The July issue was wonderful. I didn't know anything about conservation agents. My father is a great lover of fishing-especially in Missouri rivers and lakes. I have never known him or others to have any altercation with conservation agents. Now I know why, because I know just what they do and how they spend their time.
Because of your informative articles and the variety and scope of your coverage, I would never oppose any increase in taxation for the purpose of conservation and the great work of conservation agents. What a great job they do. It seems they truly care for the environment in a balanced way.
Peggy Welker, Florissant
WIDE OPEN PLACES
I enjoyed reading your editorial on green space. I grew up in a rural area on the edge of Osceola that-at the time-had a population of a little over 1,000. The timber, ponds, lakes and meadows were my playground. I felt that I was growing up in the same environment as everyone else.
While in the Coast Guard, I attended a school in New York City for a short time. It wasn't long before the excitement of seeing big buildings gave way to a desire to get back into a more desirable environment.Then I discovered Central Park, which lies in the heart of that city. I found a large area that was covered with grass, trees and shrubs, mostly in their natural state. There were people in the park by the hundreds. I could clearly see how valuable this "green space" is to city dwellers. It is more than an area not covered by houses or buildings; it is a necessity of life!
Michael R. Higgins, Osceola
After reading in the Conservationist about the Conservation Department's wonderful employees, I was at best skeptical. But after meeting Steve Barnes, Jeremy Young, Isaac Smith and Craig Williamson, who work for the Conservation Department, I am a believer.
One day, Isaac rang my doorbell and informed me of a fire on the Highway 63 right-of-way near our home. When I went out to the highway and saw that these young men had seen the fire starting, turned their vehicles around, came back and were fighting the blaze, I was convinced that the article in the magazine was true.
We were able to extinguish the flames before the fire department could respond and before the fire spread to the forest.
We are grateful for these young men and to the Conservation Department for possibly saving our home and many acres of beautiful forest.
Charles and Eleena Burrell, Licking
While camping along the Eleven-Point River this summer, my dad noticed hummingbirds picking insects from spider webs in the trees. He said they would grab a bug with their beak and fly backward until it came loose.
Is this typical behavior?
LaDon Jackman, Alton
Editor's note: Hummingbirds will eat insects and spiders from blossoms and spider webs, especially when they are feeding young during the nesting season. On rare occasions, a hummingbird will get tangled in a spider web.
I thoroughly enjoyed Sue Bruenderman's and Janet Sternburg's article on clams and mussels. I have gotten your magazine for years, and this was by far my most enjoyable article.
I am a commercial real estate broker in Overland Park, Kan. Nothing beats a spicy hot clam chowder, and their article and knowledge will make it that much more tasty!
Micah Feingold, via Internet
I have traveled to states north and west of Missouri, and it is obvious that we have so much more litter along our roads and streams. We could attack the problem with a can-and-bottle deposit law. I would also suggest an anti-litter campaign to raise public awareness. We can do much better.
Dave Klein, Cape Girardeau
Editor's note: Litter continues to be a problem, but people are working to clean up our roads and streams. The Department of Transportation has a program where civic groups adopt and keep clean portions of highways. We also have more than 1,200 Stream Teams, many of which conduct litter and trash pick-ups along their adopted waterways.
You have a fine magazine, but I suggest you place some pages showing hats, shirts, books, videotapes and similar items, along with an order blank, in the magazine before the Christmas season.
Jerome A. Lammert Sr., St. Louis
Editor's note: Each October issue contains a 16-page insert describing gift items available through the Conservation Department. An order blank is included.
The old book just keeps improving. I'm speaking about the Conservationist, and your August issue proves my point.
Its content, design and images are of a quality that seldom are equalled by the best magazines in the business-commercial or otherwise.
The magazine's design could well be used as an example of great work to be studied by college students.
I speak with more than a passing admiration for your efforts. Way back in 1947 I was a staff member of the Conservationist, before being lured away to another magazine by a "better economic offering." Thanks to your entire crew for their efforts.
Glenn S. Hensley, Kirkwood
Editor's note: We're blushing, but we're grateful for your compliments. As a former staff member you might be pleased to learn that the Conservationist recently won First Place in the Association for Conservation Information's annual national competition among conservation and natural resource magazines.
Ask the Ombudsman
Q: Why was the dove season split in Missouri?
A: Four different dove populations have been identified in Missouri: we have doves breeding here that winter in Texas and Mexico; doves that breed here and remain in Missouri all year; birds that breed in Ontario and Minnesota and winter in Missouri; and doves that breed north of here and pass through Missouri to winter in Texas and Mexico.
Hunter surveys show the majority of doves are taken during the opening two weeks of the season. Hunting for doves usually declines in October, when quail, pheasant and other upland game hunting becomes available.
Federal guidelines have given Missouri the split season option for years. In the Eastern Management Unit, 17 of the 18 states that allow mourning dove hunting use a split season. The September open, October closed, November open formula is considered the simplest and best way to maximize dove hunting opportunities.
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) 751-4115, ext. 848 or e-mail him at <Ken.Drenon@mdc.mo.gov>.