Category Archives: Local Events

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Celebrate Peanut the Turtle’s 38th Birthday Party At Powder Valley Nature Center Nov. 19

Peanut the Turtle swims in a pond at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center.

Peanut the Turtle is turning 38, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is throwing her a birthday celebration.  The birthday partying takes place at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center Saturday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.  It’s a free event and open to all ages.

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 discarded plastic six-pack ring, and it stuck around her shell.  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, she was found in the St. Louis area and brought 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, where she has served as a popular ambassador for litter awareness.  Peanut’s permanent home is now at the nature center.

In the spirit of Peanut’s message, participants can help with litter pickups in and around Powder Valley during her birthday celebration event.  “We’ll provide MoDOT NoMOre trash bags for participants, and for each bag of trash they collect, they can enter a raffle to win prizes,” said MDC Naturalist Shelly Colatskie.  She added that participants can also qualify for the raffle by sending photos of themselves picking up litter at other places in the area.

The nature center will also serve birthday cake in honor of Peanut’s big day.  Educational programs will help make visitors aware of the environmental challenges that plastics pose and inform them about ways they can help prevent Peanut’s fate from happening to other wildlife.  Activities will also include information on Missouri Stream Teams, crafts, a chance to see live animals, and meet and greet Peanut herself.

Peanut’s 38th Birthday Celebration is free, but MDC asks visitors to preregister online at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4pm.

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Amazing Event: Webster Groves Nature/Zoo Champions Honored At Luncheon

Earlier this fall, a “Dine & Discuss Luncheon” at Cyranos Restaurant in St. Louis took up the subject of nature and outdoors champions covered in author Don Corrigan’s book, Amazing Webster Groves.

The book covers such Webster notables as Jack Lorenz of the Izaak Walton League and celebrated outdoor photographer Joseph Sohm.

At the luncheon, St. Louis Zoo Director Emeritus Charlie Hoessle talked about the contributions to world zoos by George Schaller and William Conway, both WGHS graduates. Rich Thoma talked about the legacy of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society.

For a full rundown on the discussion, check out the coverage of the luncheon in the Webster University Journal. Click on the link below:

 

‘Dine & Discuss’ at Cyrano’s Cafe shines light on Webster Groves

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An Introduction To Nature’s Musician Kevin Renick

Kevin Renick is a music teacher, songwriter, nature lover, and it all comes together in his performance work. He credits his interest in birding walks for many of his music successes.
“Wandering around in remote woodlands, vast fields, marshlands and river edges looking for birds gave me a very early appreciation for the diversity of the natural world and the notion of landscapes,” said Renick. “My interest as a youngster shaped my aesthetic in profound ways.
“When I turned 12, my interest in birds became so intense that my mom started looking for an organization I could join. She found the Webster Groves Nature Study Society,” said Renick. “I was the youngest kid to participate and I started going on their regular birding trips, an activity that changed the way I viewed the world, nature as a whole, and yes, music.
Renick said he loves walking in the woods and his birding expeditions. All of this gets sprinkled into his music, and it inspired his most famous song, “Up In The Air,” which was used for the 2009 George Clooney movie by the same name.  It spells out a key influence for him:
“I’m out in the woods
Something here does my heart so good
I breathe the air and I know that I’m alive
And I stare at all the birds as they fly by
I guess it all comes down to them
Cause they’re up in the air.”
To Learn More About Kevin Renick, check out this story that appeared recently in the Webster-Kirkwood Times:
 
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Fulfilling Their Dream
Songwriters at Meramec Produce Their Greatest Hits Album
 
by Don Corrigan
Okay. So what if it hasn’t taken off like the “Eagles’ Greatest Hits” – a group of Meramec students are still flying high with their CD entitled, “Time To Write A Song.” It’s billed as a music album about love, death, bad drivers and existential issues.
The CD is the brainchild of Kevin Renick. His continuing education class at St. Louis Community College at Meramec in Kirkwood is titled: “Songwriting: The Art and Discipline.” Students learn that songwriting is an art, but it only happens with a little discipline.
“I start by telling my classes that to write songs you have to have something to say,” declared Renick. “Tell us lyrically and musically, why we should care. Don’t tell us you just found a new girlfriend.

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Fall Color Tram Tour of the Katy Trail, Oct. 19-20, 2022

Experience the dramatic scenery and fall colors along the Missouri River bluffs during the Fall Colors Tram Tours on Wednesday, Oct. 19 and Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.

The two-hour, round-trip tours will take visitors on the Katy Trail between Rocheport and McBaine in the comfort of an open-air tram coach. This 9-mile section of the trail is known for its fall colors along the bluffs and striking views of the Missouri River. As riders enjoy the scenery, interpretive guides will explain the natural history and cultural features along the trail. The tours are free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children age 12 and under.

