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Give the gift of nature

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Published on: Dec. 10, 2012

JEFFERSON CITY – Out of ideas for the hunter or angler on your gift list? Wondering what to buy for the nature enthusiast who has everything? The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has solutions for these and other holiday shopping quandaries.

THE NATURE SHOP

The most versatile gift item from MDC’s Nature Shop is the 2013 Natural Events Calendar ($7). Nearly everyone enjoys nature in one way or another, and this calendar, with dozens of awe-inspiring nature photographs, is sure to please almost anyone. Daily entries offer insights into the blooming periods of wildflowers, the lives of wild animals from snow fleas to bobcats, and celestial events, such as meteor showers and eclipses.

MDC’s newest book, Cooking Wild in Missouri ($15), was the subject of a year-long blog, “Woods to Food” (woodstofood.com). The project was similar to the one documented in the 2009 film Julie & Julia. Bloggers Ann and Fred Koenig “ate their way through Cooking Wild,” using food they collected, hunted, or received from friends until they had prepared every recipe in the book. If you buy Cooking Wild, you can consult the Koenig’s blog, sharing their fun and benefitting from insights they gained during their culinary odyssey.

The Nature Shop has field guides for everything from wildflowers to trees and butterflies to crayfishes. These are made to order for practical-minded outdoors people. There are coffee-table books, children’s picture-storybooks, and a guide to hiking trails on conservation areas. The Nature Shop even has nature-themed notecards and blank nature journals for recording personal outdoor experiences.

Check out a selection of musical, historical, and educational DVDs ranging from children’s music and waterfowl identification, plus a few, like “Just Kiddin’ Around,” purely for fun.

MDC’s online Nature Shop (mdcnatureshop.com) even has a gift registry where you can leave hints about what you would like to find under the tree on Dec. 25. If you prefer not to buy online, you can visit one of MDC’s nature centers or regional offices, or call 877-521-8632. Conservation Heritage Card holders get a 15-percent discount. Mail, phone, and online orders are subject to sales tax and shipping and handling fees.

NURSERY STOCK

If your outdoorsy friends own and manage land for wildlife, MDC’s forest nursery might be the perfect place to shop for their gifts. Bargain-priced tree and shrub seedlings make habitat enhancement affordable and effective. With dozens of species to choose from (including flowering dogwood, bald cypress, black walnut, northern red oak, buttonbush, and shortleaf pine) this is a gift you can tailor to the recipient’s special interests and land. For prices and ordering information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3328, or call 573-674-3229.

THE GIFT OF POSSIBILITIES

At first, giving a hunting or fishing permit might seem ho-hum, but giving a Resident Small-Game Hunting and Fishing Permit to a student on a limited budget means he or she has $19 more to spend on fishing line, ammunition, and other supplies. Giving a Nonresident Small-Game Hunting Permit ($80) or a Nonresident Fishing Permit ($42) encourages out-of-state family members to come home more often.

The Apprentice Hunter Authorization ($10) is an affordable gift that can last a lifetime. This is not a permit, but rather an authorization to buy hunting permits without first completing hunter education. This is made to order for friends or relatives who are intrigued by the idea of hunting but don’t want to invest time in hunter education to satisfy his or her curiosity. Not only will they get to experience your favorite outdoor pastime, you will share the experience. Hunters using the authorization must hunt with you or another hunter education-certified mentor. Annual permits purchased now are valid through February 2014. That is 15 months of outdoor enjoyment for the price of 12.

The ultimate hunting/fishing gift is a Resident Lifetime Conservation Partner Permit. This entitles the holder to the privileges associated with a Resident Hunting and Fishing Permit, a Trout Permit, a Migratory Bird Hunting Permit, and a Conservation Order Permit for life. The price varies according to the recipient’s age. Resident Lifetime Fishing Permits also are available.

Regular permits are available from vendors statewide or online at mdc.mo.gov/node/9258. Lifetime permits are only available through the Jefferson City Central Office. Get an application at mdc.mo.gov/8849, or by calling 573-522-4115, ext. 3574.

-Jim Low-

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