The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages experienced birders to become citizen scientists by helping with the National Audubon Society’s 120th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 – including about 20 counts in Missouri.
The CBC is an annual winter bird census where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many other countries in the Western Hemisphere count birds over a 24-hour period between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. Christmas Bird Counts gather data on winter bird populations to track their long-term trends. Each CBC has a coordinator that assigns portions of a 15-mile diameter count circle to participants to count all birds seen and heard. Learn more at audubon.org/conservation/join-christmas-bird-count.
Missouri hosts about 20 CBCs, some of which are listed below. If interested in participating, contact the CBC organizer listed.
For a full list of CBCs, visit audubon.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=fadfb421e95f4949bde20c29a38228bd.
MDC State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick offers these CBC tips:
- If you’ve never participated in a CBC, tell the organizer so they can place you with experienced birders.
- Share your level of birding knowledge when you contact the CBC organizer so they can make sure you’re with a team with the experience to properly identify birds seen or heard.
- Dress warmly. Most CBCs will be held regardless of weather unless inclement weather is dangerous.
- Bring snacks and beverages to stay fueled for a long day.
For more information on Missouri birds, visit MDC’s online Field Guide at nature.mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/field-guide/search.
Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Light Parade cruises the Silver Dollar City streets nightly during An Old Time Christmas with over a dozen LED light floats and numerous colorful, costumed characters.
By Don Corrigan
It’s worth a trip to Branson this holiday season to take in that Christmas Classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, as performed on stage at Silver Dollar City.
This time of year, Branson is full of lights and color and holiday cheer. And Silver Dollar City has a Christmas Parade that’s perfect to cap off a day of entertainment that includes, It’s A Wonderful Life, and other great shows.
Frankly, the live theatre production of It’s A Wonderful Life at Silver Dollar City breathes new life into a movie that airs too frequently on television this time of year. It’s so refreshing to get a new, musical take on what is admittedly one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made.
A Silver Dollar City musical adaptation of a beloved classic, A Dickens’ Christmas Carol is an hour-long Broadway-style production featuring theatrical special effects, flying ghosts and numerous set changes.
Celebrated director Frank Capra referred to the film as his personal favorite of all his movies. Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers all deliver memorable performances in the Capra favorite – and the ensemble in Branson lives up to their legacy.
My only criticism is that the Silver Dollar City production doesn’t make more of Uncle Billy and his pet squirrel as found in the movie production. And Silver Dollar City is the perfect locale to capitalize on the antics of a trouble-making squirrel.
Read more below.
by Don Corrigan
Missouri is fortunate to have a unique program that celebrates America’s great Legends of Conservation. Bruce Sassmann, along with his wife Jan, are the founders and stewards of the educational Legends of Conservation series, which is performed in Missouri’s heartland.
And who are these Legends of Conservation? They, in fact, are: Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and Aldo Leopold.
Read more below.
Photo courtesy MDC.
From December through February, Missouri’s winter eagle watching is spectacular. Discover nature with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) through Eagle Days events around the state or enjoy watching bald eagles on your own.
Because of Missouri’s big rivers, many lakes, and abundant wetlands, the Show-Me state is one of the leading lower 48 states for bald eagle viewing. Each fall, thousands of these great birds migrate south from their nesting range in Canada and the Great Lakes states to hunt in Missouri. Eagles take up residence wherever they find open water and plentiful food. More than 2,000 bald eagles are typically reported in Missouri during winter.
MDC Eagle Days Events
MDC Eagle Days events are listed below. They include live captive-eagle programs, exhibits, activities, videos, and guides with spotting scopes. Watch for eagles perched in large trees along the water’s edge. View them early in the morning to see eagles flying and fishing. Be sure to dress for winter weather and don’t forget cameras and binoculars.
Kate Sprague’s photo of a whitetail buck won first place in the Wildlife category in last year’s 2018 Powder Valley Nature Center Amateur Photography contest.
Nature photographers will have until Dec. 1 to enter images taken at the nature center and nearby MDC areas.
The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center wants to see how its visitors connect to nature with their cameras. The nature center is issuing the last call for entries in its 2019 Amateur Photography contest. Deadline for all entries will be Dec. 1.
This photo contest is free to enter for amateur photographers of all ages and includes separate categories for youth and adult photographers. To qualify, photographs must have been taken at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, or nearby Emmenegger Nature Park and Possum Woods Conservation Area, or Claire Gempp Davidson Memorial Wildlife Area.
Photo by Micah Usher, Saint Louis Zoo
A wild, arctic wonderland with over 1 million twinkling holiday lights and festive family fun awaits you at U.S. Bank Wild Lights at the Saint Louis Zoo!
2019 Event Dates – Wild Lights is open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the following dates: Friday-Sunday, Nov. 29-Dec.1 and Wednesday-Sunday, Dec. 4-8.
Find more information and event details below.
Join earthday365 and the Green Dining Alliance for the annual Taste of Green gala at St. Louis ArtWorks, 5959 Delmar Blvd., Thursday, Nov. 14, 5 – 8 p.m.
Enjoy delicious food tastings and drinks provided by Green Dining Alliance-certified restaurants, including specialty cocktails created by celebrated food writer and mixologist Matt Sorrell. You will be treated to a silent auction, fun Thanksgiving-themed raffles, a wine pull, and other activities.
This event is crucial to earthday365 in order to fund our year-round programs: The Green Dining Alliance (GDA), the only restaurant sustainability certification program in the U.S. that works with restaurants to reduce their environmental impact; and Recycling On the Go (ROG), an event recycling service program, which offers both recycling and compost collection at small and large events in the St. Louis metro area.
Buy tickets HERE.
Lesli Moylan, director of the Missouri Environmental Education Association, works with children during a program several years ago in conjunction with the YMCA. Photo courtesy of Lesli Moylan.
Missouri Environmental Education Association helps educators inspire youth people to care about, understand and act for environment.
Nature and outdoor teachers all over the state are psyched about the Missouri Environmental Education Association conference coming to St. Louis on Nov. 1-3. Lesli Moylan of Kirkwood is the new executive director of MEEA, and she’s a busy bee these days.
Photo by David Bruns and courtesy the MDC.
October is that spooky time of the year! What better time to attend a special presentation on spiders? Especially when there could be ten thousand of them lurking in your local field.
Visitors will discover the secret world of these arachnid hunters, with a chance for close encounters during this free nighttime presentation on Friday, Oct. 18 from 7-9 p.m.
Photo courtesy MDC.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What’s the name of that bug?” “What species of tree is that?” “Is that a brown-eyed or black-eyed Susan?” The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center has an event that will introduce visitors to a powerful nature discovery tool you may already have in your hand.
Join Powder Valley for the iNaturalist Family Festival Saturday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and learn about a free mobile app that can unlock an incredible body of nature knowledge for you. The free iNaturalist app can identify plants and animals around you using your smartphone’s camera, internet connection, and a comprehensive, world-wide base of expert knowledge. It also enables users to contribute valuable citizen science to its expanding database for themselves. MDC staff will conduct training sessions on using this potent app during the event.
There’s still plenty to do even if you don’t have a smartphone because this free family festival will also feature many non-electronic ways to connect with nature.