Tours will depart from Rocheport at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on both days. Advance registration is required. To register, please call the Katy Trail State Park office at 573-449-7422 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or register online HERE.

Each tour consists of six trams, with each tram providing seating for 20 people. In the event of inclement weather, the tours will be canceled.

The tours are cosponsored by Missouri State Parks and Boone Electric Cooperative.

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Native Plant Sale at Roeslein & Associates, Sept. 30, 2022

Photo: celandine poppy by Mervin Wallace.

Four Grow Native!® professional members will sell a variety of native seeds, wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, vines, and sedges.

The Missouri Prairie Foundation® (MPF) and host, Roeslein & Associates, will hold a native plant sale on Friday, September 30, 2022, at 9200 Watson Road, St. Louis, MO, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Gaylena’s Garden, Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, Papillon Perennials, and River City Natives will supply a variety of native plants for your landscaping needs. These Grow Native! professional members will donate five percent of plant sale proceeds to support MPF’s conservation work, and Roeslein & Associates will match this amount.

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Protecting our Pollinators Event at Powder Valley Nature Center, event Sept. 17

Photo: MDC

Nature’s pollinating insects have our backs every day.  Scientists estimate at one out of every three bites of food we eat is there thanks to pollinating insects and other animals.  Did you know approximately 35% of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce?  That also includes the peppers and tomatoes we grow in our own gardens, or the blackberries we might enjoy collecting in nature.  Without our pollinators, we would be starving.

Since pollinators do so much for us, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites you to help them out too.  MDC’s Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is hosting the Protecting our Pollinators event, on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It’s a special event to celebrate these silent, but essential heroes of the insect and animal world.  Some of Missouri’s most important pollinators include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and moths.  The event is free and welcomes people of all ages and will include educational booths, presentations, and activities to help the whole family appreciate pollinators.

The presentations during the event will take place in the nature center’s auditorium and will include the following topics:

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St. Louis Suburbs Hit: Hard One-in-1,000 Year Rains Make A “Summer of Flash Floods”

Kirkwood residents watched in amazement on July 26 when storms turned Sugar Creek into a raging river.

by Don Corrigan

St. Louis and its suburbs have been bombarded by extreme precipitation events. That includes record-shattering rains that delivered a “Summer of Flash Floods” for 2022.

Thunderstorms in July delivered devastating flooding, including one on July 26 and another on July 28. The storms hit especially hard in Kirkwood, Webster Groves, Rock Hill, Brentwood and University City.

Area waterways such as the River Des Peres, Shady Creek, Deer Creek and Gravois Creek “flashed” out of their banks. The water receded in a matter of hours, but left mud, trees, home debris and thousands of dollars in damage.

The one-in-1,000 year rain events prompted national news coverage. Sean Hadley, spokesman for the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD), summed it up for the Washington Post: “It was just too much water.”

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Kayak the Meramec River on Aug. 11

Join park naturalists for a guided interpretive kayak trip on the Meramec River from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11. Participants will learn about the diversity of life found in and along the Meramec River.

The trip begins and ends at Robertsville State Park. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and have previous experience paddling a kayak on moving water. Preregistration is required and there is a fee of $20 per person. To reserve your spot, call Erik Otto at 636-257-3788. Participants with reservations will receive trip logistics.

Robertsville State Park is located eight miles east of I-44 on Route O, near Roberstville. For more information, call 636-257-3788.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com. Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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Discover Nature Schools Nature Unhooked Teacher Training Workshop Aug. 20

Photo: MDC

Teachers will learn about this free program that provides grant funding for middle school science units.

The Missouri Department of Conservation invites teachers to attend a Discover Nature Schools (DNS) teacher training workshop for Nature Unhooked, the DNS aquatic instructional unit designed for grades 6-8.  This program provides grant funding for middle school life science units to help cover equipment costs and field trips.

The workshop will be held Saturday, Aug. 20 from 8:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood.  The workshop is free of charge for educators.  Registration is required. (see link and more information at end of this post.) The nature center is located at 11715 Cragwold Road, near the intersection of I-270 and I-44.

“The Discover Nature Schools program is an excellent way to connect students of all ages with the benefits of outdoor learning and provides a place-based, experiential, approach to science education focusing on Missouri plants, animals and natural systems,” said MDC Conservation Educator David Bruns.

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Creatures of Myth and Legend Featured at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park

Join team members at Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park in welcoming the World Bird Sanctuary for a special Father’s Day program at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 19.

The World Bird Sanctuary will showcase creatures of myth and legend. Guests are invited to bring their own myth and legend – their father – to celebrate the special day. Participants will meet at the Henry Babler Enclosed Shelter at the Guy Park Trailhead. Signs will direct guests from there.

Dr. Edmund A. Babler Memorial State Park is located at 800 Guy Park Drive in Wildwood, west of St. Louis.

For more information, please call 636-458-3813.