Songbirds begin returning to Missouri this month, and many will stop at Peck Ranch for the summer. Since it purchased this vast tract of land in 1945, the Department of Conservation has been using sustainable forest harvesting and prescribed fire to restore the area’s original complex of natural communities. As a result, returning songbirds will find 23,048 acres of pine-oak forests, glades, savannas, woodlands and upland streams in which to feed, nest and raise their young. Some species you can expect to see and hear at Peck Ranch this spring are wood thrush, scarlet tanager and ovenbird.
Department of Conservation ornithologist Brad Jacobs said Peck Ranch is an important summering ground for migratory songbirds. “It provides high-quality, large-scale habitat within the greater Ozark/Ouachita complex,” he said. “The next really big summer ranges for forest-dwelling songbirds are the Appalachians to the east and in Minnesota to the north.
Trees are as vital to community life as roads and utilities. That’s why, in 2006, nine Missouri utilities earned TreeLine USA’s recognition for helping trees and power lines coexist. They are AmerenUE, Boone Electric Cooperative, Carthage Water and Electric Plant, City Utilities of Springfield, Columbia Water and Light, Crawford Electric Cooperative, Cuivre River Electric Cooperative, Independence Power and Light, Kansas City Power and Light, and Ralls County Electric Cooperative.
For more information about the program, call 573-751-4115, ext. 3116.
Taking care of community trees takes awareness, commitment, funding and lots of skilled work. In 2006, three organizations and two individuals won recognition for their outstanding, sustained community tree care. The City of Richmond Heights, St. Louis Community College at Meramec’s Horticulture Department and Sturgeon resident Bill Frazier all claimed the Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence. Citations of Merit went to the City of Ballwin and to Hermann resident Mary Fritz.
The Missouri Arbor Award of Excellence represents the Department of Conservation’s and the Missouri Community Forestry Council’s combined recognition of those who act as good stewards for community trees. The 2007 award application deadline is Oct. 31. Visit online, keyword “arbor,” for more information.
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