Discover Nature Notes

Missouri Nuts

Sep 16, 2018

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

pecan leaves and nut

Fall Mushrooms

Sep 09, 2018

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.

Photo of a giant puffball, a large, smooth, rounded mushroom, growing in grass

The Marvelous Mighty Monarch

Sep 03, 2018

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. 

Monarch Butterfly and Chrysalis

Outdoor Cooking II

Aug 27, 2018

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.

family camping

Outdoor Cooking

Aug 20, 2018

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.

wild trout on barbecue grill

Missouri's Freshwater Shrimp

Aug 13, 2018

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.

Photo of a gravid Mississippi grass shrimp in an aquarium.

Pollinator Power

Aug 06, 2018

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)

common eastern bumblebee

Theater in the WILD

Jul 30, 2018

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.

Great Horned Owl

Spring It On!

Jul 23, 2018

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.

Big Spring

On the Water: Rivers and Streams

Jul 16, 2018

COOL OFF On the Water this 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

Jacks Fork River

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