Blog Archives

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Coloring Book’s “Smart Bird” Gives Kids Road Safety Tips

Just in time for the holidays, Terry the Turkey Vulture swoops down to give children smart tips on keeping safe around roadways. Terry’s advice also applies to children’s pets, who do need a little “coloring” in the book.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in every five children under the age of 15 killed in traffic crashes was a pedestrian. Kids are at risk of crash injuries, even when they are not inside a vehicle. Adults can help protect their young ones with tips about road safety.

Terry says: “Let’s All Be Safe on Roadways.” The coloring book’s message is that motorists must drive defensively and walkers must walk defensively. When you’re at a marked crosswalk, don’t assume that oncoming drivers will stop.

In 2022, St. Louis was shocked when residents were killed trying to cross Chippewa Street to get to a popular city custard stand. Pedestrian deaths are a concern for everyone. St. Louis suburbs also have lost residents to crosswalk accidents and curbside collisions.

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Celebrate Peanut the Turtle’s 38th Birthday Party At Powder Valley Nature Center Nov. 19

Peanut the Turtle swims in a pond at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center.

Peanut the Turtle is turning 38, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is throwing her a birthday celebration.  The birthday partying takes place at Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center Saturday, Nov. 19 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.  It’s a free event and open to all ages.

Peanut the Turtle has attracted attention all over Missouri, along with national and worldwide fame, as an anti-littering mascot.  At a young age, the red-eared slider wandered into a discarded plastic six-pack ring, and it stuck around her shell.  As her shell grew, it was constricted by the plastic ring and developed an unusual, figure-eight shape.  In 1993, when she was about nine years old, she was found in the St. Louis area and brought to the Saint Louis Zoo, where the ring was removed.

They named her Peanut because of her shell’s shape and gave her to staff at MDC. Peanut has been under the care of MDC since, where she has served as a popular ambassador for litter awareness.  Peanut’s permanent home is now at the nature center.

In the spirit of Peanut’s message, participants can help with litter pickups in and around Powder Valley during her birthday celebration event.  “We’ll provide MoDOT NoMOre trash bags for participants, and for each bag of trash they collect, they can enter a raffle to win prizes,” said MDC Naturalist Shelly Colatskie.  She added that participants can also qualify for the raffle by sending photos of themselves picking up litter at other places in the area.

The nature center will also serve birthday cake in honor of Peanut’s big day.  Educational programs will help make visitors aware of the environmental challenges that plastics pose and inform them about ways they can help prevent Peanut’s fate from happening to other wildlife.  Activities will also include information on Missouri Stream Teams, crafts, a chance to see live animals, and meet and greet Peanut herself.

Peanut’s 38th Birthday Celebration is free, but MDC asks visitors to preregister online at https://short.mdc.mo.gov/4pm.

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Equine Ecstasy: Kirkwood’s Tom Noonan Finds “Wild Horses of Missouri”

by Don Corrigan

Sometimes they’re called “feral.” Sometimes they’re called “wild.” Tom Noonan likes them because they’re “free.” Tom Noonan recently took a trip to Ozark country in search of some equine ecstasy and he found it.

The former Kirkwood Councilman captured the horses on film and video near Echo Bluff State Park. Normally, the small herds of horses that run free are miles to the south deep in the Ozarks around the Jacks Fork River watershed near Eminence.

“I was so surprised that I could drive less than two hours from Kirkwood and find these amazing animals roaming freely – no fences, no tags, no nothin,’” said Noonan. “They seem to have no boundaries.

“People fly thousands of miles to see something like this,” added Noonan. “They go to Chincoteague, Virginia to see the horses from tourist boats. Or, to the Southwest to watch them from helicopters. We get to see them just a short drive to Echo Bluff State Park area.”

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Wildlife Man Of Costa Rica: St. Louis Man Writes Guides To Frogs & Reptiles of Central America

Photos provided by David Norman.

by Don Corrigan

David Norman is a friend to frogs and reptiles of Central America. A Webster Groves 1972 high school grad, he recently took time out from field work in Costa Rica to visit with friends from a half century ago at his reunion.

“Some of my Webster buddies have been down to see me, so I don’t feel too far away,” said Norman. “Cory Gardiner and his wife have come down. So has Bill Clark and his wife. There is a lot to see in Costa Rica.

“I always take visitors to an active volcano, and a cloud forest, and a much wetter rainforest, and the beaches and national parks,” said Norman. “My regular work is as a tour guide and teacher for colleges offering study abroad credits.”

Norman always is happy to introduce the frogs and reptiles of Costa Rica to American visitors. After all, he wrote the books on these creatures, including “Common Amphibians of Costa Rica” and a field guide to similar animals in the Santa Rosa and Palos Verde national parks.

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Amazing Event: Webster Groves Nature/Zoo Champions Honored At Luncheon

Earlier this fall, a “Dine & Discuss Luncheon” at Cyranos Restaurant in St. Louis took up the subject of nature and outdoors champions covered in author Don Corrigan’s book, Amazing Webster Groves.

The book covers such Webster notables as Jack Lorenz of the Izaak Walton League and celebrated outdoor photographer Joseph Sohm.

At the luncheon, St. Louis Zoo Director Emeritus Charlie Hoessle talked about the contributions to world zoos by George Schaller and William Conway, both WGHS graduates. Rich Thoma talked about the legacy of the Webster Groves Nature Study Society.

