Through my years of instructing canoeing, I have found the best way to implement and teach the J-Stroke (Outdoor Tips, May Conservationist) is to control the stroke with the upper hand,which is on the grip or pommel of the paddle.
Approximately halfway through the stroke, roll the wrist of your upper hand so your thumb is pointing toward the bow of the canoe and pull on through the stroke. The twist exerted will put the blade of the paddle at about 45 degrees to the keel of the canoe.
I am disappointed with the illustration depicting the person in a sitting position, when it is so much safer to kneel and prop against a thwart, which greatly lowers the center of gravity.
John E. Long, Columbia
What a great photo and article about lichens. Most people who do notice them think they are a kind of moss. I am writing to correct some misinformation in the article. For about 10 years now, scientists and textbooks have divided all organisms into five kingdoms: moneran, protist, fungi, plant and animal. Fungi are no longer considered plants because they do not contain chlorophyll, and now are in a kingdom of their own. The blue-green algae are called cyanobacteria and are in the moneran kingdom.
Kathy Wynnne, St. Charles
POET'S LICENSE OUT OF STATE
Thank you for publishing the kid's magazine, "Outside In."My 8-year-old daughter Alice enjoys it. The articles are stimulating and it's impressive that high-school students wrote one of them.
I still have the series of Conservationists from the early 1960s, many of which featured poems by Margaret D. Menamin. If I recall correctly, she was a county clerk somewhere in the Ozarks, maybe in Crawford County. Were her poems ever collected in a book or are they available somewhere?
Jim Perl, Boulder, Colorado
Margaret D. Menamin published a number of poems and articles in the Conservationist during the 1960s. Her son, who still lives in Crawford County, said her poems have never been published in a collection. Margaret now resides in Pittsburg, Penn., where she works as a part-time freelance writer. The following Menamin poem appeared in July, 1965.
Invitation to a Truant
Come with me, with me,
Let us see
If you recall the art
Of settling a white pebble
In the water's wildest part
Shoes off, rebel; who knows
On such a day
The affinity of winterweary toes
For icy spray
Or whether, if one lingers
He may trap a minnow in his fingers?
Take a stick, poke the moss.
You're the boss.
When I received your May issue, I wished I was still teaching so I could use it in the classroom. It is a text in itself. What I would have given for a diagram of an earthworm like the one in the magazine!
The Conservation Department has always been close to my heart. I took every college course or training offered and taught every course suggested. My students took the fishing course for many years, until we couldn't take students off campus anymore. We had wonderful community and parent support for this project.
Then shortage of money for gas and MMAT tests came along. Fun and hands-on experience went out the window and in-class drudgery took over. Instead of finding the pH of water at the pond, we were meeting objectives for MMAT. No wonder students rebel. ThereÕs no fun in learning anymore.
Eloise Marsh, Sikeston
Wow, what a fantastic issue. Fin, fur, hook and bullet are all fine, but until we get the May issue message spread and acted upon, it will remain a losing game. It sure was a super issue. It makes me glad (all over again) that I helped with the 1/8 cent sales tax for Conservation. Keep it up.
Mitchell D. Holbrook, Principal, Southern Boone County Schools
The May 1995 issue is one of the most outstanding issues your staff has ever done. Not to say there haven't been others, but this one will be one of my all time favorites. It is so good, I have requested several copies to use in my classroom for years to come. Thanks for your efforts and the fruits of your labor.
Bob Trokey, Babler Lodge School
This long overdue note is to send you my highest compliments for your superb May issue. When I was in the classroom before retirement, your magazine was always available for my students. Each Father's Day I would give the students your address so that those who didn't get the magazine at home could order it as a gift for their dads.
Jean Inman, Independence
Your May issue of the Conservationist is almost a textbook. I found every article most enjoyable, as I do most of the time. This issue, however, seemed exceptional. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work.
Vera Heberer, St. Louis
NOTE FROM DOWN UNDER
I have been receiving your magazine for about four years, thanks to a dear friend in Kirkwood, who enrolled me on your mailing list. Congratulations on a wonderful magazine. Your photography is exceptional and your articles are so breezy and bright.
My wife, granddaughter and I traveled through Missouri in 1990. We liked your state so much we came back in 1991.
As an old deer hunter, I do enjoy your stories on deer hunting before passing them on to my son. But, more so, I enjoy the way that your Conservation people seem to have everything under control.
I still do a little fishing and get hints from your articles. Our biggest inland fish is the Murray cod, which can grow to 120 pounds. Every angler sets his sights on this fish.
Ken Morris, Sebastopol, Victoria, Australia