Pandemic Shutdown? Our Work Never Slowed!!

"That's the problem with nature. Something's always stinging you or oozing mucus on you." - Calvin- In 2019, many of our visitors would have agreed with Calvin's declaration. But when 2020 smashed into our world, the same visitors changed their song quickly and flew to Wildcat Park.

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Project Completed

Pledge Incentives

$10.00 Level

7 Supporters

Your gift of $10 will send two kids to one incredible class taught by nature enthusiasts, OR it will plant two small native flowers for the butterflies.

$25.00 Level

8 Supporters

Your $25 donation will provide a decent pair of loppers so one of our outstanding, hard-working volunteers can clear the path on Wildcat Trail. No matter how much a person loves nature, no one enjoys being smacked in the face with a small branch while trying to see what form of wildlife just rustled the nearby leaves.

$50.00 Level

3 Supporters

Your generous $50 donation will help restore bird habitat by planting a native tree that bears fruit birds depend upon for survival or a native tree they use for shelter. Very little is more disappointing than seeing a homeless, hungry bird.

$100.00 Level

5 Supporters

Your extra special donation of $100 covers the cost of one gallon (plus shipping) of Elephant Snot. We use Elephant Snot (really is the product's name) to safely remove graffiti from rocks, trees, and signs in Wildcat Park. While we admire the effort of the graffiti "artists," they simply are not capable of making art that upstages Mother Nature.

Project Overview

No Rest for Wildcat

While the rest of the country saw an incredible slow (if not complete stop) in business, the outdoor-nature-loving program organizations saw a fantastic, unprecedented up-swing in patronage. We received ten times the volume of phone calls, requests for information, and requests to use our facilities. 

Programs didn't exactly stop. They morphed into multiple programs. Wildcat held smaller, in-person classes while hosting multiple virtual classes on the same topic. We posted resources on our social media platforms but kept in mind that not everyone could print their nature project. To serve the entire community, we published the info. We posted them in public places in the park to minimize exposure to the virus.

Radio hosts reached out for hour interviews based on the topic of the month. Television reporters sought anything not related to the pandemic that was positive. Wildcat nature preserve provided a safe, small escape from the drama and trauma of 2020.     

Supply Needs Increased

Replacing doggy-doo bags and picking up trash became a three-times-a-week task compared to the old normal of once every two weeks. The need for these supplies continued to grow and haven't slowed. 

Sadly & irritatingly, graffiti increased in the park as well. This meant it became necessary to train more volunteers, supply more environmentally safe removal methods, and much more organization. To keep volunteers socially distanced, we added steps to training and getting supplies, using the supplies, and returning them.

Funds Became Scarce

To make matters more strenuous, many of the sources we depended upon to fund these supplies were diverted to serve urgent community needs. 

Wildcat believes in diverse funding streams. One of the streams includes The Nature Store's operation inside the Shoal Creek Conservation & Education Center. The government guidelines closed the Center. This meant no income from The Nature Store.

Fundraisers were also put on hold and eventually canceled. People didn't really want to "party" while so many were hurting. It was not responsible or safe to host fundraising events. 

Our Dreams Were Not Postponed 

We did receive funding from Missouri American Water in 2019 to build a modest education building. We had just begun the construction only to have it halted in March. But that didn't stop Wildcat. We found creative ways to keep the dream alive, expand both the vision and the building, and build both. 

This is where we need your donations. We need to continue moving forward. Contributing to general operating funds is not sexy. But, Wildcat general operating funds pay for necessary equipment and supplies. Wildcat general operating funds provide educational tools for kids of all ages. Wildcat funds train and support the volunteers who are responsible for the bulk of work in the park.

Wildcat has been there for our community throughout 2020 and will continue to find new ways to connect people with nature. Last year was a challenge, and the beginning of 2021 seems to look just like 2020, only with bangs. But, with the help of our supporters, Wildcat will live many more years supplying quality conservation education, habitat restoration, and a beautiful space for outdoor recreation. 


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About Wildcat Glades Friends Group

Wildcat Glades Friends Group is comprised of community volunteers who care deeply about Wildcat Park and the surrounding natural environment, including the globally unique chert glade ecoslystem located within the park.  Our mission is to protect the area known as Wildcat park, the chert glade environment, habitat, and wildlife by promoting awareness and sustainability, providing education and recreation space and programs, and sponsoring nature-based activities.  

We believe the park is a gem neatly packed in Joplin's backyard.  We see thousands of visitors annually.  They hike, picnic, swim, have gatherings, host scout activities, kayak, just to name a few.  Our guests often participate in free programing offered by Wildcat Glades Friends Group.  While it may be free to the general public, it certainly has a dollar cost.  Our goal is to continue to offer and expand our offering of nature education to all who are willing to listen.  We want to create a community dedicated to the preservation and the conservation of Wildcat Glades Park.

Our area of focus stretches from Redings Mill Bridge to the Falls in Joplin.  We have agreements with the Missouri Department of Conservation, Newton County and the City of Joplin to maintain the area and offer programing.    


Wildcat Glades Friends Group

Joplin, MO