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Climate Change Chases Armadillos North

Photo courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation.

 

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

Possums on the half-shell, otherwise known as nine-banded armadillos, are no longer just showing up as roadkill on Missouri roadways. The critters are finding their way onto golf courses, lawns and backyard gardens.

Missouri Department of Conservation officials recently sent out an advisory that these visitors from Texas are now here to stay. And residents need to be aware of their “strange skills” and the problems they pose for highway drivers, gardeners and residents seeking to trap and dispose of the unusual, bacteria-laden animals.

“I’ve been seeing more and more of them dead along the highways on my Missouri travels,” said Kirkwood’s Bill Ruppert, president of Ruppert Gardens & Chicken Ranch.

“I recently saw one that was hit in the middle of the road and I stopped to get a look before the turkey vultures – what I call nature’s undertakers – had a chance to take care of him. Armadillos really are some odd-looking little animals.”

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“Climate Change Was On My Mind…”

Don Corrigan at Rocky Falls. Photo by Emery Styron

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

After three major floods in four years, a lot of Missourians living in flood plains are throwing in the towel — and a very wet one at that. They also have become believers in climate change, because seeing is believing.

Climate change was on my mind a few weeks ago when riding my bike on the Meramec Greenway. Actually, there was very little greenway left to ride. Most of the trail was under water. So I rode on top of the Valley Park Levee and a stretch of Marshall Road between flood barricades and the flood waters.

“This seems to be happening every year now,” I said to myself, while swatting mosquitoes; watching tadpoles swim over the roadway; and enjoying herons in flight over the waves of Tree Court Industrial Park and the fields of the Kirkwood Athletic Association.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about climate change in this space, but it’s not for a lack of material. Among the materials on my desk for reviewing:

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The Secret Life of Snakes at Powder Valley

Copperhead photo courtesy MDC.

Spend an evening with Dr. Benjamin C. Jellen learning about a new snake study in the St. Louis area, Friday, August 23, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.  Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is included as a study site. Researchers are tracking snakes, including Copperheads, to better understand their overall ecology and population dynamics. Learn how they do this and see some of their findings.

Unique to this investigation is an emphasis on working with the public to gain insight into perspectives about native snakes in order to combine snake ecology with public opinions to learn ways to lessen negative associations and risks to both animals and people.

To register for the event, CLICK HERE.

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is located at 11715 Cragwold Rd., Kirkwood, MO 63122.

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What’s The Weather?

City of St. Charles’ Frontier Park. (Holly Shanks)

Steve Reed, a Sunset Hills resident, recently sent commentary about the severe flooding in our local areas.  Please take a moment and read about his concerns.

 

By Steve Reed, Sunset Hills (Guest Commentator)

What’s with the weather?

Galatians 6:5 “For each one will bear his own load.”

I once heard a sermon about a man who awakes in the middle of the night feeling uncomfortably chilled. To get warm he needs to rouse himself, grasp the blanket at the foot of his bed, and pull it over him. And yet he does nothing. Half awake, and with dim awareness that any movement will expose him to cold room air, his mind turns from the effort to act, and he snuggles deeper into the blankets for warmth.

We have had recent severe prolonged flooding in the Mid-west causing multiple damage: crops destroyed and spring plantings missed; buildings and equipment destroyed; loss of livestock and human lives. Damage cost estimates are $ 5 billion and above, most of which is uninsured.  The floodwaters which flow to the Gulf of Mexico carry farmland fertilizer which results in an enormous, oxygen depleted “dead zone” in the Gulf, killing fish and causing fishermen to seek disaster relief along with farmers.

This flooding is not unprecedented. Comparable flooding occurred in 1993. But what should concern us is that the frequency of severe flooding rises higher and higher. Why?

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Meet National Geographic Adventurer Of The Year Jennifer Pharr Davis At Powder Valley Nature Center

Portrait of Jennifer Pharr Davis courtesy MDC.

The Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Nature Center will host a special program, “An Evening with Jennifer Pharr Davis,” Friday, Aug. 9 at 7 p.m.

The event will feature the long-distance hiking athlete, author and speaker as she offers insights and inspiration acquired during her outdoor journeys. The program is free and open to the public.

In 2011, Pharr Davis set the overall fastest known time for completing the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail by hiking 47 miles a day for 46 straight days. She was awarded National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for 2012 and has logged over 14,000 miles of long distance trail hiking on six different continents.

