Category Archives: Local Events

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Gardeners are invited to Powder Valley Nature Center’s Native Plant Workshop and Sale April 9

Mark and Diane Burger make cut flower arrangements from the wildflowers and pollinator plots in the two acres around their Kirksville home. Photo: MDC

This in ideal introduction for homeowners and budding native gardeners, with presentations from Shaw Nature Reserve’s Scott Woodbury.

Native gardeners can arm themselves with the knowledge and plants they’ll need to establish their own native gardens at a special event hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Nature Center.

Get a head start on spring planting with Powder Valley’s Native Plant Workshop and Sale, happening Saturday, April 9 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.  Admission to the event is free and includes both opportunities to learn about native plants and to purchase them for planting at home.  The workshop is geared for beginning gardeners or native plant-curious homeowners.

Headlining the event will be a live presentation from native plant expert Scott Woodbury, horticulturalist at Shaw Nature Reserve.  Woodbury will talk about the many benefits of planting natives and how to get started doing it.  He will offer his program twice, both virtually and in-person, from 11 a.m. – noon and from 1-2 p.m.

Visitors will have the chance for self-guided exploration at a number of educational tables set up at the event.  The tables will cover topics that include how to create a rain garden, identifying and dealing with non-native invasive plants, planting to attract wildlife and pollinators, and the value of caterpillars and mason bees.  Participants can also learn about nature journaling in their own home gardens, and how to use the iNaturalist Seek mobile app to help ID plants and animals.

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Washington Park hosts CCC Co. 1743 celebration March 19

Washington State Park team members are hosting an open house celebration of Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1743 in honor of Black History Month. The open house will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, at the Thunderbird Lodge. The African American Civilian Conservation Corps Company 1743 craftsmanship can be seen throughout the park.

Washington State Park interpretive team members will be on hand to discuss the cultural and historical significance of Company 1743 and their unique contribution to the park. Photographs and artifacts from CCC Company 1743 will be on display.

Black History Month 2022’s theme is “Black Health and Wellness,” and interpretive team members will lead a guided hike on 1,000 Steps Trail at 1 p.m. to support this initiative. This trail was built by Company 1743 and displays their stonework and highlights the park’s natural resources. The hike is 1.25 miles long over a natural surface.

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Ozark Forests Find Advocates At Webster University

Protester on upturned vehicle. Photo by Orin Langelle, photojournalist, environmentalist and a graduate of Webster University 1978.

By Don Corrigan

Trees have never been so important as now. Stands of trees can help counteract harmful climate change. That’s, in part, why a national and local fight continues to halt destruction of old growth forests.

Residents interested in the fight for trees may want to attend the film, “Shawnee Showdown: Keep the Forest Standing.” The documentary will show at 7 p.m., Feb. 18, at Winifred Moore Auditorium on the campus of Webster University.

It documents a past battle in the 1980s and 1990s, when a dedicated group of activists fought on the ground and in the courts to stop clear-cutting, oil and gas drilling, and ATV use in the Shawnee National Forest located in Southern Illinois.

Jan Wilder, Rene Cook and unidentified child. Photo by Orin Langelle.

The activists were successful for a time, but the battle begins anew because the prohibition on many such activities in the Shawnee National Forest was lifted several years ago. That gives the film particular relevance.

Karla Armbruster, an English and Sustainability Studies professor at Webster University, was instrumental in bringing the documentary to campus. She cited some photos in the film that were taken by world-renowned photographer, Orin Langelle, who honed his talents in Webster’s media studies program.

“I associated this kind of protest with the Pacific Northwest and was thrilled to learn that it happened here in the Midwest,” said Armbruster. “It sounds like more activism of this kind is needed now to keep our forests healthy.

“This film offers not only a history lesson but also encouragement that ordinary people, who care, can really come together and make a difference,” she added.

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Maple Sugaring Programs Available In February At MDC’s Rockwoods Reservation

Photo: MDC

What makes winter so special for maple lovers?  For about six weeks, from mid-January to the end of February, nature cooks up its own sweet delights within sugar maple trees as the sap begins to flow, ready to be tapped for making sugar and syrup.  Anyone can learn skills to collect, boil down and, create their own maple syrup or sugar from trees they may have in their own backyards.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is presenting a series of free educational Maple Sugaring programs in February, the peak season for maple sugaring in Missouri.  The programs are free, open to all ages, and will be held at Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood.  Some of the programs will be tailored to families, and others to homeschoolers.