For a full rundown on the discussion, check out the coverage of the luncheon in the Webster University Journal. Click on the link below:

 

‘Dine & Discuss’ at Cyrano’s Cafe shines light on Webster Groves

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An Introduction To Nature’s Musician Kevin Renick

Kevin Renick is a music teacher, songwriter, nature lover, and it all comes together in his performance work. He credits his interest in birding walks for many of his music successes.
“Wandering around in remote woodlands, vast fields, marshlands and river edges looking for birds gave me a very early appreciation for the diversity of the natural world and the notion of landscapes,” said Renick. “My interest as a youngster shaped my aesthetic in profound ways.
“When I turned 12, my interest in birds became so intense that my mom started looking for an organization I could join. She found the Webster Groves Nature Study Society,” said Renick. “I was the youngest kid to participate and I started going on their regular birding trips, an activity that changed the way I viewed the world, nature as a whole, and yes, music.
Renick said he loves walking in the woods and his birding expeditions. All of this gets sprinkled into his music, and it inspired his most famous song, “Up In The Air,” which was used for the 2009 George Clooney movie by the same name.  It spells out a key influence for him:
“I’m out in the woods
Something here does my heart so good
I breathe the air and I know that I’m alive
And I stare at all the birds as they fly by
I guess it all comes down to them
Cause they’re up in the air.”
To Learn More About Kevin Renick, check out this story that appeared recently in the Webster-Kirkwood Times:
 
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Fulfilling Their Dream
Songwriters at Meramec Produce Their Greatest Hits Album
 
by Don Corrigan
Okay. So what if it hasn’t taken off like the “Eagles’ Greatest Hits” – a group of Meramec students are still flying high with their CD entitled, “Time To Write A Song.” It’s billed as a music album about love, death, bad drivers and existential issues.
The CD is the brainchild of Kevin Renick. His continuing education class at St. Louis Community College at Meramec in Kirkwood is titled: “Songwriting: The Art and Discipline.” Students learn that songwriting is an art, but it only happens with a little discipline.
“I start by telling my classes that to write songs you have to have something to say,” declared Renick. “Tell us lyrically and musically, why we should care. Don’t tell us you just found a new girlfriend.

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Fall Color Tram Tour of the Katy Trail, Oct. 19-20, 2022

Experience the dramatic scenery and fall colors along the Missouri River bluffs during the Fall Colors Tram Tours on Wednesday, Oct. 19 and Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.

The two-hour, round-trip tours will take visitors on the Katy Trail between Rocheport and McBaine in the comfort of an open-air tram coach. This 9-mile section of the trail is known for its fall colors along the bluffs and striking views of the Missouri River. As riders enjoy the scenery, interpretive guides will explain the natural history and cultural features along the trail. The tours are free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for children age 12 and under.

Tours will depart from Rocheport at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on both days. Advance registration is required. To register, please call the Katy Trail State Park office at 573-449-7422 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or register online HERE.

Each tour consists of six trams, with each tram providing seating for 20 people. In the event of inclement weather, the tours will be canceled.

The tours are cosponsored by Missouri State Parks and Boone Electric Cooperative.

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MDC Grant Helps Purchase Track-Chairs for Missouri Disabled Sportsmen

With the help of a grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Disabled Sportsmen was able to acquire four new all-terrain track-chairs and an enclosed trailer. The chairs and trailer will allow MDS to expand services and opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Photo: MDC

Specialized track-chairs help the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) make nature and the outdoors more accessible to all outdoor enthusiasts. MDC recently awarded a grant to Missouri Disabled Sportsmen (MDS) to assist in the purchase of four track-chairs and an enclosed trailer. These all-terrain track-chairs will allow MDS to expand their services and create more opportunities for those they serve.

MDS is a non-profit organization with the mission of providing mobility-impaired, youth, and terminally ill youth outdoor enthusiasts with hunting, fishing, shooting sports, and outdoor educational opportunities in a safe and inclusive manner.

“Partnerships between MDC and organizations like MDS are integral to the Department’s outreach efforts,” said Education Outreach Coordinator Rob Garver. “We’ve partnered with MDS for several years and we’re confident this grant and the new track-chairs will strengthen this relationship for years to come.”

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Native Plant Sale at Roeslein & Associates, Sept. 30, 2022

Photo: celandine poppy by Mervin Wallace.

Four Grow Native!® professional members will sell a variety of native seeds, wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, vines, and sedges.

The Missouri Prairie Foundation® (MPF) and host, Roeslein & Associates, will hold a native plant sale on Friday, September 30, 2022, at 9200 Watson Road, St. Louis, MO, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Gaylena’s Garden, Missouri Wildflowers Nursery, Papillon Perennials, and River City Natives will supply a variety of native plants for your landscaping needs. These Grow Native! professional members will donate five percent of plant sale proceeds to support MPF’s conservation work, and Roeslein & Associates will match this amount.

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Protecting our Pollinators Event at Powder Valley Nature Center, event Sept. 17

Photo: MDC

Nature’s pollinating insects have our backs every day.  Scientists estimate at one out of every three bites of food we eat is there thanks to pollinating insects and other animals.  Did you know approximately 35% of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce?  That also includes the peppers and tomatoes we grow in our own gardens, or the blackberries we might enjoy collecting in nature.  Without our pollinators, we would be starving.

Since pollinators do so much for us, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) invites you to help them out too.  MDC’s Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center is hosting the Protecting our Pollinators event, on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. It’s a special event to celebrate these silent, but essential heroes of the insect and animal world.  Some of Missouri’s most important pollinators include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and moths.  The event is free and welcomes people of all ages and will include educational booths, presentations, and activities to help the whole family appreciate pollinators.

The presentations during the event will take place in the nature center’s auditorium and will include the following topics:

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