Shelton L. Cook Meadow

Shelton L. Cook Meadow is a great place to spot endangered plant and animal species.

Open to the Public


Things To Do

Hiking, bird watching, wildflower viewing, exploring. View All

Plan Your Visit

Tips and guidelines for visiting this preserve. View All

Get Directions

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.

Why You Should Visit 

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




301.6 acres


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.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site    

Cook Meadow is one of the highest quality and most diverse prairie remnants in the Osage Plains, with more than 400 documented plant species.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

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.

What to See: Plants

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.

What to See: Animals 

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.

Preserve Visitation Guidelines

    • Take Highway 160 toward Lamar
    • After 1.75 miles turn left onto County Highway U
    • Go two miles to the second gravel road and turn left
    • Go 0.5 mile until you see a preserve sign in the prairie to your left.
    • Park along the road adjacent to the sign.

Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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