Participants will learn the fascinating history of maple sugaring, visit the sugar bush to see where sap is collected, and learn how to turn the sap into syrup. The entire program is outdoors, so participants should dress for the weather and wear appropriate footwear for a short hike. A portion of the trail is not stroller/wheelchair accessible.

In Missouri, this time of year is prime maple sugaring season because it produces the right weather conditions.  It has the perfect combination of below freezing temperatures at night and above freezing temperatures during the day that causes the sap to ‘flow’.”  The greater the night-to-day temperature difference, the more the sap flows.  But come March, leaves and seeds open on the trees and the sap changes, calling an end the sugar production season.  Sap from the sugar maple tree has the highest sugar content – about 3-percent – and produces the most sugar per gallon of sap collected.

The maple sugaring programs are free but advanced online registration is required at the following links.  Participants should choose the timeslots of their preference:

Read more below for dates and times of the Maple Sugaring events.

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Eagle Days Event Moves to Powder Valley Nature Center for 2022 (new format event date, Jan. 15 )

Photo: MDC

Due to a renovation work on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, Eagle Days programming is moving to Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood this year. The event will take place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15.

Few words can describe the thrill of seeing America’s national symbol soaring through the air in the wild, or close enough to touch.  During the winter, the Mississippi River hosts one of North America’s largest concentrations of bald eagles; they are drawn to areas of open water in search of fish, their preferred food.

Due to COVID-19 considerations and to ensure the safety of visitors and staff, Eagle Days will also take on a new format for 2022.  The event is free and open to all ages, but attendance will be by online pre-registration only, with six available timeslots each hour throughout the day.  Attendance numbers for each timeslot will be limited for the safety of visitors and staff.

To register, use the following links for the preferred timeslot:

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American Roadkill Book Event Benefits St. Louis Animal Rights Team, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m.

Many motorists have run over animals on the road and felt bad about it.
The momentary regret can lead to corrective action when motorists come
to realize that roadkill is driving some species to extinction.

Author Don Corrigan, who recently authored American Roadkill: The
Animal Victims of Our Busy Highways, will speak about his book and the million creatures killed daily on highways at an open meeting of the Animal Rights Team on Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Brentwood Community Center.

St. Louis Animal Rights Team is a not-for-profit educational and activist
group formed in 1985. Its goals are to promote lifestyles compatible with
animal rights and to reform U.S. institutions to end animal suffering.
Corrigan’s book is published by McFarland, which is the largest publisher of
popular culture titles in America. Corrigan is a member of the Popular
Culture Association and annually presents papers at its conferences.

In 2022, Corrigan will speak to PCA about “Roadkill and Toxic Masculinity.”
University studies show male drivers are more inclined to swerve and
deliberately kill or injure animals on roads than female motorists.

As a result of his association with PCA, Corrigan has studied the TV and
movie phenomenon of animals becoming anthropomorphic characters,
especially for children’s cinematic fare.

Corrigan asks: “What message does it send to children when we are
wantonly running over the animals they love? They love animal characters
from Slappy Squirrel to Rocky Raccoon to Squirtle the Turtle and Armadillo
B. Banjo.”

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Reporting from Ireland: A St. Louis Journalist Explores “The Troubles.”

Northern Ireland is in the news again as the implementation of Brexit by the United Kingdom brings worries that the strife of the past could be re-ignited by borders, economic upheaval and sectarian distrust.
 
Don Corrigan recently spoke on Ireland’s troubles, past and present, at the International Week sponsored by the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His Irish talk coincides with the much-praised movie, Belfast, recently opening in St. Louis.
 
Corrigan’s presentation focuses on his reporting of the Irish Troubles in Belfast and Derry at the time prior to the Easter Agreement to bring peace to Northern Ireland. He provides background on the surprises for an Irish American in covering the conflict and its emotional overtones.
 
He also touches on the film portrayals of the Irish Conflict and how those depictions have influenced perceptions in America. And, of course, he had a few things to say about Belfast.
 

Corrigan is professor emeritus of journalism and communications at Webster University in St. Louis and an editor of the Webster-Kirkwood Times newspaper group in suburban St. Louis.

