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Enjoy a Missouri Autumn With MDC’s Fall Color Forecast

Missouri will continue to offer beautiful views for outdoor social distancing as the fall season gets underway. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers weekly online fall color updates from agency foresters all over the state at mdc.mo.gov/fallcolor.

“The fall color report is a great resource for those wanting to enjoy the changing foliage,” said MDC Community Forester Ann Koenig. “It shows users where trees are beginning to turn and also suggests the best places to view the changing leaves.”

Generally, the changing of the leaves is predictable, but it can vary from year to year depending on the weather. Koenig explained that a windy fall or early hard freeze can dampen the fall color in trees due to the fact the leaves blow off the trees or freeze.

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Have A Large Evergreen That Needs To Be Removed?

Photo courtesy MDC.

Donate the tree to The Missouri Department of Conservation to be used as the governor’s mansion Christmas tree.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is conducting its annual search for a large Christmas tree for use on the governor’s mansion lawn in Jefferson City. MDC is asking landowners, homeowners, businesses, and communities that may have possible candidate trees to contact the Department.

To qualify, the donated tree must be about 40-feet tall and be an eastern red cedar, Norway spruce, or white pine that is fully branched on all sides and accessible by large equipment.

The right tree may either be near the end of its life or may need to be removed for other reasons. Once a tree is selected, MDC staff will coordinate the cutting and delivery of the tree to the governor’s mansion at no cost to the owner. The donor will receive a thank-you from the governor and an invitation to the lighting ceremony, which usually occurs the first week of December.

“Sometimes there are beautiful evergreens that need to be removed for home expansion, utility work, or they’ve grown too large for the space,” says MDC Community Forestry Coordinator Russell Hinnah. “Having your tree displayed at the governor’s mansion is a great way to share its beauty with thousands of Missourians who visit the mansion during the holidays.”

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New Solar Surges in Gateway Region Despite Pandemic

Region’s Solar Group Buy Programs Provides Additional Discount for Program Participants 

The pandemic has prompted many people to make their households more efficient and for some St. Louis area residents that means investing in solar powerTwin programs, Grow Solar St. Louis and Grow Solar Metro East, make this process easier and more affordable. 

In 2020, more than 60 property owners have already committed to go solar through the programs. All are expected to be producing electricity before the end of the year. The 500 kW of new capacity will offset more than 700,000 pounds of carbon dioxide in their first year of operation. It will save solar homeowners roughly $40,000 on electricity bills, collectively, in that same time period. 

“Another 60 households are actively considering their own commitments, and hundreds of people are joining us to learn all about solar,”  said Peter Murphy, Solar Program Director for the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, which is co-facilitating the programs with local sponsors. “It’s really exciting to see how much interest there is in solar in the Gateway Region as we approach the September 30 program deadline.” 

Continue reading below for more information about the program.

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Dark Secrets of Earthworms Unearthed at Free MDC Online Program Sept. 11

Earthworm photo courtesy MDC.

Many people think of them as helpful little critters, but you might be surprised to learn they’re not so beneficial after all.

Invaders can come in many forms. Just like the plot of a horror movie, some of them might even seem benign and helpful, while they secretly wreak havoc. You might be surprised to discover that earthworms are just such creatures.

The Truth about Earthworms is a free online program presented by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and takes place Friday, Sept. 11 from 12-1 p.m. The presentation is free and open to all ages.

“Most earthworms are not actually native to the United States and were brought here by European settlers,” said MDC Naturalist Rena Schmidt. “They may be known to be great for gardens and fishing bait, but they can have enormous negative effects on our forest ecosystems,” she said.

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Citizen Science Opportunity, MDC

Photo: MDC

Get outside and enjoy nature! Check out this information from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Do you enjoy learning to identify new animals and plants? Do you enjoy contributing to citizen science? Help us document plant and animal life at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center by contributing to our iNaturalist Biodiversity Project!

 

 

1. iNaturalist is FREE

2. Go to iNaturalist.org to download the free smartphone app and create an account

3. On the app, click the camera button to take a photo of a plant or animal

4. Click on “What did you see?” and try to enter the best guess using the drop-down box with suggestions. Don’t worry, others will review your identifications

5. If your photos are taken at Powder Valley, the location and project will automatically choose Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center Biodiversity Project

6. Click on the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center Biodiversity Project to see what has been observed, who has observed, and how many species we have documented

7. For fun for the entire family and some practice before you sign up for iNaturalist, download  Seek, by iNaturalist, a smartphone app. This app works to identify your picture immediately providing you animal or plant identification and information.

