Category Archives: Outdoor/Nature

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Find Adventure With The MDC’s “MO Outdoors” App!

The sights and sounds of nature are distinct and unique during winter months, which makes now a great time to get outside and discover nature. Looking for places to enjoy outdoor activities in Missouri such as hiking, birdwatching, camping, shooting, fishing, and hiking? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has an app for that.
With MDC’s free mobile app — 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. Learn more at missouriconservation.org/mooutdoors

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New Missouri State Parks Director Named

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources today named Mike Sutherland as director of its Division of State Parks.

Sutherland has served as acting division director since Nov. 15, when former Division Director Ben Ellis retired. Prior to that, Sutherland served as deputy division director since joining the department in June 2017.

Before joining the Department of Natural Resources, Sutherland served as policy director for a nonprofit organization focused on budget and tax policy. His additional previous experiences include serving as the executive director of the Boonslick Regional Planning Commission, a state representative and the Warren County assessor.

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Nature Experienced In The Classroom

Photo: Courtesy MDC

By Don Corrigan (South County Times)

It’s not exactly a dog-eat-dog world out there, but it certainly is competitive. Plants compete for sunlight. Songbirds compete for nesting sites. Predators compete for prey. And teachers compete to be the best educators they can be.

Recently, some highly-motivated teachers from across the St. Louis region convened on Powder Valley Nature Conservation Center to sharpen their skills and knowledge for teaching ecology.

The Discover Nature Schools Workshop was led by David Bruns, conservation education consultant with the Missouri Department of Conservation. Bruns encouraged teachers to get outside with their students and become familiar with the natural world.

“This is a fabulous opportunity to help teachers enable their students to experience authentic conservation practices first hand within a Missouri context,” explained Bruns, prior to the workshop on Jan. 6.

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The Rich Histories Of Our River Towns

Photo: Ursula Ruhl

By Don Corrigan (South County Times)

On wintry days with cold rain, ice and snow, most people of sound mind and body are warming by the gas fire and flat screen or doing yoga at the rec center. They are not thinking about their Meramec River heritage.

Sunset Hills and Fenton residents should think twice before turning their backs on the river. The muddy Meramec borders parts of each city and it’s a part of each city’s rich history.

To know a little bit about that history, it’s not at all necessary to scour library book shelves or to pound the right search words on a keyboard to find archival material on the World Wide Web. Actually, you can just put on your mukluks, a coat and ear muffs – and hit the trails on each side of the river.

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Rockwoods Reservation Hosts Winter in the Woods Festival (Formerly known as the Maple Sugar Festival)

The popular annual Maple Sugar Festival has expanded to embrace even more aspects of winter to become the Rockwoods Reservation Winter in the Woods Festival. The free, family event takes place Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

The dead of winter is anything but dead. Just because the temperatures drop, doesn’t mean it’s time to stay inside. Anyone willing to put on an extra layer and venture out can experience nature in a whole new way.

Leaf-free trees offer breathtaking vistas hidden other times, trails and natural areas are decorated with snow and ice, local fishing spots have just as many fish and fewer anglers, bird feeders explode to life with cardinals, juncos and woodpeckers, and sap flows through sugar maple trees that can tapped into sweet treats.

To celebrate everything wintertime offers, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is holding the Winter in the Woods Festival again this year. This free family event takes place Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Rockwoods Reservation in Wildwood.

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Rock Island Line Corridor One Step Closer

Pictured: A portion of Grant’s Trail. This newly signed agreement opens the door for another classic trail, like the Great Rivers Greenway trail system in the St. Louis area.

Department of Natural Resources and Ameren Missouri’s Missouri Central Railroad sign agreement on Rock Island Line Corridor.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources recently signed an Interim Trail Use Agreement with Missouri Central Railroad Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ameren Missouri, paving the way for the future railbanking of 144 miles of the former Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad corridor, which stretches from Windsor to Beaufort, Missouri. The Interim Trail Use Agreement ensures the preservation of the former railroad corridor for future transportation use and facilitates the eventual donation of the property to the department for recreational trail use.

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St. Louis County To Allow Controlled Deer Hunts In Parks

Photo by Diana Linsley, Webster-Kirkwood Times.

“Our goal is not to eliminate the deer population – just to control their numbers,” said Fitch. “The MDC has been having managed deer archery hunts in state parks within St. Louis County for many years. What we want to do in county parks is no different.”

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood had a successful deer hunt this November to thin the population. St. Louis County officials have been consulting with the center for advice on addressing deer issues in county parks.

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Forest Park Forever Receives 2019 Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award

Jeffery P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President & CEO, Saint Louis Zoo (left) next to Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., President & Executive Director, Forest Park Forever (center) and Lisa Kelley, Ph.D., Executive Director, Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute (right). Accepting the 2019 Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award for Forest Park Forever was Hoffarth. The Conservation Award and three community awards were presented at the Zoo’s 28th Annual Marlin Perkins Society Celebration on Nov. 13, 2019. Photo courtesy S. Carmody Photography.

The Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award was recently presented to Forest Park Forever. For over 30 years, the nonprofit conservancy has worked to enhance the ecological diversity of Forest Park and create the recreational and educational opportunities for students and adults that make Forest Park the number one city park in the country.

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Learn More About Missouri’s Legends of Conservation

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.

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Time To Capture Loose Squirrels For Thanksgiving Dinners

As Thanksgiving approaches, a popular St. Louis Restaurant is advising its employees in the restrooms to wash their hands before returning to work and to catch any loose squirrels in the neighborhood. Will any of those squirrels end up in the eateries’ frying pans or the crock pots? Probably not, but they should!
Squirrels are sustainable food and quality protein sources. They belong in the stuffing and the Brunswick stews that are often on the Thanksgiving table. Ted Nugent provides dozens of squirrel dish suggestions in his book, “Kill It, And Grill It.”

Squirrels provided essential sustenance in early America and deserve far more credit for keeping Colonial settlements nourished. Squirrels certainly merit more accolades as early American culinary offerings than do turkeys, which have received undue attention thanks to the mythology that surrounds the first Thanksgiving dinner of the Pilgrims. Squirrel meat was, in fact, the real meal deal in North America both before and after the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

The author of the popular squirrel treatment, “Nuts About Squirrels: The Rodent That Captured Popular Culture,” will talk about every aspect of the furry animals at a number of venues in December and in the new year of 2020. Author Don Corrigan’s next squirrel talk and squirrel squib signing will be at Eden Seminary in Webster Groves from 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4th, courtesy of OASIS.