News and Almanac

Muskies stocked in four new lakes

Muskie anglers have new waters in which they can pursue these hard-fighting fish, thanks to recent stockings by the Conservation Department.

Missouri has three established muskie lakes ­ Pomme de Terre in Hickory and Polk counties, Hazel Creek in Adair County and Pony Express in DeKalb County, but recent stockings more than doubled the number of muskie lakes available.

Lake Girardeau, west of Cape Girardeau, received several hundred muskies up to 14 inches long in both 1995 and 1996. Fellows Lake in Springfield was stocked with 820 12-inch muskies this year, while Henry Sever Lake north of Newark and Binder Lake near Jefferson City received 474 and 384, respectively.

The new muskies are expected to grow quickly. By the fifth year of stocking, some females will have grown to 36 inches, the legal minimum at Pomme de Terre, Pony Express, Binder and Fellows lakes. The legal minimum size is 42 inches at Sever and Hazel Creek lakes and Lake Girardeau.

Bell Scholarships and state students

Apply now for Charles P. Bell Conservation Scholarships, which honor a past president of the Conservation Federation of Missouri.

Four scholarships will be awarded: one for graduate students, one for undergraduate students and two for elementary, high school or youth group projects.

Student applicants or group projects must have a conservation emphasis. Applicants must be residents of Missouri, and those enrolled in Missouri schools will be given preference. Applications are due by Jan. 15.

For application forms write: Charles P. Bell Scholarships, Conservation Federation of Missouri, 728 W. Main, Jefferson City, 65101, or call toll-free 1-800-575-2322.

Loaner program needs help to grow

The St. Louis Rod and Reel Loaner Program at the Busch Conservation Area in St. Charles County is looking for donations and volunteers.

Last summer the program loaned more than 1,600 rod and reel combinations and provided free fishing tackle and information to anglers fishing Busch area lakes. Program managers expect more demand for the equipment in the summer of 1997.

To learn more about the program, call Scott Wunder at (314) 770-2796.

Eagles, Eagle Days return to state

Dust off your binoculars and dig out that parka; bald eagles have returned to winter in Missouri. Six Eagle Days events will allow people to view hundreds of eagles in the wild and learn more about the amazing comeback of our national bird.

Each event includes guided eagle watches, videos, displays, activities and an appearance by a captive bald eagle.

In northwest Missouri, Eagle Days are scheduled for Dec. 7-8 at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Mound City.

In southwest Missouri, experience Eagle Days Dec. 28-29 at Springfield Conservation Nature Center.

In central Missouri, Eagle Days are scheduled for Jan. 4-5 at School of the Osage Elementary in Lake Ozark.

Western Missouri Eagle Days are planned for Jan. 18-19 at Schell-Osage Conservation Area in Schell City.

In east Missouri, Eagle Days will take place Jan. 25-26 at Clarksville Lock and Dam 24 in Clarksville.

Southeast Missouri Eagle Days are set for Feb. 1-2 at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge near Puxico.

The events run Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Signs direct you to program areas. Registration is not required. Bring your camera and binoculars, and dress for the weather.

For more information and maps of locations, send a card to Eagle Days, Conservation Department, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102-0180.

Other locations offering prime eagle watching this winter include Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Sumner, Table Rock Lake near Branson and Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area in Columbia. Plan a visit in January or early February and watch for eagles perching in large trees along the edges of rivers and lakes.

Four ways to enjoy Christmas trees

Russ Heindselman of La Grange says that like his grandfather before him, he has found four ways to enjoy a Christmas tree.

  1. Each year around Dec. 10, he gathers his four grandsons and heads to a tree farm. He takes a cooler of soda, a big sack of popcorn and a bucksaw. He lets the boys select and cut the tree.
  2. The family decorates the tree and puts presents beneath it. The tree stays in the family's living room until Dec. 26.
  3. On the day after Christmas, Heindselman removes the decorations and places the tree into his backyard next to the bird feeder. He says the tree becomes a haven for finches and other birds.
  4. On March 15, he takes the Christmas tree to his pond and sinks it. Throughout the year, the tree attracts crappie, which provide sport and food for this family of anglers.

"This is what you could call total recycling," Heindselman writes, "or getting your money's worth out of the tree cost."

Students can apply for scholarship

The Soil and Water Conservation Society will award a $500 Conservation Scholarship to an undergraduate student working toward a career in natural resources conservation.

Applicants must currently be enrolled at a Missouri institute of higher education and are required to supply two letters of reference and to write a five- to six-page essay about a recent soil and water conservation success story. Essays will be judged on creativity, substance, clarity and execution.

For more information contact Clark Gantzer, School of Natural Resources, UMC, 143 Mumford Hall, Columbia, 65211, (314) 882-6301. Application deadline is Dec. 16.

Listening to the Conservationist

The Conservationist comes to life on audio-cassette with words, music and the sounds of nature.

Listen to entertaining stories of forests, fish and wildlife while traveling, or have the stories in the Conservationist read to you while relaxing at home.

The cassettes are available for free loan through participating public libraries and the Wolfner Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

A subscription makes a great yuletide gift for the outdoor enthusiast. Home delivery of 12 audio-cassettes costs $30. Order subscriptions from Media Library, Conservation Department, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, 65102-0180. For more information, call (573) 751-4115, ext. 205.