DABBLERS VS. DIVERS: Ducks are amazing creatures. Discover how to tell dabbling ducks from diving ducks by the way they eat, fly and look. Check out a video and photos and where you can see them in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
WHY HEALTHY DEER MATTER AND HOW YOU CAN HELP: Over the last 100 years, Missouri's white-tailed deer were brought back from an all-time low of 400 to more than 1.2 million today. They're one of our most valuable species for outdoor recreation, jobs and tourism. The work of keeping our deer herd healthy today is as important as the early work to restore them. Scientists work with hunters and landowners to prevent the spread of disease, especially Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is always fatal. Learn more about deer health, CWD, and mandatory testing in this week's Discover Nature Note.
GUESS THAT SPOOKY SOUND: They may have hairy legs or vampire-looking wings, but these real life critters eat the blood suckers that ruin our summer evenings and perform some amazing feats. Learn more about spiders and bats in this week's Discover Nature Note and see how many spooky sounds you can guess before each video puzzle completes.
ARE YOU A DABBLER OR A DIVER: Do you like to skim along the surface or go deep? Learn the differences between dabbling ducks and diving ducks and how you can look for three dabblers winging their way through Missouri in this week's Discover Nature Note blog.
THE SOUNDS OF FALL: Fall is a sensory delight. And not just for the eyes and nose. The sounds of fall are as distinct as its sights and smells. Explore the many sounds of fall and places to go to hear them in this week's Discover Nature Note.
WOOLLY BEAR MYTHS AND FACTS: These fuzzy caterpillars are out crossing roads now. Why do they do that and can they really predict weather? Explore fun facts about them and learn what they turn into in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
HAPPY AND HEALTHY TRAILS: Boosting brain power, balance, and muscle and joint toning are some of the many benefits from hiking. Learn where and how you can hike your way to health and happiness, as well as take a video tour on the Ozark trail in this week's Discover Nature Note blog.
NATURAL DIFFERENCES: Ever wonder why the males and females of some species look different? They may vary in size, coloration or behavior. Seasonal decorations can help some animals distinguish males from females. Learn and see more in this week's Discover Nature Note.
MISSOURI NUTS: Gather ye nuts while ye may. In Missouri, that's September and October for our finest homegrown edibles. Our top three that rank high in nutrition, economic value and taste are black walnuts, pecans and hickories. Watch a video on walnuts and try a recipe for hickory nut sandies in this week's Discover Nature Note.Pictured: Pecan leaves and nuts
PUFFBALLS AND OTHER FALL MUSHROOMS: Mushroom hunting is popular in the spring, but there are many varieties that grow in the fall. Puffballs can release thousands of powdery spores when squished. They're not the same as the classic Star Trek spores, but puffball mushrooms are edible. Learn more in this week’s Discover Nature Note.
The Marvelous Mighty Monarch: Monarch butterflies in Missouri fly to the same forest in Mexico every fall. In the spring they return. Four generations make the round trip. Their migration is truly a natural wonder and navigation marvel. They also have a mighty problem that you can help solve. Learn more in this week's Discover Nature Note.
OUTDOOR COOKING II: Try this recipe for Sweet and Sour Chicken from MDC's Campfire Cooks on your next outdoor adventure. It's a fun way to gather around the campfire and create a tasty meal. Learn more campfire tips and outdoor cooking recipes in this week's Discover Nature Notes blog.
COOKING IN THE OUTDOORS: With summer fading and Labor Day approaching, it's a great time for outdoor cooking with family and friends. Whether you're camping, or cooking out in a local park or your own backyard, food always tastes better when prepared outdoors. Check out some time-tested recipes like orange muffins, sweet and sour chicken, carp on a stick, as well as campfire tips and tricks in this week's Discover Nature Note.
Shrimp in Missouri, Who Knew?: Two types of freshwater shrimp can be found in Missouri's lakes and rivers. One is common and one is rare. The Mississippi Grass shrimp is small and transparent. The female pictured is carrying her eggs attached to swimmerets beneath her abdomen. The Ohio shrimp are larger and were harvested along the Mississippi river for food in the 1800's. They are rare today. Missouri's freshwater shrimp are important to fish and other wildlife and may live in the waters where you fish and boat. Learn more about them in this week's Discover Nature Note.
OUR NEED FOR BEES: Without them, our produce aisles would be mostly bare. With less of them, harvest sizes will shrink and prices will soar. Bees are essential for many of the foods we eat and nutrients we need. Native bumblebees are intentional pollinators that do the most important work. Learn more about bees, how you can help, and the amazing diversity we have in St. Louis in this week's Discover Nature Note. (Pictured: Common Eastern Bumblebee)
Theater in the Wild: Some of the biggest stars have graced its stage, and swallowed our bugs while singing, but often nature and wildlife have been an inspiring and entertaining part of the show. The Muny opera took shape 100 years ago between two giant oak trees in a natural bowl in Forest Park in St. Louis. Ol' man River Des Peres which runs through it caused early trouble in river city with a flood that washed the orchestra's instruments as far away as Carondelet.
Today, the river runs behind and below the theater offering audiences a chance to view wetland species. The trees surrounding the stage are part of the design for several musicals and are looked after with care. Squirrels, possums or raccoons may appear climbing lighting grids or wandering onto the stage at any moment during a show.
Just as in nature, there are free sets to enjoy the show in the nation's largest, greenest outdoor theater in one of our country's biggest urban parks. Learn more about Forest Park and nature's show in this week's Discover Nature Note.
SPRING IT ON! Some of Missouri's most scenic places are along springs. Springs flow cool and constant from underground sources. Our ten largest springs release more than a billion gallons of water daily. The air around them is cooler and the scenery spectacular for photographs and memories. With fragile environments and cold temps, springs are not geared for swimming, but many flow into Ozark streams with a variety of swimming holes. Learn more about Missouri's most iconic springs and what you can see in and around them in this week's Discover Nature Note.
COOL OFFOn the Waterthis summer. With more than 110,000 miles of rivers and streams, Missouri has many chill choices for floating, fishing, exploring and more. Discover where to go, find helpful tips, and take a musical journey along Missouri waterways in this week's Discover Nature Note.
Space Invaders: It's no game when invasive plants take over your backyard or property. They can become costly and hard to control and displace native plants and animals. Learn how you can help stop the invasion and join the fight in this week's Discover Nature Note.
Happy Independence Week! To mark the holiday, we are celebrating red, white, and blue in nature. It's surprising how often these colors appear and where. You can see patriotic colors on display in the wild, watch a video, and learn more in this week's Discover Nature Note.