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.

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An Evening With Award-Winning Nature Photographer Noppadol Paothong

Reservations are now open to see MDC’s award-winning photographer as he shares stunning images of Missouri’s wildlife and landscapes.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) presents an evening with award-winning MDC photographer Noppadol Paothong at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood Friday, Jan. 17 from 7 to 9 p.m.

Paothong’s photography has been featured in the Missouri Conservationist and Xplor magazines, and many other publications including National Audubon, Ranger Rick, BBC, and the Nature Conservancy.

Paothong is a nature/conservation photographer and an associate fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). The iLCP is an elite group of the world’s top wildlife, nature, and culture photographers around the globe.

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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.

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Gateway Greening’s Annual Seed Packet Sale, January 25

Gateway Greening’s annual Seed Packet Sale will be held Saturday, January 25, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to Noon, located at the Gateway Greening Offices, 2211 Washington Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63103.

Seed packets will be available for sale for just $0.25 each. We will also have seed starting kits and jiffy pots on sale for discounted prices. While you’re here, pick up pest management supplies and more at the Gateway Greening Store.

Gateway Greening branded seed packets will be available for purchase for $1.00 each.


Photo Exhibit Featuring Sights From The Underground Railroad On Display At Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City

Art photography exhibit by Jeanine Michna-Bales -Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad. Photo courtesy Jeanine Michna-Bales

Nature’s outdoor settings have a unique mystery at night. Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales has captured the images of trees, fields and rivers that freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad would have seen as they journeyed at night before the Civil War. A free exhibit of her art entitled Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad, will be on display now through Jan. 4 at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City.

An estimated 100,000 slaves fled to freedom between 1830 and the end of the Civil War in 1865. They usually traveled at night often in rugged terrain away from roads where they could be easily pursued. Michna-Bales took photographs along 2,000 miles of one Underground Railroad route that ran from Louisiana to Canada. The viewer sees scenes and shadows as the slaves may have seen them as they walked by night toward freedom. ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance, helped organize the display.

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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.

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Birders Encouraged To Help With Audubon Christmas Bird Count

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) encourages experienced birders to become citizen scientists by helping with the National Audubon Society’s 120th Annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5 – including about 20 counts in Missouri.

The CBC is an annual winter bird census where thousands of volunteers across the U.S., Canada, and many other countries in the Western Hemisphere count birds over a 24-hour period between Dec. 14 and Jan. 5. Christmas Bird Counts gather data on winter bird populations to track their long-term trends. Each CBC has a coordinator that assigns portions of a 15-mile diameter count circle to participants to count all birds seen and heard. Learn more at

Missouri hosts about 20 CBCs, some of which are listed below. If interested in participating, contact the CBC organizer listed.

For a full list of CBCs, visit

MDC State Ornithologist Sarah Kendrick offers these CBC tips:

  • If you’ve never participated in a CBC, tell the organizer so they can place you with experienced birders.
  • Share your level of birding knowledge when you contact the CBC organizer so they can make sure you’re with a team with the experience to properly identify birds seen or heard.
  • Dress warmly. Most CBCs will be held regardless of weather unless inclement weather is dangerous.
  • Bring snacks and beverages to stay fueled for a long day.

For more information on Missouri birds, visit MDC’s online Field Guide at


Silver Dollar City Delivers Gold With “It’s A Wonderful Life” & More Christmas Goodies!

Rudolph’s Holly Jolly™ Light Parade cruises the Silver Dollar City streets nightly during An Old Time Christmas with over a dozen LED light floats and numerous colorful, costumed characters.

By Don Corrigan

It’s worth a trip to Branson this holiday season to take in that Christmas Classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, as performed on stage at Silver Dollar City.

This time of year, Branson is full of lights and color and holiday cheer. And Silver Dollar City has a Christmas Parade that’s perfect to cap off a day of entertainment that includes, It’s A Wonderful Life, and other great shows.

Frankly, the live theatre production of It’s A Wonderful Life at Silver Dollar City breathes new life into a movie that airs too frequently on television this time of year. It’s so refreshing to get a new, musical take on what is admittedly one of the most critically acclaimed films ever made.

A Silver Dollar City musical adaptation of a beloved classic, A Dickens’ Christmas Carol is an hour-long Broadway-style production featuring theatrical special effects, flying ghosts and numerous set changes.

Celebrated director Frank Capra referred to the film as his personal favorite of all his movies. Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and Henry Travers all deliver memorable performances in the Capra favorite – and the ensemble in Branson lives up to their legacy.

My only criticism is that the Silver Dollar City production doesn’t make more of Uncle Billy and his pet squirrel as found in the movie production. And Silver Dollar City is the perfect locale to capitalize on the antics of a trouble-making squirrel.

Read more below.

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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.

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The Missouri Department of Conservation Announces Eagle Days Event Schedule

Photo courtesy MDC.

From December through February, Missouri’s winter eagle watching is spectacular. Discover nature with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) through Eagle Days events around the state or enjoy watching bald eagles on your own.

Because of Missouri’s big rivers, many lakes, and abundant wetlands, the Show-Me state is one of the leading lower 48 states for bald eagle viewing. Each fall, thousands of these great birds migrate south from their nesting range in Canada and the Great Lakes states to hunt in Missouri. Eagles take up residence wherever they find open water and plentiful food. More than 2,000 bald eagles are typically reported in Missouri during winter.

MDC Eagle Days Events

MDC Eagle Days events are listed below. They include live captive-eagle programs, exhibits, activities, videos, and guides with spotting scopes. Watch for eagles perched in large trees along the water’s edge. View them early in the morning to see eagles flying and fishing. Be sure to dress for winter weather and don’t forget cameras and binoculars.

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