News and Almanac

Women meet to hone outdoor skills

Fresh air, sparkling water and the company of other women who enjoy the outdoors will make the Missouri's Outdoor Women gathering June 10-12 a weekend to remember.

The event will be held at the Windermere Conference Center, a state-of-the-art facility on 1,300 acres at Lake of the Ozarks. The event is a chance for women of all skill levels to learn or hone outdoor skills from expert instruction. Workshop offerings may include basic fishing, canoeing, archery, handgun shooting, shotgun shooting, rifle shooting, Dutch-oven cooking and nature hiking. The early registration deadline is April 23. Late registrations will be accepted until May 14.

For more information, contact Regina Knauer, (417) 895-6881, ext. 1068, <Regina.Knauer@mdc.mo.gov&gt; or Jackie Keller, (573) 751-4115, ext. 3292, <Jackie.Keller@mdc.mo.gov&gt;.

Mushroom fest set

Get ready for great fun and good eating at the Third Annual Missouri State Championship Mushroom Hunt and Festival in Pike County April 29-30.

The event, which includes a competitive morel mushroom hunt, mushroom auction, mushroom foods and mushroom-themed booths, starts with evening activities April 29 in Louisiana, Mo. The hunt runs from 10 a.m. to noon April 30 on designated land. Trophies are awarded to three contestants who bring in the most mushrooms, and to those who find the largest and smallest mushrooms.

The $25 entry fee is tax deductible. Event proceeds go to the non-profit Dixon Whitney Foundation, which administers a Pike County cultural center. More information is available by phone at (573) 754-7988 or by e-mail at <teres@big-river.net>.

Plotting a food strategy for upland birds

One of the best things you can do for bobwhite quail and other upland birds is to plant small food plots. For maximum benefit, you should:

  • Plant long winding strips at least 30 feet wide
  • Choose locations near low, brushy cover, such as sumac patches or blackberry thickets.
  • Plant on south- and west-facing slopes so the sun will melt snow on sunny days, exposing food.
  • Eliminate grasses and prepare seed beds by disking.
  • Apply a balanced fertilizer and add lime if soil test indicates the need.
  • Choose high-energy food plants, such as sorghum or millet. Sorghum varieties designed for forage are less susceptible to deer damage.
  • Use light herbicide applications to help crops produce seed while permitting a desirable amount of weedy cover to develop. Consult an agricultural products store for herbicide type and application rate.
  • Plant enough food plots so you can let half lie fallow each year. This strategy ensures both food and brood-rearing habitat.

 NO MORE TRASH! BASH GROWS

The No MOre Trash! bash is expanding from a week to a month, and offering more help for those who want to make the Show-Me State litter free.

Last year's week-long event netted more than 13,500 bags of trash, indicating the need for a longer event. This year, the departments of Conservation and Transportation designated April as No MOre Trash! month.

Stream Teams, Adopt-A-Highway groups and concerned individuals are encouraged to organize cleanups on streams and highways. Window stickers, posters, brochures and other promotional items are available to event organizers. For details about how to get involved, visit online or call (573) 522-4115, ext. 3294.

Cape Girardeau nature center to open

Southeast Missouri residents soon will have a multi-purpose conservation education facility at their disposal. The grand opening of the Cape Girardeau Conservation Campus Nature Center May 14 and 15 will mark the start of a new era of conservation education in the state's southeast quadrant.

The Cape Girardeau facility will be more than a museum. It will feature interactive programs for every age and outdoor interest and educational resources for teachers, parents, scouts, 4-H clubs and other civic organizations.

The 20,000-square-foot facility in Cape Girardeau County Park North has a 160-seat auditorium. Three classrooms are equipped for everything from science experiments to woodworking and wild-game preparation demonstrations.

The nature center will have educational displays, dioramas and aquariums documenting southeast Missouri's cultural history as well as its plants, animals and ecosystems. However, visitors also will get to learn archery, fishing and other activities through hands-on experience.

Teachers will find the nature center a tremendous resource for materials and instructors for their classes. Southeast Missourians who want to share their love and knowledge of nature will find outlets for their contributions in an active volunteer program.

The Cape Girardeau facility is the sixth of its kind in Missouri. Other conservation nature centers are located in Jefferson City, Kirkwood, Blue Springs, Kansas City and Springfield. Admission is free to all visitors.

STATE EXEC GETS GROWING GIFT

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder recently received a growing gift of a tree bundle, compliments of Missouri fourth-graders and the George O. White State Forest nursery.

Students from central Missouri were on hand when Kinder signed a proclamation designating April 1 as Arbor Day in Missouri. This year, 120,000 fourth-grade students across Missouri received bald cypress, silky dogwood and willow oak seedlings from the state forest nursery. The trees will grow for decades around schools and homes statewide. To learn more about Arbor Day, visit them online.

Conservationist of the Year

Growing up south of Kansas City in the 1930s and '40s, Duane Addleman helped his dad cut trees for fence posts and piled up the resulting brush, creating ideal homes for wildlife. He didn't know it then, but he was forging ties to the land that would one day earn him the Conservation Federation of Missouri's highest honor, Conservationist of the Year.

