Category Archives: Outdoor/Nature


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.



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.


MDC reminds people to celebrate safely!

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

As people celebrate this summer, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminds everyone to be careful with fireworks, campfires, and other sources of fire that could cause a wildfire.

FIREWORKS: Don’t light fireworks in any areas where the sparks could ignite dry grass, leaves, or other potential fire fuel. Always have an approved fire extinguisher and an available water supply to douse sparks or flames. Wet the area around where fireworks are being discharged. Check with local ordinances and authorities for bans on fireworks and open burning.

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DNR Reminds Missourians To Be Aware Of Potential Harmful Algae Blooms In Waterways This Summer

Photo: Missouri Department of Natural Resources

People should be able to identify blooms and know potential health risks and the symptoms of exposure.

As people head out to enjoy the outdoors this summer, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources wants everyone to stay safe by being aware of possible harmful algae blooms in Missouri waterways. It is important to know what harmful algae blooms are, how to identify them and understand the potential health risks both to people and their pets.

Harmful algae blooms are clusters of cyanobacteria, often referred to as blue-green algae, that can grow in lakes, ponds and slow-moving or pooled streams. Cyanobacteria are capable of producing dangerous toxins that can cause illness and even death in people and animals. While they typically appear during summer and early fall, harmful algae blooms can occur any time of year.
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Daniel Boon Conservation Area Renovation and Multi-Use Trail Reroute 

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) work teams have completed a significant renovation and reroute to the multi-use trail on the Daniel Boone Conservation Area in Warren County near Jonesburg. The trail, which is 6.8 miles in total length, is open to hiking, biking, and equestrian use.

One of the main reasons for the reroute was to allow portions which had experienced significant wear a chance to recover. The Daniel Boone Conservation Area also encompasses the 923-acre Razor Hollow Natural Area. The project modified the route for biking and horseback use to protect sensitive resources in the area. Users are asked to follow the posted signs regarding access.

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Visiting A Zoo Is Good For Your Health New Study Shows

Photo courtesy Saint Louis Zoo

new scientific study authored by Saint Louis Zoo researchers concludes that immersive, naturalistic exhibits in zoos can elicit positive changes in physiological and psychological measures of health and well-being of visitors. In other words – a visit to the zoo is good for your health!

The study titled “Changes in human health parameters associated with an immersive exhibit experience at a zoological institution” was published on Friday, April 17, 2020, in PLOS ONE.

“At a time when the number of people living in urban areas is on the rise, and humans and the natural world are more disconnected, we are now fully realizing why we need the human-animal-nature bond to ensure public health,” said Sharon Deem, DVM, Ph.D., Director of Saint Louis Zoo Institute for Conservation Medicine and senior author of the study. “The evidence from this study supports the role of zoos and other green spaces in providing health benefits to zoo visitors,” said Deem.

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MDC Offers New Podcast Exploring Positive Impacts Of Nature

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is excited to announce the launch of its new podcast, Nature Boostwith a focus on the positive impact the outdoors has on each of us.

Research has shown that spending time outdoors is linked to an increase in overall physical health. Being outside has also proven to help decrease stress and anxiety, and help lower depression. For example, spending time in nature, conservation areas, backyards, and urban parks may ease stress levels, including increasing attention spans and creative problem-solving skills by as much as 50 percent.

“We’re very excited to share this Nature Boost experience with both our seasoned outdoor enthusiasts and those brand new to discovering nature,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “It’s a chance to learn about the incredible natural resources we have right here in Missouri, including how those nature experiences are changing lives every day.”

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Celebrate 20 Years Of World Turtle Day on May 23

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

By Don Corrigan

People are sheltering in place during the 2020 pandemic for good reason, but on May 23 it might be nice to come out of your shell to celebrate World Turtle Day. It’s the 20th anniversary of this annual event that was founded by American Tortoise Rescue.

The purpose of World Turtle Day is to educate people about what they can do to protect the habitats of turtle and tortoises. It’s also a celebration of the great joy that these reptiles bring to so many people on a daily basis. Humans love turtles.

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