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Derocho That Slammed Iowa Took Bite Out Of St. Louis

by Don Corrigan

The massive derocho storm that slammed Iowa on June 10, and that flattened large parts of the state, also took a bite out of northern Missouri and the St. Louis area. A derocho is a widespread straight-line wind storm that can rival tornadoes and hurricanes with its wind velocities.The June 10 squall line that ripped through Iowa destroyed more than a quarter of the state’s corn crop and left $4 billion in damages and several fatalities. St. Louis was hit with the southern edge of the storm that began in the Dakotas and moved across Iowa, Illinois and Lake Michigan.

The St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, which is the only city in the metropolitan area that owns and operates its own electric utility, is still assessing the impact of the June 10 storm on its electrical operation.

“We’re still reviewing all the numbers,” said Mark Petty of Kirkwood Electric.  “But this may have been the worst storm for us since 2006.”

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Night at the Zoo Event For Adults (Ages 21 and Over)

What: Night at the Zoo presented by Mid America Chevy Dealers — Adults ages 21+ are invited to spend an exclusive, limited-attendance evening among the animals at the Saint Louis Zoo. Enjoy Zoo exhibits and complimentary admission to special attractions, two complimentary drink tickets, a free animal-themed mask, and special discounts at food outlets and gift shops.
When:  Two scheduled dates:
  • 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27
  • 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17
(Zoo closes to the public at 4:30 p.m. on these dates.)
Where: Saint Louis Zoo
Tickets: Advance tickets are required. No tickets available at the door. Tickets available online at stlzoo.org/nightatthezoo.
  • $25/Zoo Member; $30/Non-member
  • Free parking on Zoo lots after 4:30 p.m.
More Details:  

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St. Louis Photojournalist Documents Environmental Battles

Canoeists paddle in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo courtesy Randall Hyman.

 

Pictured: Randall Hyman

By Don Corrigan

Fresh off a story about flooding and pollution on the Upper Mississippi River, photojournalist Randall Hyman of St. Louis is using a journalism award to fund an investigation into travails of the Navajo fighting oil companies wanting a piece of their native lands.

Hyman won a coveted Society of Environmental Journalism Award to cover expenses on a project entitled, “Betrayal in the Fog of Viral War,” a story on oil and gas companies exploiting native lands in New Mexico with the help of the  White House and the Interior Department.

“This Administration’s Bureau of Land Management has been trying to give away drilling rights and fracking permits on the native lands of the Navajo Nation,” Hyman explained. “It’s a little crazy now because the fracking industry is dead in the water in this economic downturn.

“The oil and gas industry has bankruptcies right and left,” said Hyman. “The fracking industry has never been profitable and it’s collapsing now with the lack of demand for oil in this pandemic economy.”

Read more of the article below.  

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MDC Online Beginning Camping Class Aug. 13

Photo courtesy MDC.

Learn everything you’ll need to create the ultimate family nature outing at this free, virtual program.

There’s never been a better time to take a “staycation” than now. One very accessible, inexpensive, and fun family outing is a camping trip. But for those new to camping, the initial startup might seem intimidating.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is presenting a free online program to make getting a start with camping easy. MDC naturalists will present Beginning Camping Thursday, Aug. 13 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. for ages 10 and up. It’s especially tailored for novice campers and designed to take the mystery out of spending a night in the woods.

Find more information about the program and registration below.

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MDC Partnerships Help Create Green Spaces, Support Wildlife and Propel Conservation Forward.

MDC’s partnership projects, such as this pollinator plot at Cameron Golf Course in northwest Missouri, help make a difference for the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife. Photo: MDC

No one accomplishes anything alone, and through strong conservation partnerships, Missouri’s natural resources continue to be valued and supported. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is fortunate to work with numerous partner organizations that help make a difference for the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife in communities around the state. Community conservation – the practice of integrating nature into a city’s landscape – includes these impactful projects…

Read more about the MDC’s conservation projects and partners below, including grants and partnerships in the St. Louis region and across Missouri.

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