Category Archives: Outdoor/Nature

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MDC Marks 50th Anniversary With Year Long Celebration of St. Louis’ Urban Fishing Program

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

Read the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) story of how the Urban Fishing Program (UFP) began and how the positive influence of the outdoors was a resounding success in our urban communities.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the MDC Urban Fishing Program. MDC plans to spend 2019 celebrating and invites metro area anglers to join in.

The UFP was originally initiated in 1969 by the federal government during a time when civil unrest was causing tensions in many cities across the country. Their goal was to bring close-to-home fishing to people and infuse a positive influence into urban communities. The program launched in six cities, including St. Louis with the cooperation of MDC and the St. Louis Parks and Recreation Department. It was a resounding success in the Gateway City. MDC took over the UFP in 1972 and eventually expanded it into St. Louis County and Kansas City.

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Snow Crystals – Close Up & Personal At The Webster Groves Public Library

Photo: Webster-Kirkwood Times

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

Snow is not just for shoveling. Dr. Richard Walters of Webster Groves wants those who loathe the snow to take a new, close-up look at the white stuff. He makes it easy with his snowflake photography exhibit.

His prints on display at the Webster Groves Public Library this January offer an array of snow crystals, including needles, bullets, plates and rare capped columns. Of course, there also are the typical six-armed stellar forms that we all associate with snowflakes.“I’m into details and there’s a lot of work and care that goes into capturing the details of snowflakes,” explained Walters. “For one thing, you have to hold your breath to keep the crystals from melting and distorting when you are shooting them.”

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Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site Opens New Exhibit

The Mark Twain Birthplace State Historic Site has an exciting new exhibit on display. To protect Mark Twain’s first edition books from overexposure to light and stress on delicate spines, the museum is introducing a rotating display of Twain’s books. The plans are to spotlight just one of the author’s books at a time and to change the exhibit twice a year.

The new exhibit features the time-travel novel “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” published in 1889. This book is often called the last of Mark Twain’s best works. It features a man from 19th century New England (Mark Twain’s home at the time) traveling back in time to 6th century England. The hero confronts and tries to change a medieval world ruled by a king and his nobles and a wily magician named Merlin.

Read more from the Missouri State Parks information release below.

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New MDC Mobile App Offers Outdoor Activities At Your Fingertips

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) continues to give Missouri residents new and different ways to learn and enjoy the outdoors. Check out information from the MDC about the new mobile app!

Finding places to discover nature and enjoy outdoor activities in Missouri has just gotten easier. The (MDC) now offers its new, free mobile app – MO Outdoors. MO Outdoors users can quickly and easily find MDC outdoor offerings based on the types of outdoor activities they want close to home, work, or even while traveling.

MO Outdoors can help users find MDC conservation areas, fishing accesses, hiking trails, shooting ranges, and nature centers around the state based on their desired types of outdoor activities including birdwatching, camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, or shooting. Users can also mark “favorite” locations to quickly find them in future searches.

MO Outdoors also connects users to area regulations and season information, hours of operation, images, area closings, and interactive maps of area boundaries and features. The map function also displays features such as parking lots, boat ramps, and wildlife viewing areas, and allows users to easily navigate to the features using their device’s GPS. Users can also download maps for offline use.

MO Outdoors and MDC’s other free apps — MO Hunting, MO Fishing, and MO Con Mag – are available for download through Google Play for Android devices or the App Store for Apple devices.

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Powder Valley Nature Center to close Nov. 3-5 for managed deer hunt

Photo: MDC

Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center and its grounds will be closed Saturday, Nov. 3 through Monday, Nov. 5 to accommodate a managed archery deer hunt on the area.  During this time, the nature center building and grounds, including the surrounding trails, will not be accessible to the general public.  Powder Valley will resume normal operational hours again starting Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The goal of the three-day managed hunt is to help balance deer populations which have grown beyond what Powder Valley’s 112-acre habitat can provide for, according to MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Erin Shank.  Using data from winter survey counts, Shank estimates the deer population is approximately five times what can comfortably exist there, given the area’s size and proximity to residences and roadways.

While visitors enjoy seeing deer and the animals are an important part of the area’s wildlife population, excessive numbers cause negative impacts to other plants and animals, which also draw visitors and are equally important to the area’s biological diversity.

