Category Archives: Outdoor/Nature

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NOW OPEN: MDC’s Powder Valley Nature Center in Kirkwood!

Photo courtesy MDC.

Building admittance is currently limited to the front desk, but trails and grounds remain fully accessible to the public.

The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is now open for limited public access, following a COVID-19-related closure. The building’s operating hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., until further notice.

Powder Valley’s front desk is available to the public for information or gift shop and permit sales. Due to ongoing public health and safety concerns, the rest of the building, including the exhibit galleries and classrooms, are currently not accessible. To help minimize person-to-person contact, one person or family will be allowed into the building at a time.

The nature center’s outdoor spaces, including all trails, remain open and fully accessible to the public.

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PANDEMIC CAN’T STOP HELLBENDER CONSERVATIONISTS FROM SAVING AN ENDANGERED SPECIES

Over 1,000 hellbenders from Saint Louis Zoo released into native Ozark rivers by Missouri Department of Conservation this summer

Hellbender at the Saint Louis Zoo. Photo by Ray Meibaum, Saint Louis Zoo

Over 1,000 Ozark and eastern hellbenders raised from eggs at the Saint Louis Zoo were released into their native Missouri Ozark rivers this summer by Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) State Herpetologist Jeff Briggler, Ph.D., in cooperation with the Zoo and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). Since 2008, more than 8,600 Saint Louis Zoo-raised endangered hellbenders (664 eastern and 7,977 Ozark) have been reintroduced to the wild in Missouri.

The successful 2020 reintroductions almost didn’t happen, though, due to COVID-19. The team of scientists from MDC and the Zoo collaborated on a detailed plan that focused on personal safety of team members, while also providing the best care for the hellbenders and conservation of this species.

“The process was quite a bit different this year, with a lot of careful coordination on everyone’s part,” said Briggler. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the restoration team’s priority was to reduce contact and maintain social distancing among individuals. To achieve this, animal transfers from the Zoo staff to the state herpetologist occurred in open air parking lots. Crews releasing hellbenders also were reduced and limited to two individuals per boat. “Even with these safety precautions, release quotas of hellbenders were achieved and successfully conducted,” said Briggler.

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Enjoy a Missouri Autumn With MDC’s Fall Color Forecast

Missouri will continue to offer beautiful views for outdoor social distancing as the fall season gets underway. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) offers weekly online fall color updates from agency foresters all over the state at mdc.mo.gov/fallcolor.

“The fall color report is a great resource for those wanting to enjoy the changing foliage,” said MDC Community Forester Ann Koenig. “It shows users where trees are beginning to turn and also suggests the best places to view the changing leaves.”

Generally, the changing of the leaves is predictable, but it can vary from year to year depending on the weather. Koenig explained that a windy fall or early hard freeze can dampen the fall color in trees due to the fact the leaves blow off the trees or freeze.

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Have A Large Evergreen That Needs To Be Removed?

Photo courtesy MDC.

Donate the tree to The Missouri Department of Conservation to be used as the governor’s mansion Christmas tree.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is conducting its annual search for a large Christmas tree for use on the governor’s mansion lawn in Jefferson City. MDC is asking landowners, homeowners, businesses, and communities that may have possible candidate trees to contact the Department.

To qualify, the donated tree must be about 40-feet tall and be an eastern red cedar, Norway spruce, or white pine that is fully branched on all sides and accessible by large equipment.

The right tree may either be near the end of its life or may need to be removed for other reasons. Once a tree is selected, MDC staff will coordinate the cutting and delivery of the tree to the governor’s mansion at no cost to the owner. The donor will receive a thank-you from the governor and an invitation to the lighting ceremony, which usually occurs the first week of December.

“Sometimes there are beautiful evergreens that need to be removed for home expansion, utility work, or they’ve grown too large for the space,” says MDC Community Forestry Coordinator Russell Hinnah. “Having your tree displayed at the governor’s mansion is a great way to share its beauty with thousands of Missourians who visit the mansion during the holidays.”

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Citizen Science Opportunity, MDC

Photo: MDC

Get outside and enjoy nature! Check out this information from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Do you enjoy learning to identify new animals and plants? Do you enjoy contributing to citizen science? Help us document plant and animal life at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center by contributing to our iNaturalist Biodiversity Project!

 

 

1. iNaturalist is FREE

2. Go to iNaturalist.org to download the free smartphone app and create an account

3. On the app, click the camera button to take a photo of a plant or animal

4. Click on “What did you see?” and try to enter the best guess using the drop-down box with suggestions. Don’t worry, others will review your identifications

5. If your photos are taken at Powder Valley, the location and project will automatically choose Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center Biodiversity Project

6. Click on the Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center Biodiversity Project to see what has been observed, who has observed, and how many species we have documented

7. For fun for the entire family and some practice before you sign up for iNaturalist, download  Seek, by iNaturalist, a smartphone app. This app works to identify your picture immediately providing you animal or plant identification and information.

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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 Nation,” 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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