Fountain Grove Conservation Area, southeast of Chillicothe, celebrates its 50th birthday Oct. 11 with a slate of wetland activities and programs for all ages.
Festivities include guided boat tours through the marshes, live river otter programs, wildlife viewing on the auto tour route and the wetland boardwalk trail, shooting skills simulations and a host of exhibits on waterfowl hunting and wetland management.
The celebration is capped by a special dedication of the Jeff Churan Grand River-Parson Creek Wetland Complex, a state of the art wetland restoration project.
The event is free and no reservations are required. To reach the area from Chillicothe, take U.S. 36 12 miles east to Meadville, then head south on State Road W for five miles to the area entrance. For information or a map, contact the Conservation Department's Chillicothe office at (816) 646-6122.
Missouri-based Orscheln Farm and Home, one of the Midwest's leading retail store chains, has become a sponsor of Teaming With Wildlife, a national effort to improve nongame wildlife management.
The Teaming With Wildlife initiative proposes an excise tax on equipment used for birdwatching, backpacking, nature photography and outdoor pursuits other than hunting and fishing. The $350 million generated nationwide each year would go toward local conservation, recreation and education programs benefitting non-game wildlife.
Officials from Orscheln, which has 82 stores, including 35 in Missouri, said Teaming With Wildlife fits their corporate commitment to improve the quality of life in rural communities. Executive Vice President and General Manager Terry W. Shoenberger said, "This is an opportunity to give something back and play a part in sustaining the natural resources that are the source of our prosperity."
Bass Pro Shops of Springfield endorsed the initiative in 1996. Other Missouri businesses backing Teaming With Wildlife are Arundale Products, Tracker Marine, Missouri Wildflower Nursery, American Rod & Gun and Big Cedar Lodge. The Conservation Federation of Missouri, the state's largest conservation group, also endorses the initiative.
The Third Annual Big River Days festival will be at Riverfront Park in Clarksville Sept. 20 and 21. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m both days.
Big River Days feature educational, inspirational and fun activities and exhibits, including riverboat music, traditional foods, lock and dam tours, a 5,000-gallon aquarium, a British regiment reenactment, a Native American encampment and kids activities, such as a live river otter show on Saturday.
The event is sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with the Conservation Department, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the City of Clarksville.
For more information, call (573) 242-3724.
"A Natural Invitation to Step Outside" is the theme of the 1997 National Hunting and Fishing Day, scheduled for Sept. 27.
Congress established National Hunting and Fishing Day over a quarter century ago to recognize hunters and anglers for their conservation achievements.
Gov. Mel Carnahan recognized the 1997 Hunting and Fishing Day in Missouri by proclamation, citing the long established and honorable roots of hunting, fishing and trapping in Missouri history and the continuing contribution of men and women actively involved in the harvest of Missouri's fish and wildlife to the conservation and restoration of Missouri's many forest, fish and wildlife species.
Sportsmen's clubs and conservation groups around the country often commemorate the day with open houses, outdoor skill competitions, conservation seminars and information fairs.
The Conservation Department will celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day statewide with numerous programs and events. Contact a nearby Conservation Department office for information about events in your area.
The Conservation Department is sponsoring a guided tour of the Stegal Mountain Natural Area Sept. 13. The tour will encompass the area bordered by Eminence, Ellington and Winona.
Naturalist Doug Newman will lead the tour, which will include visits to forests, glades, clear streams, waterfalls, scenic vistas and photo stops. Participants will see remnant habitats, rare plants, birds and wildlife.
The tour begins at 9 a.m. and lasts until mid-afternoon. Tour size is limited and reservations are required. For more information or to reserve a spot on the tour, call Pat French at (417) 256-7161.
The Missouri Trappers Association will hold its Fall Rendezvous and Annual Meeting at the Northeast Missouri Fairgrounds near Kirksville Sept. 19-21.
The event includes supply dealers, trapping demonstrations, a fish fry on Friday and a deep-pit barbecue on Saturday.
To reach the fairgrounds, take Highway 63 north from Columbia about 90 miles to Highway 11, then go east one mile to the fairgrounds.
For more information about the event, call Louis McVeigh ((816) 754-6594) or Stan Berkbuegler ((573) 547-2846).
Enjoy prairie tours, pioneer games, "string band" music and other entertaining sights and activities at Prairie Day Sept. 20.
The event, co-sponsored by the Conservation Department and the Missouri Botanical Garden, runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Shaw Arboretum is near the Gray Summit exit of Interstate 44. For more information, call (314) 301-1500.
The Community of Sparta, southeast of Springfield, will hold Persimmon Days on Main Street Oct. 24-25.
The event includes booths for arts and crafts, food, music, games and a costume parade. For information, call (417) 634-4049.
The price of "Voices of the Hills," an audiotape that recounts the colorful history of Shannon County was incorrectly listed as $10 in the July issue. The audiotape costs $5, plus $2 shipping and handling. Missouri residents should add 31 cents sales.
Eleven- to 15-year-olds are reminded to enroll early for waterfowl education clinics. Participants will learn the basics of waterfowl hunting, including calling, decoy placement, clothing needs, boats, effective shooting ranges and wingshooting. Registration is limited, and a guardian must accompany a youth to the clinic.
From clinic participants, youth parties will be randomly selected to participate in special youth duck hunts at popular wetland management areas. Those selected for hunts must be hunter education certified prior to hunt date.
For more information or to register for a clinic, call one of the conservation offices listed below.
Editor - Kathy Love
Assistant Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Designer - Tracy Ritter
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Staff Writer - Charlotte Overby
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer