Blog Archives

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Changing Lanes with Don Corrigan

Environmental Echo’s Don Corrigan was a guest on author Michelle Oyola’s podcast that provides advice and tips for getting published. Oyola is the successful author of “The Broken” series of novels for young adults published by Owl Hollow Press.

Oyola interviews Don about his own books, “Environmental Missouri,” “Nuts About Squirrels,” and his upcoming “American Roadkill.” Corrigan is Professor Emeritus in journalism at Webster University and Oyola was his journalism student in the first decade of a new century. Corrigan has high praise for Oyola’s skill using social media to promote her books, but remains mystified by her pen name: Shelly X Leonn. Author Oyola is originally from Washington, Mo.

CLICK HERE to listen to Michelle Oyola’s podcast interview –  “Changing Lanes with Don Corrigan.” 

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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.

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St. Louis County Executive Candidates and Environmental Issues

From Left: Sam Page, Jake Zimmerman and Mark Mantovani

By Don Corrigan

(This story has been updated to add candidate Jamie Tolliver’s position on environmental issues.)

In a tough Aug. 4 primary for St. Louis County Executive, three Democrats have put the focus on dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, loss of jobs, gun violence and race relations. However, that doesn’t mean environmental issues are totally off their radar.

The cleanup of radioactive contamination in North County, a legacy of the role of St. Louis in developing and manufacturing atomic bombs, has never been off their radar screens. They want the contaminated West Lake Landfill addressed as well as Coldwater Creek areas. In particular, they want to make sure the EPA follows through on its commitment to clean up West Lake.

See more environmental information and quotes from the candidates below.

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Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site Hosts A Celebration of Independence July 4

Battle of Pilot Knob State Historic Site invites the public to attend Four Fourths and a Fifth, a patriotic-themed reenactment, at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 4. Local writer and historian Dr. Eric “Rick” Mansfield brings to the stage a one-man production that celebrates our independence over the past two-plus centuries.

The reenactment features five characters, all in historical costume. Characters will give their perspectives of significant historical milestones in our country’s history and what they experienced on July Fourths of the past. Character changes are accomplished with different shirts, waistcoats, hats and accessories. The base layer of pants and undershirts keeps this a modest display and quite family-friendly. Mansfield never leaves the stage during the performance and provides narrative between historical periods as he changes into appropriate attire.

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Spread the Word! Missouri Green Schools looking for AmeriCorps VISTAs

Read more about this program below. Also, visit the Missouri Environmental Education Association on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

To apply for the open positions CLICK HERE for the application link.

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The Myth About African-Americans and the Outdoors

Pictured: Carolyn Finney.

America and St. Louis are having conversations about race after the tragic incidents in Minneapolis, Louisville and Atlanta. These conversations may seem tangential to environmental concerns, but we at Environmental Echo have decided to dive back into our archives and re-post an interview with Carolyn Finney, Ph.D.

Originally published in February 2016, the podcast interview (below) is an in-depth conversation about African-Americans who connect with nature and the outdoors. There are damaging “myths” and a lack of appreciation for the contributions Black Americans have made in environmental history.

(From the 2016 Environmental Echo post)
Carolyn Finney, Ph.D., is the guest on this edition of “Behind the Editor’s Curtain” with Don Corrigan. Finney is the author of “Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors.”

Speaking about the absence of African-Americans engaging in outdoor activities portrayed in popular culture, such as in movies and magazines, Dr. Finney notes:

“Just because we don’t see any (African-Americans) doesn’t mean there aren’t any. That’s myth number one,” Finney said. “Actually, Black people, like everybody else, have been around doing everything like everybody else since the beginning of the time. You have Black mariners, you have Black hikers, you have Black people camping — I mean, Black people have been doing it, too.”

The topic of discussion is the relationship between the Black community and outdoor spaces and related activities, like national parks, hiking, and mountain climbing.

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URBAN CHESTNUT RELEASES 2020 STL ZOO BIER

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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Learn About Attracting Backyard Wildlife On July 1

Photo courtesy MDC.

Interested in attracting birds, bees, and other wildlife to your backyard?

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites the public to join its free live Wild Webcast on Attracting Backyard Wildlife on Wednesday, July 1, at noon.

MDC Urban Wildlife Biologist Erin Shank of Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center will explain the basics of creating backyard wildlife habitat; the importance of native plants and insects for pollination, wildlife food, and other benefits: planning and designing native plantings; attracting birds; supporting pollinators such as butterflies and bees; and more.

Register in advance for the free live MDC Wild Webcast on Attracting Backyard Wildlife at short.mdc.mo.gov/Zht and then join the webcast live on July 1 at noon.

Learn more about property improvements to attract wildlife from MDC at mdc.mo.gov/property/improve-my-property/wildlife-management.

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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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