by Don Corrigan
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Building admittance is currently limited to the front desk, but trails and grounds remain fully accessible to the public.
The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is now open for limited public access, following a COVID-19-related closure. The building’s operating hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., until further notice.
Powder Valley’s front desk is available to the public for information or gift shop and permit sales. Due to ongoing public health and safety concerns, the rest of the building, including the exhibit galleries and classrooms, are currently not accessible. To help minimize person-to-person contact, one person or family will be allowed into the building at a time.
The nature center’s outdoor spaces, including all trails, remain open and fully accessible to the public.
Women have always been in the forefront of the fight to protect the outdoors and the environment in St. Louis and nationally. That was part of the message that Environmental Echo Editor Don Corrigan emphasized in a prepared statement for his induction into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame on Oct. 3.
LEARN HOW TO EAT WELL OUTDOORS AT MDC VIRTUAL COOKING FOR CAMPING AND HIKING CLASS SEPT. 30
Having food when venturing outdoors might be essential for survival. Having good food is certainly essential for fun. What’s the best way to prepare food when away from the comforts and conveniences of a modern kitchen? What will you need to bring? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is offering an online class that can help take the mystery out of making great meals in the wild.
Outdoor Cooking for Camping and Hiking is a free virtual class which will be held Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 6-6:45 p.m. The class will include an interactive Q&A session via online chat. (Online registration is required.)
Participants will learn how to cook outdoors whether they’re camping in one place for an extended period, or they need to keep things light while on the move. Heat is crucial for cooking, and the program will cover various ways to start a fire. It will look at different types of heat delivery options, including portable hiking and camping stoves. Tools and utensils needed for cooking and baking in the field will also be addressed, along with other special considerations when prepping food outdoors.
For more information and registration details see below.
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.
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.”
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 power. Twin 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.
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.