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Readers from all over Missouri share their favorite photographs of conservation areas.

Conservation areas give Missourians a place to enrich their lives through the discovery and exploration of nature. In October, Conservation Department Director Robert L. Ziehmer encouraged Missouri Conservationist readers to share a favorite photo they had taken on a conservation area. The director selected these four photos from many beautiful options. We hope these images will inspire you to visit a conservation area. To search conservation areas, visit our online atlas To see more reader photos, go to www.MissouriConservation.org/20010.

Hughes Mountain NA

Nathan Thomas, a recent graduate from the University of Missouri-Columbia, captured this image of a collared lizard on Devil’s Honeycomb Trail at Hughes Mountain Natural Area in Washington County last summer. Nathan’s father, Robert, describes Nathan as “an outdoor adventure addict.” Nathan’s activities include rock climbing, rapelling, kayaking, canoeing, backpacking, hiking, camping and hunting. “This photo was taken on one of Nathan’s adventure outings, the main purpose of which was to teach me more about using a GPS,” said Robert. “Neither of the three of us had seen a collared lizard before.”

Whetstone Creek CA

Anthony Martin of St. Louis captured this image at Whetstone Creek Conservation Area while bass fishing on Horseshoe Lake on Labor Day weekend, 2010. “I love to take pictures of wildlife and landscapes,” said Martin, ”and with the many acres of MDC land, that makes doing this very accessible to many people. But, I especially love going to Whetstone in the spring and fall for the bass fishing. It is a very peaceful place that is only a little over an hour from St. Louis. After taking this picture, I landed and released a dozen bass within just a few hours.”

Castor River Shut-Ins NA

Matt Todd of St. Joseph captured this image at Castor River Shut-Ins Natural Area, which is part of Amidon Memorial Conservation Area. “This photo was taken during a mid-summer trip through Southeast Missouri,” said Todd. ”There were so many places that I had heard about, many from the Missouri Conservationist, that it sounded like the makings of a great vacation trip to connect the dots.” The trip started with a float on the Eleven Point River and included trips to Rocky Falls, Taum Sauk Mountain and several other stops. “By the time we made it to Castor River Shut-Ins that evening, the sun was setting and I had just enough time to take some pictures before dark.”

August A. Busch Memorial CA

Jerry Fetsch of St. Charles captured this image of Canada geese at August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in mid-June, 2010. Fetsch considers himself an avid photographer and always has his camera with him wherever he goes. “I set out on this day with my parents, who are also avid photographers, to photograph dragonflies,” said Fetsch. They decided to move to the next lake “where I saw all these geese standing on the log and knew I had to capture the moment.” Fetch said he and his family love to spend time outdoors, especially fishing for crappie at Mark Twain Lake. Fetch also enjoys all disciplines of clay shooting and has served as a volunteer at the Busch Shooting Range. Fetch said that he and his family are really looking forward to photographing bald eagles at Clarksville this winter.

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