Category Archives: Outdoor/Nature

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.

Continue reading

Image

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.

Continue reading

Image

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.

Continue reading

Image

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.

Continue reading

Image

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.

Continue reading

Image

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.

Image

Tree Killing Invasive Emerald Ash Borer Now Found In 75 Missouri Counties

 

Emerald Ash Borer has been detected in 75 Missouri counties since 2008. All photos courtesy MDC.

Since the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was first detected in Missouri in July 2008, this tree-killing pest has spread to a total of 75 Missouri counties and the City of St. Louis.

 

 

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reports the presence of EAB in 16 new counties across Missouri. Collaborative efforts by MDC staff, Missouri Department of Agriculture inspectors, and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service officers, EAB has been detected in Benton, Boone, Cooper, Douglas, Holt, Howard, Howell, Linn, Montgomery, Morgan, Nodaway, Osage, Ozark, Pettis, Putnam, and Randolph counties this year.

EAB is a small, metallic green beetle native to Asia that attacks all species of ash trees, including Missouri’s native green ash and white ash. In its larval stage, the insect kills ash trees by feeding on the vascular tissues just under the bark, slowly cutting off the trees’ flow of water and nutrients. Unfortunately, EAB kills more than 99 percent of the ash trees it attacks.

EAB will likely be found statewide within the next few years, prompting MDC Forest Entomologist Robbie Doerhoff to urge Missourians with ash trees in their yard to make a plan now to either remove those trees or treat them with an insecticide.

Read more from the MDC release below about the invasive EAB and information about how to determine if  trees are infected and preventive measures to help save trees from the EAB.

Continue reading

Image

Trout Fishing Opportunities Just Got Bigger This Winter For St. Louis Area Residents

Photo by MDC Staff, courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

The Missouri Department of Conservation celebrates 50 years of urban fishing by stocking 10 pound rainbow trout in select St. Louis lakes.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of its Urban Fishing Program (UFP) this year. Since 1969, the UFP has grown from a limited experiment to an expanded and robust program providing close-to-home fishing for St. Louis area citizens.  These opportunities include pursuing rainbow trout during the winter in select UFP lakes.

In that same theme of making things bigger, MDC will stock an increased number of extra-large lunker rainbow trout this season at its UFP lakes in honor of the 50th anniversary. Some of these giants could tip the scales at 10lbs.

“St. Louis-area trout anglers might need to buy some heavier tackle,” said Fisheries Management Biologist Kevin Meneau.

Continue reading

Image

Here’s How You Can Help Reverse Declining Bird Numbers

Eastern Meadowlark Photo: MDC

A recent study from prominent bird researchers in the U.S. and Canada, including Cornell Lab of Ornithology, found that North America has lost nearly 3 billion birds in the last 50 years, and those declines are also occurring in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is partnering with other conservation agencies and organizations to address population declines in the state and offer solutions.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of these widespread bird declines because many birds are migratory and they breed here but winter out of the country,” said MDC State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick. “But one of the threats birds are facing is loss of breeding habitat and managers of public and private land can help reverse these declines.”

Eastern meadowlark, prairie warbler, field sparrow, cerulean warbler, and red-headed woodpecker among threatened species.

See details below with information about what you can do to help!

Continue reading

Image

Out Of The Classrooms & Into Nature

Lesli Moylan, director of the Missouri Environmental Education Association, works with children during a program several years ago in conjunction with the YMCA. Photo courtesy of Lesli Moylan.

Missouri Environmental Education Association helps educators inspire youth people to care about, understand and act for environment.

Nature and outdoor teachers all over the state are psyched about the Missouri Environmental Education Association conference coming to St. Louis on Nov. 1-3. Lesli Moylan of Kirkwood is the new executive director of MEEA, and she’s a busy bee these days.

Continue reading