Blog Archives


Discover the Outdoors at WOW St. Louis Outdoor Skills Day In Forest Park, April 29

Photo: MDC

Are you looking for a safe and easy way for you and your family to discover outdoor adventures? The WOW St. Louis Outdoor Skills Day event is for you.  The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is joining a host of conservation partner organizations to bring WOW back for 2023.  The full day program is designed to give newcomers and first-time campers a chance to explore fishing, canoeing, archery, and more.

WOW is happening Saturday, April 29 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Forest Park.  It’s intended as a comprehensive educational program that allows participants to select from a variety of courses and workshops.  The cost to attend WOW is $10 per person, making it an affordable day of family fun.  Registration fee includes equipment for all activities and lunch is provided.

WOW offers classes in a variety of outdoor activities, each one with the goal of teaching participants how to enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational activities while practicing personal safety and outdoor responsibility. Classes are open to anyone age 9 and up, however some classes have a safety age restriction of 11 and up. Littles WOW day camp is available for participants ages 5-8.

See registration information below.

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Radioactive Nightmare Continues: Never-Ending Story Of How St. Louis Pays For Atomic Age

“We need not even make war; only by preparing, by playing with our new weapons, we poison the air, the water, the soil of our plants, damage the health of the living, and weaken the chances of the newborn.”   —  Martha Gellhorn, War Correspondent

By Don Corrigan

A new book published at the end of 2022 explains the complex and  traumatic legacy of the atomic age in the St. Louis region. Given the half-life of radioactive materials, it seems no book can ever be the last word on what is a continual crisis.

Many American baby boomers can recall their fathers explaining to them that the atomic bomb was necessary to end World War II; that the human loss would have been much worse without it; that the legacy of the bomb was likely a Pax Americana and a lasting peace.

The baby boomers’ fathers had it wrong. They did not realize how atomic weapons would proliferate; how they would become more lethal; and, how the contaminant byproducts of the first bombs would endlessly plague the “Gateway City” of the American Midwest.

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SEED St. Louis: Spring Plant Sales

Save the Dates!

Saturday, April 1, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Six-packs of spring seedlings will be available as well as Seed St. Louis seed packets, t-shirts, and stickers. We will have two varieties of lettuce, bok choy, collards, kale, green and red cabbage, a variety pack of broccoli with staggered harvests, cauliflower, and kohlrabi.

Saturday, May 13, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Summer veggie, perennial seedlings, and sweet potato slips will be available as well as Seed St. Louis seed packets, t-shirts, and stickers. We will have tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), eggplant, basil, parsley, and tomatillos.

Location: Seed St. Louis Carriage House, 3815 Bell Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63108

Free street parking is available along Bell Avenue. The sales will be located outside behind the Carriage House building. We will accept both cash and credit for payment.

Find more information about what will be offered at each sale HERE.


“A Sewer Runs Through It: A History of the River des Peres” Film and Discussion, March 22

In the 1920s, wide sloping plains by the River des Peres absorbed flood
water, resulting in minimal damage. What changed to make the floods
of July 26 & 29, 2022 so destructive?

The event is NO COST but you need an EVENTBRITE ticket. Get tickets by clicking HERE.


Environmentalists Defend Initiatives: State Legislators At Odds With ‘Will Of The People’

By Don Corrigan

Environmentalists are among those opposed to actions by the Missouri legislature to cripple the initiative process in the state. They say the initiative process is often the only way to get environmental protections enacted in Missouri.

In the past, environmental groups have used the process on issues such as renewable energy and the financing of nuclear power facilities. In Missouri, these groups have included the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and the Sierra Club.

The initiative process has been dubbed as a “will of the people” mechanism. That’s because measures are approved by a statewide majority of voters, rather than passed by lawmakers in the statehouse where they can be beholden to special interests..

In this year’s session in Jefferson City, lawmakers have seemed determined to codify their disdain for the grassroots democracy of initiatives placed on the ballot by petition.

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Registration Is Open for 2023 Callery Pear “Buyback”

Photo: MDC, David Stonner.

The Missouri Invasive Plant Council (MoIP), in partnership with Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, Forrest Keeling Nursery, and the Missouri Department of Conservation, will host a Callery pear “buyback” program in locations around the state on April 18.

Registration is open March 15 – April 13 for participants to choose their location, register with EventBrite, select a native tree, and upload a photo of the cut-down Callery pear tree. One free, non-invasive, native tree is provided to registered participants at the selected location on the day of the event, April 18, from 3–6 p.m. (Note: Kansas City has different dates and times.)