Her extreme hiking adventures have enabled her to write articles for Outside, Backpacker and Trail Runner magazines. She has also been featured in the Washington Post, on National Public Radio’s Talk of the Nation and the CBS Early Show. Pharr Davis has authored three guides to hiking trails in her home state of North Carolina, among other books.

During the presentation, Pharr Davis will share slides and stories from her long-distance hikes, answer questions, and sign copies of her latest book The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience.

Seating will be limited to attend “An Evening with Jennifer Pharr Davis” and advanced online registration is required at https://tinyurl.com/y6mk94vt.

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is located at 11715 Cragwold Road, near the intersection of I-270 and I-44.
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Local STL Solar Expo Planned For Aug. 3, 2019

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Wetland Restoration Along Gravois Greenway: Grant’s Trail

Great Rivers Greenway posted a video detailing plans for the Gravois Greenway. Please take a moment to learn about the upcoming plans.

Construction to connect the Gravois Greenway: Grant’s Trail and River des Peres Greenway continues despite heavy rains and historic flooding throughout the region. While work in certain areas of the project has been put on pause due to conditions, work in other areas is set to begin. Work to restore a wetland area near Gravois Creek and to construct a raised greenway through this flood prone area will soon get underway! We caught up with the project’s architect – Vern Remiger of DGRE Studio – to learn more about the wetland area and the restoration project.

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Don Corrigan Takes Flight On New ZipTour At Hidden Valley!

Don Corrigan takes the ZipTour at Hidden Valley in Wildwood. Photo WKT.

It was an uphill climb to get Wildwood city officials to approve the new recreational zip lines for Hidden Valley, but now the $2.5 million ZipTour project is complete. Outdoor adventurers will be riding high this summer at a site best known for winter ski fun.

Tim Boyd, a 1971 graduate of Lindbergh High School, is used to uphill climbs. Boyd came up with the idea for a ski resort at the 250 acres of Hidden Valley back in the early 1980s. All of the business people he approached for financial backing for his plan were skeptics.

A ski resort in Missouri? Really?

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Damaged Trails, Wetland Restoration and New Boardwalk

Rendering of new boardwalk (part of greenway) across restored wetland. Courtesy Great Rivers Greenway.

By Don Corrigan (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

As the waters slowly recede from a record 2019 flood – both in terms of duration and height of crests – hikers and bikers are coping with mud, sand, tree limbs, plastic bottles and other debris on some of their favorite trails.

In a few cases, asphalt has been washed out on trails posing a potential crash hazard for bikers. In other cases, cracked tree branches dangling above trails can present serious obstructions or danger to those daring to hike or bike underneath the large limbs.

“We are getting phone calls from trail users about debris and other issues,” said Anne Milford, communications coordinator for Great Rivers Greenway. “We welcome those calls, because our office cannot monitor what’s happening on all of our 125-plus miles of trail.

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Are Squirrels Our Friends or Our Foes? Your Thoughts?

Photo by Ursula Ruhl.

Survey research by Don Corrigan released in his July 12 Webster-Kirkwood Times column, “Squirrels: Friends Or Foes?reveals that almost 70% of survey respondents think squirrels are our friends. Of note, all these people relate to mass-mediated squirrels. They are infatuated with Rocket J. Squirrel, Rally Squirrel, Squirrel Nutkin and Surly the Squirrel from the movie, The Nut Job.

Here are some research results not covered in the column: More the 70% of respondents believe that squirrels will be thriving on our Earth long after human beings have vanished from the planet.

Climate change is causing some squirrels to give birth earlier, to migrate north, to move to different elevations in mountain areas. Should humans bear any responsibility for the disruption of the habitat for squirrels? Are squirrels better equipped than humans to deal with such disruption? Respondents were mostly undecided on these two questions.

If you would like to give your two cents on the issue of whether squirrels are our friends or our foes, please leave a comment on this post below. (At the end of this post.)

If you would like to complete a squirrel research survey, open and/or print the following attachment. You can either send your answers via email to corrigan@timesnewspapers.com or mail the completed survey form attention to Don Corrigan at 122 W. Lockwood Ave., 2nd floor, Webster Groves, Mo 63119.

Squirrel Survey2019

See the Calendar of Squirrel events for the month of July below. Squirrel research surveys will also be distributed to audiences attending the events.

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