Hiking, bird watching, wildflower viewing, exploring. View All
Tips and guidelines for visiting this preserve. View All
The Shelton L. Cook Meadow is prized for the diversity of its wildflower populations, amongst the richest within a Missouri prairie according to expert botanists. It explodes with color in the late spring when most of the flowers are in bloom.
This high-quality prairie remnant is a splendid example of the Osage Plains prairie communities that once dominated the northern and western portions of Missouri.
Barton county, southeast of Lamar
The best time to go is during the spring and early summer, when the flowers are in bloom and the grasses are growing. Gently rolling hills make for easy hiking, although grass clumps can turn an ankle. July and August can be quite hot.
Cook Meadow is one of the highest quality and most diverse prairie remnants in the Osage Plains, with more than 400 documented plant species.
We are using several methods to maintain a high quality prairie system, including prescribed fire, aggressive woody vegetable reduction work, and exotic species control programs. The Conservancy is collecting native seed at Cook Meadow for restoration of prairies in the Osage Plains.
This gently rolling prairie is home to several endangered sedges, including Harvey's beak rush and fringed nutrush, as well as the federally endangered Mead's milkweed. Spectacular prairie wildflower displays showcase more than 300 native plants on the site.
Cook Meadow is also a good place to see the upland plover, along with other typical birds of the region: scissor-tailed flycatcher, dickcissel, and Henslow's and vesper sparrows.
Check the local weather forecast and dress accordingly. Long pants and sleeves, hiking boots, drinking water, hat and compass are recommended. During warm weather, light color and light-weight clothing is suggested. Repellent, binoculars, and field guide(s) are also worth bringing.