Category Archives: Outdoor/Nature

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St. Louis Photojournalist Documents Environmental Battles

Canoeists paddle in the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo courtesy Randall Hyman.

 

Pictured: Randall Hyman

By Don Corrigan

Fresh off a story about flooding and pollution on the Upper Mississippi River, photojournalist Randall Hyman of St. Louis is using a journalism award to fund an investigation into travails of the Navajo fighting oil companies wanting a piece of their native lands.

Hyman won a coveted Society of Environmental Journalism Award to cover expenses on a project entitled, “Betrayal in the Fog of Viral War,” a story on oil and gas companies exploiting native lands in New Mexico with the help of the  White House and the Interior Department.

“This Administration’s Bureau of Land Management has been trying to give away drilling rights and fracking permits on the native lands of the Navajo in Chako Reservation territory,” Hyman explained. “It’s a little crazy now because the fracking industry is dead in the water in this economic downturn.

“The oil and gas industry has bankruptcies right and left,” said Hyman. “The fracking industry has never been profitable and it’s collapsing now with the lack of demand for oil in this pandemic economy.”

Read more of the article below.  

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MDC Partnerships Help Create Green Spaces, Support Wildlife and Propel Conservation Forward.

MDC’s partnership projects, such as this pollinator plot at Cameron Golf Course in northwest Missouri, help make a difference for the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife. Photo: MDC

No one accomplishes anything alone, and through strong conservation partnerships, Missouri’s natural resources continue to be valued and supported. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is fortunate to work with numerous partner organizations that help make a difference for the state’s forest, fish, and wildlife in communities around the state. Community conservation – the practice of integrating nature into a city’s landscape – includes these impactful projects…

Read more about the MDC’s conservation projects and partners below, including grants and partnerships in the St. Louis region and across Missouri.

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MDC St. Louis Regional Office Re-Closed Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

The incidence of COVID-19 cases has seen a significant rise in recent weeks, prompting the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) to close its St. Louis Regional Office on the August A. Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles to the public. The regional office closure is effective immediately until further notice.

All outdoor spaces and fishing lakes on the conservation area remain open. The All In Bait & Tackle Shop, operated by an independent vendor, will also remain open. Visitors are reminded to observe social distancing and other COVID-19-related guidelines when on the area.

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Missouri Department of Agriculture Asks Residents to Report Unsolicited Seed Shipments

Information from the Missouri Department of Agriculture in reference to unsolicited seeds showing up in mailboxes from China. See guidance below about what to do if you or an acquaintance might receive the suspicious seeds in the mail.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has received reports from residents of unsolicited seeds being delivered from foreign countries such as China and surrounding areas. Missouri’s announcement follows several states who have also reported packages of these seeds being delivered across the United States. Consistent with nationwide reports, the packages were labeled as jewelry, specifically stud earrings, bracelets and other accessories.”

It is important to take steps to prevent the introduction of invasive species into Missouri to ensure safety of the environment, livestock and plants. The full risk associated with the seeds in question is unknown at this time. However, the seeds could be an invasive species that has the potential to destroy native plants and damage crops. Invasive species can also introduce diseases to plants and may be harmful to livestock.

If Missouri residents have received unsolicited seeds, the following guidance applies …  Continue reading from the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s announcement HERE.

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Learn About St. Louis Urban Fishing Opportunities on July 20 With The MDC

Photo courtesy MDC.

Learn what, when and where to fish for in the many fishing lakes in the St. Louis Urban Fishing program during this free presentation.

The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Urban Fishing Program (UFP) is one of the largest and oldest in the country. Started in 1969 to bring great fishing home to St. Louis residents, it has steadily grown and expanded over the decades to encompass St. Louis County, as well as the lakes located at August. A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles. Today, there are more angling opportunities year-round than ever before.

St. Louis area anglers will have the chance to learn more about the UFP at a free online program, Introduction to Urban Fishing in St. Louis. It will be held Mon., July 20, from 6:00-6:45 p.m. This virtual program will provide an opportunity to learn and ask questions about urban fishing in the metro area.

