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Mark Your Calendars! The Saint Louis Zoo Opens To The Public June 13

Photo: Saint Louis Zoo/David Merritt

The Saint Louis Zoo has announced Saturday, June 13 as its reopening date for the public. As part of its commitment to the continued well-being of guests, staff and animals, and in an ongoing effort to assist the community in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Zoo has implemented enhanced protocols and procedures.

“I am excited to share the news about our reopening and I hope everyone knows that the Saint Louis Zoo values safety,” said Jeffrey Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President & CEO, Saint Louis Zoo. “I am amazed at the incredible care our staff has provided to the animals during this pandemic as well as the diligent work underway in preparation to provide our guests with safe and memorable experiences.”

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Daniel Boon Conservation Area Renovation and Multi-Use Trail Reroute 

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) work teams have completed a significant renovation and reroute to the multi-use trail on the Daniel Boone Conservation Area in Warren County near Jonesburg. The trail, which is 6.8 miles in total length, is open to hiking, biking, and equestrian use.

One of the main reasons for the reroute was to allow portions which had experienced significant wear a chance to recover. The Daniel Boone Conservation Area also encompasses the 923-acre Razor Hollow Natural Area. The project modified the route for biking and horseback use to protect sensitive resources in the area. Users are asked to follow the posted signs regarding access.

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EPA Helps To Reduce Diesel Emissions With School Bus Rebates

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a total of $1,030,000 to 23 Missouri school districts and one Missouri school bus transportation company to replace 52 older diesel school buses.

The funds are part of $11.5 million to replace 580 buses for 157 school bus fleets in 43 states and Puerto Rico, each of which will receive rebates through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) funding. The new buses will reduce pollutants that are linked to health problems such as asthma and lung damage. The program awarded the funds in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

“Earth Day’s primary goal is to protect the environment for future generations. These rebates help do just that by continuing to improve air quality across the country and providing children with a safe and healthy way to get to school,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “While many fleets are currently off the road, when these local school districts start up again, EPA and the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act have helped equip them with cleaner running buses, moving farther along the route to healthier kids and communities.”

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Visiting A Zoo Is Good For Your Health New Study Shows

Photo courtesy Saint Louis Zoo

new scientific study authored by Saint Louis Zoo researchers concludes that immersive, naturalistic exhibits in zoos can elicit positive changes in physiological and psychological measures of health and well-being of visitors. In other words – a visit to the zoo is good for your health!

The study titled “Changes in human health parameters associated with an immersive exhibit experience at a zoological institution” was published on Friday, April 17, 2020, in PLOS ONE.

“At a time when the number of people living in urban areas is on the rise, and humans and the natural world are more disconnected, we are now fully realizing why we need the human-animal-nature bond to ensure public health,” said Sharon Deem, DVM, Ph.D., Director of Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine and senior author of the study. “The evidence from this study supports the role of zoos and other green spaces in providing health benefits to zoo visitors,” said Deem.

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MDC Offers New Podcast Exploring Positive Impacts Of Nature

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is excited to announce the launch of its new podcast, Nature Boostwith a focus on the positive impact the outdoors has on each of us.

Research has shown that spending time outdoors is linked to an increase in overall physical health. Being outside has also proven to help decrease stress and anxiety, and help lower depression. For example, spending time in nature, conservation areas, backyards, and urban parks may ease stress levels, including increasing attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.

“We’re very excited to share this Nature Boost experience with both our seasoned outdoor enthusiasts and those brand new to discovering nature,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “It’s a chance to learn about the incredible natural resources we have right here in Missouri, including how those nature experiences are changing lives every day.”

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Celebrate 20 Years Of World Turtle Day on May 23

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

By Don Corrigan

People are sheltering in place during the 2020 pandemic for good reason, but on May 23 it might be nice to come out of your shell to celebrate World Turtle Day. It’s the 20th anniversary of this annual event that was founded by American Tortoise Rescue.

The purpose of World Turtle Day is to educate people about what they can do to protect the habitats of turtle and tortoises. It’s also a celebration of the great joy that these reptiles bring to so many people on a daily basis. Humans love turtles.

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Missouri State Parks cancels 2020 Katy Trail Ride

Out of an abundance of caution and to protect participants amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns, Missouri State Parks and the Missouri State Parks Foundation have cancelled the 2020 Katy Trail Ride scheduled to begin Monday, June 22.

The five-day, 240-mile annual ride, which takes travelers through many of Missouri’s rural communities, along open fields and between the Missouri River and its bordering bluffs, draws approximately 350 bicyclists from across the nation and overseas. The decision to cancel this annual event was made based on a variety of factors but the most important consideration is the safety of participants, staff and volunteers.

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Keep Wildlife Wild MDC Urges

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

As the weather warms up and more people head outside, they may encounter a variety of newborn animals. Though young wildlife oftentimes appears to be abandoned, that’s usually not the case. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds residents that interfering with wildlife can do more harm than good.

“Young animals are rarely orphaned,” said MDC State Wildlife Veterinarian Sherri Russell. “If the young is left alone, the parent will usually return. Parents are normally out searching for food and cannot constantly attend to their offspring.”

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Peanut the Turtle Doing Well After Recent Surgery

Photo of Peanut the Turtle courtesy MDC.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) says Peanut the Turtle is back at Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood after undergoing a recent surgery at the Saint Louis Zoo.

The procedure was performed by the Zoo’s assistant director of animal health, Dr. Chris Hanley, and veterinary resident, Dr. Kari Musgrave. Due to a condition known as follicular stasis, Peanut had to have both of her ovaries surgically removed. Peanut is in the process of recovering and doing well.

Peanut the Turtle has attracted attention all over Missouri, along with national and worldwide fame, as an anti-littering mascot. At a young age, the red-eared slider wandered into a plastic six-pack ring and it stuck around her shell.

Photo of Peanut the Turtle courtesy MDC.

As her shell grew, it was constricted by the plastic ring and developed an unusual, figure-eight shape. In 1993, when she was about nine years old, someone found her and brought her to the Saint Louis Zoo where the ring was removed.

They named her Peanut because of her shell’s shape and gave her to staff at MDC. Peanut has been under the care of MDC since then, where she has served as a popular ambassador for litter awareness.

Earlier this year, staff at MDC’s Powder Valley Nature Center, where Peanut lives, began noticing that something was “off” about her behavior.

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Is use of Bathroom Tissue an Environmental Issue?

by Don Corrigan

“I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.” Several readers sent this piece of humor to me about a month ago. Unfortunately, it’s still relevant in the continuing age of the 2020 Pandemic.

I shopped at several grocery stores just in the last week. The squeeze on Charmin supplies is still ongoing. The cupboards were bare at several stores, except for a sign about rationing – only one package of Charmin, Angel, Coronet or Cottonelle per customer.

Toilet paper is still one of the most coveted items for care packages being assembled at local food banks and beyond. Rolls of paper are gladly accepted at Webster-Rock Hill Ministries. State Rep. Deb Lavender, D-Kirkwood, has put out a call for this essential commodity for those in need on so many levels.

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