Category Archives: Outdoor/Nature

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Climate Change Chases Armadillos North

Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation.

 

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

Possums on the half-shell, otherwise known as nine-banded armadillos, are no longer just showing up as roadkill on Missouri roadways. The critters are finding their way onto golf courses, lawns and backyard gardens.

Missouri Department of Conservation officials recently sent out an advisory that these visitors from Texas are now here to stay. And residents need to be aware of their “strange skills” and the problems they pose for highway drivers, gardeners and residents seeking to trap and dispose of the unusual, bacteria-laden animals.

“I’ve been seeing more and more of them dead along the highways on my Missouri travels,” said Kirkwood’s Bill Ruppert, president of Ruppert Gardens & Chicken Ranch.

“I recently saw one that was hit in the middle of the road and I stopped to get a look before the turkey vultures – what I call nature’s undertakers – had a chance to take care of him. Armadillos really are some odd-looking little animals.”

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“Climate Change Was On My Mind…”

Don Corrigan at Rocky Falls. Photo by Emery Styron

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

After three major floods in four years, a lot of Missourians living in flood plains are throwing in the towel — and a very wet one at that. They also have become believers in climate change, because seeing is believing.

Climate change was on my mind a few weeks ago when riding my bike on the Meramec Greenway. Actually, there was very little greenway left to ride. Most of the trail was under water. So I rode on top of the Valley Park Levee and a stretch of Marshall Road between flood barricades and the flood waters.

“This seems to be happening every year now,” I said to myself, while swatting mosquitoes; watching tadpoles swim over the roadway; and enjoying herons in flight over the waves of Tree Court Industrial Park and the fields of the Kirkwood Athletic Association.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about climate change in this space, but it’s not for a lack of material. Among the materials on my desk for reviewing:

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Wetland Restoration Along Gravois Greenway: Grant’s Trail

Great Rivers Greenway posted a video detailing plans for the Gravois Greenway. Please take a moment to learn about the upcoming plans.

Construction to connect the Gravois Greenway: Grant’s Trail and River des Peres Greenway continues despite heavy rains and historic flooding throughout the region. While work in certain areas of the project has been put on pause due to conditions, work in other areas is set to begin. Work to restore a wetland area near Gravois Creek and to construct a raised greenway through this flood prone area will soon get underway! We caught up with the project’s architect – Vern Remiger of DGRE Studio – to learn more about the wetland area and the restoration project.

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Don Corrigan Takes Flight On New ZipTour At Hidden Valley!

Don Corrigan takes the ZipTour at Hidden Valley in Wildwood. Photo WKT.

It was an uphill climb to get Wildwood city officials to approve the new recreational zip lines for Hidden Valley, but now the $2.5 million ZipTour project is complete. Outdoor adventurers will be riding high this summer at a site best known for winter ski fun.

Tim Boyd, a 1971 graduate of Lindbergh High School, is used to uphill climbs. Boyd came up with the idea for a ski resort at the 250 acres of Hidden Valley back in the early 1980s. All of the business people he approached for financial backing for his plan were skeptics.

A ski resort in Missouri? Really?

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Damaged Trails, Wetland Restoration and New Boardwalk

Rendering of new boardwalk (part of greenway) across restored wetland. Courtesy Great Rivers Greenway.

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

As the waters slowly recede from a record 2019 flood – both in terms of duration and height of crests – hikers and bikers are coping with mud, sand, tree limbs, plastic bottles and other debris on some of their favorite trails.

In a few cases, asphalt has been washed out on trails posing a potential crash hazard for bikers. In other cases, cracked tree branches dangling above trails can present serious obstructions or danger to those daring to hike or bike underneath the large limbs.

“We are getting phone calls from trail users about debris and other issues,” said Anne Milford, communications coordinator for Great Rivers Greenway. “We welcome those calls, because our office cannot monitor what’s happening on all of our 125-plus miles of trail.

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Honeybee and Pollinator Numbers Suffer This Past Winter

Photo by Holly Shanks

A recent story in the Webster-Kirkwood Times by Joe Leicht highlighted a concerning amount of honeybees dying off this past winter. Please take a few minutes and read about what is happening to our important pollinators.

Excerpt below from the article, “What’s Happening To Our Honey Bees?

But those bees that once seemed to cover nearly every clover bud are far from ubiquitous these days. In fact, wildlife biologists have been tracking their steady decline over the past 10 years. Nicole Miller-Struttmann, a renowned expert on bees and a professor at Webster University, is one of those scientists. …

“I remember as a kid driving on vacation with my family and having to clean the dead insects off the windshield whenever we’d stop for gas. It isn’t just bees and butterflies — the pollinators — there is increasing evidence that insects in general are declining in numbers,” said Miller-Struttmann, a Webster Groves native.

This spring, Miller-struttmann and other academics were dismayed by studies that indicated the number of honeybees that survived the winter dropped precipitously.

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Don Corrigan Talks Squirrels With Jean Ponzi

Don Corrigan talks with Jean Ponzi on her popular KDHX radio/podcast “Earthworms.” Ponzi jumps into all things squirrels with Corrigan in this fun and informative interview.

 

KDHX Earthworms goes nuts as Don Corrigan talk Squirrels with host Jean Ponzi, proving that Pop Culture and enviro purpose can truly hole up together.

Hear the Earthworms radio/podcast interview HERE.

Check out the upcoming lectures and book signings by Don Corrigan below.

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Missouri Department of Agriculture Announces “Senior Farmers” Market Nutrition Program

Program details released by the Missouri Department of Agriculture will offer Low-income seniors in the Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield regions vouchers to purchase fresh produce from local farmer’s markets.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture announced that the Missouri Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is up and running for the summer. Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services, the SFMNP assists low-income seniors in obtaining fresh, Missouri Grown produce and injects up to nearly $200,000 into the farmers’ market community. Through the program, more than 4,100 households may be touched.

Read more from the Missouri Department of Agriculture below, including where to apply for program vouchers.

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Help The Saint Louis Zoo – Drink More Beer!

Care about conservation? Care about the Saint Louis Zoo? If the answer is yes, then here is how you can help – DRINK MORE BEER!
The Saint Louis Zoo and Urban Chestnut Brewing Company have teamed up to create a new beer, Grizzly Ridge Kölsch, and $3 will be donated to the Zoo for every case sold.
Read more about the new beer and the collaboration from the Saint Louis Zoo below.

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105.7 FM – The Point Radio On-Air Personality Jeff Burton Takes Fans Hiking

105.7 The Point Radio personality Jeff Burton led a group of nearly 50 station listeners on a hike through Rockwoods Reservation last month. Burton cites hiking as helping him overcome some heath challenges he’s experienced. All photos courtesy MDC.

Jeff Burton, an on-air personality at 105.7-The Point radio station, went hiking with listeners of the Rizzuto Morning Show recently. The Missouri Department of Conservation posted a recap of the hiking event. See the MDC story below.

Burton is no stranger to Rockwoods Reservation. He treks the area’s trails regularly as one of his favorite hiking destinations. For him hiking is more than a recreation, however; it’s been pivotal to helping him turn the corner on a health crisis.

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