Invasive Tree Causes Ecological Concern: Native to China, Callery pear trees (Pyrus calleryana) include 26 cultivars that present significant ecological concerns in Missouri. Some of the most common cultivars offered commercially include Aristocrat, Autumn Blaze, Bradford, Capital, Cleveland, Chanticleer, Red-spire, and Whitehouse.

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Pallottine Officially Opens Low Ropes Challenge Course

Information from the Pallottine Renewal Center about a new learning opportunity in the local St. Louis area.

A multi-year dream finally becomes a reality this month as the Low Ropes Challenge Course opens at the Pallottine Renewal Center in Florissant. PRC Executive Director Marillyn Baner and team have worked to bring this vision to life over the past several years, made even more critical by the 2020 Covid Shutdown and people’s inability to get together publicly. With those fears and restrictions now behind us, it is the perfect time to open the course to the public.

“I am beyond thrilled that we are finally able to provide this amazing experiential learning opportunity to the communities in and around North County and St. Louis,” Baner said. “Starting this month, we are taking reservations for groups of all shapes and sizes, from 10 to 100. Call us to schedule a tour and see everything Pallottine has to offer from ropes to retreats.”

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Time To Give A Hoot: When Owls Attack – These Birds Are Not Always Just Wise And Old

Pictured: Great Horned Owl. All photo courtesy the World Bird Sanctuary. By Stu Goz.

By Don Corrigan

Owls sport reputations for being wise and old. However, sensational internet stories and tabloid TV are portraying these feathered fellows as dangerous. Wise, old owls appear to be in attack mode.

A hiker in Alaska was recently dive bombed by a great-horned owl armed with sharp talons. Last year, attacks took place from Washington state to Georgia. Incidents in Texas prompted a “When Owls Attack” advisory.

“Owls can and do attack,” said Shelly Colatskie of Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center in Kirkwood. “If you get too close to their nests, especially when they have young, they will swoop down on you.

“An owl coming at you with their talons can be scary,” added Colatskie. “But the truth is we have not had calls here about problem owls. We get more calls about problem skunks and deer, and bats for sure.”

In Midland, Texas, humans were advised to wear protective gear when passing by nesting adult owls and their owlets. Leather jackets and baseball helmets were suggested as items for owl-proofing.

Do Webster-Kirkwood residents need to owl-proof? After all, owl nests have been spotted in forested stretches at Emmenegger, Blackburn, Powder Valley and other park areas.

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Environment At Fault? Hey, Valentine, Statistics Show Loss Of Courting, Romance

Happy Valentine’s Day!

By Don Corrigan

Do couples go courting anymore? Is dating an obsolete art? Is real romance dead on arrival? Do we now just “Do It In The Road,” if at all, as Beatle John Lennon used to sing?

Some alarming national statistics show that fewer Americans are courting, dating and marrying. Romancing is just something that old people talk about when recalling their favorite “make-out sites” or their necking at drive-in movies.

Census data shows extremely low marriage rates among millennials and Gen Z-ers ­– only 29 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds were married in 2018, compared to 59 percent of young people of comparable age in 1978.

Dour statistics on courting and marriage have beget screaming headlines about the “marriage crisis,” “rudderless young men” and “the end of marriage” in national magazines.

Liberals blame the demise of love on social media and Tinder. Young people use Apps to hook up for one-night stands with no end-game. They are looking for love in all the wrong places. Actually, they aren’t looking for love at all.

Conservatives blame a liberal culture that promotes same-sex relationships rather than traditional marriage; and, a culture that conditions young men to avoid responsibility and steady jobs that could support marriage and family.

Conservative U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri says young men are taught in school that the male gender is toxic, so they are demoralized. Hawley has vowed to address the situation with a new book, slated to come out in May, to be titled, “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs.”

In fact, the decline in courting, dating and marriage may not have much to do with politics at all, so hold off on the blame games and political finger-pointing. Some experts advise looking at science for an explanation.

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Powder Valley Nature Center Presents An Evening with Raptors Friday, Jan. 27

Meagan Duffee-Yeates trains her Merlin to hunt for blackbird during a winter months in Missouri.

Bird buffs, falcon fanciers, and anyone enraptured by raptors is invited to meet the objects of their admiration during this year’s An Evening with Raptors event—and explore a collaboration between humans and animals first forged thousands of years ago.

The annual An Evening with Raptors hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center will be held on Friday, Jan. 27 from 7-9 p.m.  The event is free and is open to all ages.

Falconry is the ultimate partnership between human and bird.  The sport goes back thousands of years, and you can learn about it at An Evening with Raptors event.  “Several area falconers will gather to offer the rare chance to observe and learn about these fascinating feathered hunters,” said MDC Assistant Nature Center Manager, Robyn Parker.  “They will also explain how viewers can get started in this age-old sport themselves,” she added.

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