90% recycled steel.  The insulation is recycled paper/cardboard, and the carpet and plastic deck are made from recycled milk jugs.  The heat is geothermal and the toilets are low water models.  Hot water is produced by an on-demand, flash heating system.  For more information on all the environmentally friendly materials and policies of the Center, visit their Green Technology page.

The Wildcat Glades area is a truly unique place on planet Earth.  There are only 60 acres of true Chert Glade left in the entire world, and Wildcat Glades contains much of that acreage, with the rest nearby.  The Center itself has wonderful exhibits of local fauna and flora; there are also displays of Native American stone artifacts from the area on loan from local collectors.  The Wildcat Glades & Audubon Center, a USGBC Silver L.E.E.D. building, and the surrounding trails, are well worth a visit!

Wildcat Glades & Audubon Center

Front Entrance of Wildcat Glades & Audubon Center

Back View of Center

Back Side Wildcat Glades & Audubon Center

Cliff Dwelling at Wildcat Glades

Cliff Dwelling at Wildcat Glades

Overlook of Shoal Creek

Overlook of Shoal Creek


One Response

  1. […] Audubon Nature Center in Joplin Resonates Green « MTI: Masonry … […]

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