 
He has reported from Ireland, Russia, Bosnia and Vietnam. He has taught global journalism at Webster campuses in Geneva and London and has presented papers on the Irish Troubles as portrayed in film at Trinity College in Dublin and in the United States.
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American Roadkill Book Event In St. Louis Benefits Missouri Animal Protection Group On Dec. 11

Novel Neighbor of Webster Groves is hosting a book signing from 7-8 p.m., Dec. 6, at its store.

A book event at Webster Groves Public Library at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 11, will feature “American Roadkill,” with sales to benefit Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation (MAAL).

 

 

For More information:
Contact Author Don Corrigan at  314-968-2699; 314-827-9989
Corrigan@timesnewspapers.com

Local motorists have had plenty of road encounters with animals ranging from
tiny squirrels to large deer that can weigh up to 250 pounds. The results are not
pretty for man or beast.

Armadillos are the latest species to take it on the chin in a big way in roadkill
accidents in Missouri. The hard-shelled tourists, originally from Texas, litter rural highways and interstates.

In his new book, “American Roadkill,” author Don Corrigan documents the million animals killed daily on American roadways. Among the casualties are man’s best friends, canines and felines, amounting to 5.4 million of the annual roadkill tally.

Is there anybody looking out for the critters that have taken such a beating in the
automobile age which began a century ago?

Corrigan documents many positive developments, among them: (read more about American Roadkill and the upcoming events below.)

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Zoo Man Charlie Hoessle Gets His Own Children’s Book

Don Corrigan will join Diane Key-Biggs and Shelley Dietrichs, the creators of A Friend to All: Charlie Hoessle, at a special book event at the Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves on Monday, Dec. 6, from 7-8 p.m. The event will include presentations on favorite animals and favorite animal lovers in St. Louis and book signings.

A Friend to All: Charlie Hoessle is a children’s book that takes a look at the life and times of the beloved former Saint Louis Zoo Director. Corrigan will give a presentation on his new book, American Roadkill: The Animal Victims of Our Busy Highways. Corrigan will give an up-beat update on all the animal lovers and groups who are working to reduce roadkill carnage on the nation’s thoroughfares. There is much progress to report!

By Don Corrigan

A familiar image of the Saint Louis Zoo’s Charlie Hoessle graces the cover of a new children’ book. Its title notes that he is a friend “to all.” The “all” includes giraffes, lions, penguins, snakes, elephants and more.

That’s as it should be, according to Shrewsbury writer Diane Key-Biggs and Kirkwood illustrator Shelley Dietrichs. Hoessle’s best friends have always been furry, scaly, hairy or even a bit slimy.

The story book notes that from an early age, Charlie cultivated the kind of friends that you can keep in your pocket, like a toad, turtle, or frog. He found it hard to make friends at school, but not in the great outdoors.

“Charlie never had trouble making friends with the animals. He loved them from an early age,” said Key-Biggs. “I think young readers will find that reassuring.

“Here is a man who never had to worry about being lonely,” said Key-Biggs. “With his love for animals, he has been a real gift for St. Louis. They broke the mold when they made Charlie.”

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Celebrate Powder Valley Nature Center’s 30th Anniversary at Autumn Festival event Oct. 29

Families enjoy the fall color by walking the trails at Powder Valley.

MDC invites the public to help celebrate Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center’s 30th anniversary at an Anniversary Autumn Festival Friday, Oct. 29 from 6-9 p.m.  This special event is free and open to the whole family. (online preregistration to attend is required.)

 

The average price for a gallon of gas was $1.14; Terminator 2: Judgement Day dominated the box office; George H. W. Bush was president of the United States, and Boyz II Men was just breaking into the music scene.  The year was 1991, and something great was happening for St. Louis-area nature lovers too—the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) opened Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center.

MDC invites the public to help celebrate Powder Valley’s 30-year anniversary at an Anniversary Autumn Festival Friday, Oct. 29 from 6-9 p.m.  This special event is free and open to the whole family.  Enjoy a beautiful fall evening with plenty of autumn-inspired outdoor activities.

Visitors will be able to go for a hayride and enjoy a bonfire complete with s’mores.  There will also be fall themed crafts, games, and other fun activities to celebrate Powder Valley’s anniversary. MDC will even provide free hotdogs, popcorns, s’mores, and drinks.

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