More details about the free online seminar below.

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Bubonic Plague: Is There A Killer Squirrel Virus?

By Don Corrigan

As if humans aren’t suffering enough woe from the COVID-19 pandemic, now comes word of a new outbreak of bubonic plague in squirrels. A squirrel found in Colorado on July 11 tested positive for the bubonic plague.

This is the first known case of the plague this year in Colorado and the Southwest United States.

In researching the book, “Nuts About Squirrels,” this writer found any number of cases of squirrels carrying bubonic plague in southern California in recent decades.

The plague is a bacterial disease which brought untold suffering and carnage to the Mediterranean and Europe in the Middle Ages. Also known as black death, it wiped out as many as 200 million people and literally reduced the human population of the Earth by as much as a third. Bubonic plague is spread to humans from rodents, such as rats and squirrels, although it can be transmitted to humans when fleas feed on the blood of sick rats and squirrels and then bite humans.

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Sunflowers, Sunflowers and More Sunflowers!

Photo courtesy MDC.

MDC plants sunflowers at Columbia Bottom for viewing and photo opportunities! Visitors should be able to enjoy impressive golden displays continuously through mid-August.

Sunflower fans should have the opportunity again this summer to view and photograph spectacular sunflower displays at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in North St. Louis County. Due to popular demand, Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) staff have planted additional sunflower plots again this year.

MDC staff were unable to plant last year because flood waters lingered on the area. However, conditions have been more favorable this season, so staff utilized a similar planting strategy to the one from 2018, which proved highly popular with visitors.

Spectacular sunflower fields have been an annual tradition at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area in Spanish Lake. MDC staff have been planting sunflowers for years as part of their management for mourning doves. The area is known as an excellent dove hunting destination each September. The large flowers supply seeds that entice the doves, and their lofty stalks create cover for the hunters who pursue them. Sunflowers also benefit a wide variety of other birds and pollinators.

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Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is Now Open

The Missouri Department of Conservation has reopened Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center to the public again. The nature center has been closed since March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The nature center has resumed its normal business hours of  8 am – 5 pm, Tuesday – Saturday. The trails are open every day from 8 am – 8 pm. This is a gentle reminder that pets are not allowed on the trails or in the nature center.

Please note that a St. Louis County Order requires face coverings. MDC strongly encourages visitors to wear a mask when visiting the nature center, and to observe recommended social distancing guidelines at the nature center.

Visitors will also be asked to provide contact information should it become necessary to use in the future.

For more information, visit the MDC webpage HERE.

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URBAN CHESTNUT RELEASES 2020 STL ZOO BIER

Saint Louis Zoo penguins

STL Zoo Bier raises funds and awareness for the Saint Louis Zoo’s conservation work and animal-care efforts

To raise awareness about the importance of animal welfare and conservation, the Saint Louis Zoo teamed up with Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (UCBC) in 2019 to create STL Zoo Bier, the first official beer of the Saint Louis Zoo. The seasonal release for 2020 features a new label with the king penguin, a large, majestic-looking bird native to sub-Antarctic islands. Penguin & Puffin Coast is home to king penguins at the Zoo.

The Kölsch-style beer is available at the Zoo starting this weekend and is coming soon to grocery stores and beer retailers in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County, and the Metro East area. For every case of STL Zoo Bier sold at area retailers, Urban Chestnut will donate $3 to the Saint Louis Zoo to support its animal care and conservation work. *

“We appreciate the generous support of Urban Chestnut in this collaboration that brings together a great quality local beer for adults to enjoy and the Zoo’s mission-focused work to care for animals at the Zoo and in the wild,” said Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and CEO, Saint Louis Zoo.

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The Legends of Conservation tour!

Check out the video below about how the Legends of Conservation came to live and how you can have the exhibit come to your next gathering or event.

You can also visit the Legends of Conservation website or Facebook page.