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Don’t Miss The Peak Time For Fall Colors! Check Out The Smokey Mountains “Fall Foliage Prediction Map!”

Each year, the Smokey Mountains website publishes an interactive “Fall Foliage Prediction Map.” The foliage map can help you plan the best weeks around the U.S. to see the peak fall colors!

To view the interactive map CLICK HERE

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Forest Park Is The Place To Be This Autumn!

Photo: Fran Mannino, West End Word

Forest Park Forever has released a fun bit of information! The organization has posted a few tips on where to view the best fall colors in the park. And there is even a guided tour of fall colors planned.

We all know Forest Park is a gorgeous place to visit any time of year, but the fall season is a colorful reminder of just how awesome nature can be. Forest Park provides a perfect environment to witness the splendor of Autumn no matter how you enjoy the park with activities, such as golfing, biking, jogging, playing tennis or visiting a museum or the Saint Louis Zoo!

Forest Park Forever’s tips and tour information is listed below.

“We’ve rounded up a list of smart tips for memorable foliage viewing in the Park. (Hint: Peak day will be November 5!) Plus: Join FPF Horticulturist and tree expert Jim Wagner on October 19 for a tour of fall colors in the Park.”

See more information about the guided tour and interactive tips about where to view fall colors in Forest Park HERE.

 

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Want Interesting Facts About The Saint Louis Zoo? Check Out Their Blog!

Photo: Saint Louis Zoo

St. Louisans love Forest Park and their Zoo! One of the zillion amazing things about our world-class Saint Louis Zoo is the fact that admission is still FREE!  This allows everyone, from every background and walk in life, to enjoy the zoo and its many learning opportunities.

The editors at Environmental Echo have had the pleasure of meeting several of the zoo’s staff members over the years. And one thing always stands out – the talented and knowledgeable people working at the zoo love what they do and love to share what they know about the animals they love, the zoo’s outstanding operations and facilities, the serious environmental challenges we face and their continuous conservation efforts.

One way to stay informed on what’s happening at the Saint Louis Zoo is by reading their online blog. Did you know the zoo had a blog?

Well, they do, and it’s a variety of interesting topics filled with insights. Did you know that some of the zoo’s catering menu has food items grown right in their own culinary garden?

How about the partnership with Ameren to help feed the animals and create mulch from tree limbs that are trimmed and removed to help prevent storm damage?

Oh, and, if you happen to browse the gift shop and take home a soapstone statuette handmade in the village of Tabaka in Kenya, the purchase helps support the village’s people and their local conservation efforts.

And, of course, news and information about the animals, along with many more interesting tidbits directly from the staff members who work at the zoo.

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A Comprehensive Look At The Valley Park Levee And Local Historic Flooding Issues

The Valley Park levee has been a tense and bitter debate since historic flooding hit the area twice in 18 months during 2015 and 2017. With any major forecasted rain or storm event, the threat of flooding is always on the minds of local residents.

This weekend, heavy rain is predicted as the last of tropical storm Gordon pushes its way into the Midwest.  (September 2018)

Environmental Echo has posted several stories and updates about the local flooding situations related to the Valley Park levee issue in the past and we wanted to share a comprehensive piece of investigative journalism we ran across from ProPublica.

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“JUST DO IT!” Is The Motto Of Fearless Kayaker Who Plans To Spend 71st Birthday On Sepik River In Papua New Guinea

Kathy Pszonka’s next exotic water tour will be on her 71st birthday — a trip on the Sepik River in New Guinea. All photos Webster-Kirkwood Times.

Kayak Crazy Kathy Pszonka plans to spend her 71st birthday this September on the waters of the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea. She will be lodging in grass huts on her trip, so candles on her cake will remain unlit.

None of Pszonka’s friends in the St. Louis Canoe and Kayak Club are at all surprised by Pszonka’s plans to float on a wily river a half world away. They know this Fenton septuagenarian’s motto is: “Just Do It!”

When it comes to getting in the water in a kayak, Pszonka has been “just doing it” for just about a score of years. She took her first kayak lesson at age 52 and fell in love with paddling low-to-the-water in these increasingly popular, eco-friendly, canoe-like boats.

Read more about Pszonka below.

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