Reflections

Worldwide influence

Just a fast note to encourage your readers to think about offering gift subscriptions to the Conservationist to those outside our area.

I was raised in northwest Missouri, but as a professional classical guitarist, composer and author, I ended up moving to Boston to study. Eventually I moved to Europe and worked there for the past 25 years.

I'm back in Missouri again part-time as a visiting professor at Missouri Western State College and have rekindled my interest in outdoor activities. I still travel world-wide and often need to give concert sponsors and colleagues some sort of "thank you" for helping arrange events. A gift subscription to the Missouri Conservationist offers them an exciting and positive view of Missouri. It also gives them a chance to practice their English.

Your magazine can be a small but real tool to the end of sharing our mutual appreciation of and respect for the outdoors.

Anthony Glise, St. Joseph

Editor's note: The Missouri Conservationist is provided free to adult Missouri residents. Nonresident subscriptions costs $7 annually. Out of country subscriptions cost $10 annually. Subscription information is on Page 1.

Grounded on snakes

Mark Goodwin's story on snakes should help all of us become more respectful toward all reptiles.We have generally feared snakes because of our lack of knowledge about them. Now we respect them and leave them alone when we encounter one.

I also appreciated the short accompanying article,"Killing a Snake: Is that Legal?"That was a great educational article.

Larry Mines, Gladstone

Still Reading

Thank you for sending me the Conservationist. I enjoy it very much.We live two miles south of Farmington, and deer, turkey and lots of birds come up here from Wolf Creek.

I feed the birds all winter, and once in a while I see a turkey.Nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing the wild birds and other animals.

We used to fish, but we are getting too old to to travel to Truman Lake.We also got rid of our motor home last year, but we still enjoy reading about other people enjoying the outdoors.

Edgar Detring, Farmington

Princely fishing story

I enjoyed "Best Fishing Trip" very much. It was almost a blow-by-blow description of the fishing trips my grandpa and I used to take when the work was caught up.

The only difference was that we had a Prince Albert can and a few real lead sinkers to go with the bent nails.The little creek we fished still empties into the James River, upstream of the Northview Bridge.

Terry F. Lawrence, Marshfield

Free Parking

The photo of Doris Adams catching her first fish while participating in the Forest Park Voyagers Teacher's Program speaks volumes to the joy to be found by all who partake in the numerous activities and programs going on in our public parks. Another good example is the fine Urban Fishing Program conducted by the Conservation Department.

The smile that Doris has on her face tells me that her students will be hearing one terrific fishing story.Way to go,Doris!

Fred Boeneker, Glendale

Rockaway Booster

I am from southwest Missouri and especially enjoyed the article about the Reed Spring students and the picture on the back cover of Lake Taneycomo.

We have some great opportunities for fishermen here on Lake Taneycomo. You might be interested to know that the city,with the help of the Corps of Engineers and others, have spent great sums of money to improve Rockaway Beach.They have constructed a large fishing pier and reconstructed the ramp to the fishing island.They also have an area where boats can be launched and a dock for loading and unloading.

Carol Stevens, Rockaway Beach

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: While hiking along a stream my friend and I started noticing a severe burning sensation on our legs (we were wearing shorts). It was really intense pain.We were going through some green plants and determined they were causing our discomfort. The plants were dark green. growing in a fairly rank clump, single stemmed and a little over knee high. Can you tell us what they were?

A: It sounds like you encountered stinging nettle. It's a good plant to be able to identify and avoid. It can cause a sting even through trousers. Unlike brambles and greenbrier, which have noticeable thorns, stinging nettle has tiny inconspicuous hairs which release a toxin that burns like fire and itches. The pain usually subsides in an hour or so.

One remedy is to use the sap from jewelweed to soothe the sting. Jewelweed is also called touch-me-not, which is probably what stinging nettle should be called. It's fairly common and is often found in the same location as stinging nettle. Jewelweed has delicate yellowish orange-colored flowers. It's also reported to be helpful in treating poison ivy.

For more information on these plants try an Internet search using the key words Lapotea canadensis and Impatiens capensis.Your search may reveal that stinging nettle was--and still is--a useful raw material for the craft of cordage when handled properly. For more information see the Outside In article in the August 2001, Missouri Conservationist magazine.

Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at <Ken.drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.