Addleman was one of eight Missourians who received 2004 awards at the Conservation Federation's annual meeting at Lake of the Ozarks Feb. 11. Looking back on a lifetime of conservation work, Addleman credits childhood experiences for charting his path. He became an avid trapper and hunter. Later in life he got interested in tree planting to benefit game animals and got hooked on tree planting itself. To date, he has planted more than 100,000 seedlings.

Addleman also has served on the Conservation Federation's Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Ways and Means Committee and Bylaws Committee. A CFM life member, he can usually be found at the annual Fall Hunting Classic at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, promoting the Conservation Federation and recruiting new members. He also spends as much time as he can nurturing his grandchildren's love of nature.

The Conservation Federation also honors conservation work in specialized fields each year. Other 2004 honorees include:

  • Youth Conservationist Martin Brantner, Kansas City.
  • Conservation Educator Al Vogt, Columbia.
  • Forest Conservationist Clint Trammel, Salem.
  • Wildlife Conservationist Lonnie Hansen, Columbia.
  • Water Conservationist Gerry Boehm, St. Charles
  • Professional Conservationist Mike Hoffman, Jefferson City.
  • Conservation Communicator of the Year Jim Low, Jefferson City.

Help hungry hummers

Masses of brilliant red, pink and orange blossoms entice hungry hummingbirds to yards and gardens. Columbine, fire pink and Indian paintbrush are among early-blooming native wildflowers that catch hummers' sharp eyes. Domesticated varieties may not produce nectar, causing hummingbirds to move elsewhere.

The blossoms of red buckeye trees and green hawthorn shrubs also provide nectar and help fill out a home landscape plan.

Summer- and fall-blooming native wildflowers attractive to hummers include royal catchfly and spotted jewelweed.

For more information about building a hummingbird-friendly garden, visit online. Click on "Native Plant Info" and then "Plant Search." For a home landscape guide, write to Grow Native!, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180. - Barbara Fairchild

Making America's biggest rivers better

If improving a river is your idea of a good day's work, mark April 30 on your calendar. On that day, volunteers are needed for coordinated cleanups of both the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers.

Missouri River Relief will hold a cleanup at Columbia Bottom Conservation Area at the confluence of the nation's two mightiest rivers. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Besides making the cleaner, you will see the rivers as few people ever do.

Boats will take volunteers to sites along the rivers to pick up trash. Wear work clothes and boots. Work gloves and trash bags will be provided.

The Conservation Department, Bass Pro Shops and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will provide boats to transport workers and trash. Items collected will be sorted for recycling and removed from the rivers on a special garbage barge.

For more information, contact Missouri River Relief at 573-443-0292, email <riverrelief@riverrelief.org> or visit them online.

BETTER COUNTRY LIVING

Missourians who want to improve their land for wildlife can gain valuable information from Country Land Care packets assembled by the Conservation Department.

No matter whether you own .3 or 3,000 acres, you can manage your property to encourage more wildlife. Ninety-three percent of the state's land is privately owned.

Private land is where conservation must either succeed or fail," Conservation Department Director John Hoskins said. "We are committed to helping landowners succeed."

The packets contain publications valuable to Missouri landowners. These include:

  • Native Plants for Your Farm
  • Wildlife Management for Missouri Landowners
  • Forest Management for Missouri Landowners
  • The Missouri Pond Management Handbook
  • Wildflower Favorites
  • On the Edge: A Guide to Managing Land for Bobwhite Quail
  • Rich Grasslands: A Guide to Help Improve Your Land for Profit, Aesthetics and Wildlife.

The packets also include contact information for regional offices and the Department's private land conservationists.

To obtain a Country Land Care packet, visit online, or write to Country Land Care Packet, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

FISHING TOURNEY BENEFITS KIDS

The Make-A-Wish Foundation will get proceeds from the 13th Annual Take A Kid Fishing Tournament at Table Rock Lake's Port of Kimberling Marina May 14. Each team must have one contestant over age 18 and one school-age (K-12) angler not over age 18. The entry fee is $50 per boat.

Cash prizes will depend on the number of teams. A drawing for a Harley-Davidson Buell Blaster will follow the weigh-in. Each team also will be entered in a big-bass contest, with the first-place winner taking home 60 percent of the pot and the rest going to the second-place winner. Tournament headquarters is the Kimberling Inn. For entry forms or other tournament information, call (417) 887-1640. For special tournament rates on lodging, call (800) 883-5551.

AGENT NOTEBOOK

Wildlife in an urban environment or even around the farm can present challenges. Almost every day, I get calls or reports from folks about problems with urban wildlife.

A common theme associated with nearly every wildlife problem is that something is attracting the animals to a home or property. When you have a problem, ask yourself "What is attracting this animal to my property?" If you can answer this question, you are well on your way to solving the problem.

For example, most animals are attracted by food. Leaving cat or dog food outdoors is literally inviting raccoons and opossums to your property. The best solution is to arrange the feeding times so that you don't leave food available.

Canada geese love a manicured lawn next to a pond's edge. Leaving an 8- to 10-foot strip of tall grass or planting a living fence of small shrubs around the pond will usually discourage these lawn grazers.

Although most folks feel they have a better quality of life with wildlife around, conflicts sometimes arise when these critters get too close to our homes, pets, and family members. If you have a wildlife problem in or around your home or property, contact your local Conservation Agent. We can suggest strategies and give technical advice, and in some cases we can loan equipment that will solve your wildlife problems. -- Dave Carlisle, Buchanan County