Our State Motto: Salus populi suprema lex esto, “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.”

Tamie Yegge loves her job. Good thing, considering she’s been at it for over thirty years.

“Every day is different—there’s always a new challenge,” Tamie says. She is the nature center manager at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood.

The nature center there is an impressive facility that provides several experiential opportunities—both indoors and out. Tucked into a quiet, wooded corner of Kirkwood, Powder Valley peacefully operates in stark contrast to its name, which stems from the area’s history as a storage depot for explosive powder during the Civil War and World War I.

Typical sounds today include birds chirping, squirrels scurrying through leaves, children laughing, and naturalists educating groups of students. There are three paved hiking trails on the grounds with signage along each describing local flora and fauna.

Ideal for young nature-lovers, the center features several interactive learning experiences, with a tree house and an aquatic exhibit. See snakes, turtles, pelts from native animals, and more.

Better yet, get involved. Volunteers at Powder Valley greet people at reception, lend a hand on land management days, lead educational programs, walk the trails to engage visitors, run the register in the gift shop, and help in other ways, too. Robyn Parker, assistant nature center manager and volunteer coordinator at Powder Valley, oversees the fifty-five-person team of volunteers.

You can volunteer at eight nature centers across the state to help teach people about the outdoors and wildlife, or you can simply attend workshops or classes pertaining to the outdoors.

“If someone wants to get involved, they can check the Missouri Department of Conservation website or visit an MDC site and ask for an application,” Robyn says.

The mission of MDC is to protect and manage Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife resources for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations. MDC also issues fishing and hunting licenses and helps with land management and allocation and protection of natural resources.

“We love our jobs, and we love getting others involved,” Robyn says. With people like Tamie and Robyn, Powder Valley is an outstanding example of MDC’s mission in action.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities at MDC.mo.gov/volunteer.

Photo // Missouri Department of Conservation