Discover Nature Notes

The Color of Fish

May 14, 2018

THE COLOR OF FISH:  It's all about the color.  Missouri fish can even put on a tropical show.  Fish use color for blending into their surroundings, selecting mates and self-defense.  They can also change their colors and patterns by mood.  Learn more about the how fish use color in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Longear Sunfish

Missouri's Marsupial Moms

May 07, 2018

MISSOURI'S MARSUPIAL MOMS:  They may be scruffy scavengers, but these mammal moms are made for mobility.  Opossums are the only marsupials in North America.  Females have fur-lined front pouches to raise their large broods who are born blind, hairless, and weighing less than a dime.  Their young will feed and grow in the pouch. Opossum mothers will carry them on their back after that. In May, the babes will head out on their own.  Watch opossums in the pouch and on the go and learn about their special skills, like playing possum, in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Opossum mother and babes

Five Things to Watch In Nature

Apr 30, 2018

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN NATURE:  Spring may have sprung a bit later this year but this week should be popping.  With the 5th of May coming up this Saturday, we're featuring five things to watch for in nature this week as you head outdoors.  Some are happening in the woods, others underwater, and a few in backyards or open spaces.  A great source to keep up with natural happenings throughout the year as well as vibrant photographs is our natural events calendar.  Here are five natural events from the calendar in this week's Discover Nature Note.

wood ducks

Be Bear Aware

Apr 23, 2018

BE BEAR AWARE: Black bears have been making a comeback in Missouri's southern forests. Get to know the black bear, how to identify their tracks, watch them in the wild, and learn how you can be bear aware in Missouri in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Black Bears

Butterfly Gardening

Apr 16, 2018

DISCOVER NATURE NOTES:  Want to bring butterflies to your backyard?  Planting native plants will help feed our native, hungry flyers.  Planting the right greenery to feed their hungry, hungry caterpillars is an easy way to bring them in.  Native plants help native species and will make any garden pop with color throughout the season.  Learn tips to attract butterflies and watch a video on native gardening in this week's Discover Nature Note.

 

 

Black Swallowtail Butterfly

50 Years of Champion Trees

Apr 09, 2018

Everyone likes to root for a champion.  And when that champion is rooted in the ground, it’s an award-winning affair.  For 50 years, Missouri has registered champion trees with state records in over 100 species around the state.  A record tree is decided on a point system that includes height, crown, spread, and trunk size.  The largest tree on record is a bald cypress tree in southeast Missouri. Trees are the largest and oldest living organisms and often mark milestones in our lives and communities.  Learn more about champion trees, how you can view and nominate them, and watch a video of a special champion with its own Facebook page and caretaker family in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Champion Bald Cypress Tree

Missouri Arbor Day

Apr 02, 2018

ARBOR DAY:  It's been said that in the time of Columbus, squirrels could travel from tree to tree without touching the ground, from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.  Most of our ancient forests are long gone.  Arbor Day offers an opportunity to plant new seedlings across the country and state.  School children and adults participate in Arbor Day, which is dedicated to planting, celebrating and caring for trees, our largest living organisms. Missouri celebrates Arbor Day the first Friday in April, and National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April.  Learn more about Arbor Day and how you can help trees in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Arbor Day girl planting tree

Morel Hunting

Mar 26, 2018

MOREL HUNTING:  They can be harder to find than an Easter egg, but morel mushrooms are worth the time and effort to find.  They seem to pop up overnight in late spring.  Morels can be found in moist woods, river bottoms and on south-facing slopes.  Try searching near dead elm trees, in old orchards or burned areas.  Remember to properly identify morels, like any wild edible, before consuming. Learn about morel mushrooms, what makes mushrooms edible, and watch a recipe for morel polenta in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Morel mushrooms in a basket

The Creature with a Mobile Home

Mar 19, 2018

The Creature with a Mobile Home:  It's always on the move and brings it's home along too!  It is both common and unusual.  Its mouth is on the bottom of its foot.  It has a foot but no leg.  It leaves a trail wherever it goes.  This mobile critter has a lot of mechanical features with special attachments.  See if you can guess the identity of this ancient creature found all over the world in this week's Discover Nature Note.

Beaver Creek Snail

Frog Chorus

Mar 12, 2018

FROG CHORUS: You can hear their chorus rising up on warm, rainy spring nights. From backyards to wetlands, frogs create a symphony of spring sound. Learn the notes of the spring peeper and western chorus frog in this week's Discover Nature Note. Frogs are also quite tasty and fishable. Learn some basics to Frogging 101 and about the adventure of fishing for frogs.

Photo of a western chorus frog

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