by Heather Feeler
One official sign of spring is the return of the peregrine falcons to their nesting box at Ameren Missouri’s Sioux Energy Center in St. Louis. For the fourth year, the public has online access to the FalconCam, a bird’s-eye view of the peregrine falcons raising their chicks. The FalconCam is made possible through a cooperative effort among the Missouri Department of Conservation, Ameren Missouri, and the World Bird Sanctuary (WBS).
Falcon nesting activities can be viewed via the FalconCam from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. (CDT), seven days a week on the Department’s website at mdc.mo.gov/node/16934, on Ameren’s website at AmerenMissouri.com/FalconWatch, and on the WBS website at worldbirdsanctuary.org. WBS experts will offer periodic website commentary about what’s happening in the nest. The FalconCam will be available until nesting activity is complete and the young have left the nest.
Peregrine falcons are the world’s fastest animals, having been clocked at 261 mph when diving in pursuit of the pigeons and other birds that are their most common prey. For more information on peregrine falcons, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3848.
Conservation Agent Keith Wollard received the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Wildlife Officer of the Year award at their national convention in Nashville, Tenn. Wollard has been a conservation agent for 30 years in Wright County.
One aspect of Wollard’s job that drew praise from NWTF was his enforcement record, particularly as it related to turkey-poaching violations. Wollard has made more than 180 arrests of people attempting to hunt turkeys outside of the spring and fall seasons. Though enforcing
Missouri’s game and fishing regulations is the primary focus of his job, Wollard’s approach to informing citizens about the state’s great fish and wildlife resources is definitely innovative. Wollard helped form and now leads a conservation program that improves habitat for turkey, quail, and other game species on private and public land in Wright and surrounding counties.
He has been instrumental in involving the Soil and Water Conservation District, NWTF, and the National Resource Conservation Service in this effort. He also is a founding member of the
Mountain Grove NWTF chapter and is active in youth-mentored hunts, selecting youth scholarship recipients, and hosting young hunters at JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics, and Sportsmanship) events.
“Agent Wollard is an outstanding example of someone who recognizes the importance of conserving wildlife and habitat and preserving our hunting heritage,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “His dedication to upholding game laws and reaching potential hunters is impressive.
We commend his service and are proud to honor him with this award.”
The Department of Conservation invites women to have a weekend of fun while learning outdoor skills at its annual “Discover Nature — Women Summer Workshop.” The weekend of hands-on learning will be May 29–31 at the Windermere Baptist Conference Center in Roach, along the Lake of the Ozarks. The registration deadline is April 24.
The workshop provides a safe and friendly environment where women learn beginner-level, hands-on outdoor-skills in four courses in one of the following areas: archery, basic hunting, canoeing, introduction to firearms, plant-animal-tree identification, camping, fishing fundamentals, fly tying, map and compass reading, and shotgun shooting. First-time participants are encouraged to attend the program a second year to complete four additional courses.
The special weekend is targeted to women 18 years and older. Young women ages 14-17 may also attend, when accompanied by a woman 18 years or older. The workshop is free, but a $20 deposit is required at the time of registration and will be refunded at check in. There is no deposit fee for young women ages 14-17 when registered with an adult.
Participants are responsible for making room and meal reservations directly with Windermere by calling 573-346-5200 or 800-346-2215, or online at windermereusa.org. Various lodging options are available at the Windermere Conference Center, including lodge, motel, cabin, and camping. Accommodation prices will vary with the number of guests per room.
Download the brochure with full course descriptions and a registration form at mdc. mo.gov/node/3958. For more information, call 573-522-4115, ext. 3808.
The Conservation Department’s August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in St. Charles closed its doors at the end of 2014 to make way for construction of an expanded, state-of-the-art shooting range on the current property. You can watch the daily progress of this renovation project through two Web cameras that give a high-level view of the construction site at mdc.mo.gov/node/30020. The easy-to-navigate control panel allows viewers to choose between the two cameras, zoom in, and scroll around the image, and even choose the date and time of the images displayed. There is also a time-lapse feature to show the progression of the site over time.
The new Busch range will incorporate the most current national shooting range design standards, including more shooting stations, new classroom facilities, improvements for user convenience, and reduced wait times. The entire project is part of the Department’s ongoing commitment to help Missourians improve their outdoor skills and discover nature, and is expected to take 24-30 months, depending on construction and weather.
Phase I of the project began in January and included the demolition of the current facility, as well as site preparation and grading for the new facility, which will be built from the ground up on the same location. Phase II, which should commence in 2016, will include the construction of the new range.
To help shooters stay informed and engaged during the Busch shooting range renovation project, the Department has an online renovation update blog at mdc.mo.gov/node/29307. The blog includes periodic postings and photos documenting all stages of the renovation project, including initial demolition of the old range through final construction and opening of the new facility. It also offers other informative content such as shooting safety, hunter education, events, and other shooting-related opportunities.
The Missouri Department of Conservation’s 2015 Summary of Missouri Hunting and Trapping Regulations, 2015 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, and 2015 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklets are now available. The booklets contain information on regulations in an easy-to-read format, including changes from the previous season and new information for the year ahead. Get copies of the free booklets where permits are sold, at Department offices throughout the state (regional phone numbers on Page 3), and online at and online at mdc.mo.gov.
Learn about Missouri’s rich river history and how clean flowing water in our rivers is vital to sustaining the lives of all Missourians. In Voices of Missouri’s Rivers, published by the Department of Conservation, retired Department Fisheries Division Chief William Turner explores the natural and cultural history of Missouri’s rivers in 360 pages of vivid, full-color detail. Highlights include the state’s river history, basic river science, and a glimpse of the future of river conservation. The book sells for $19.50 plus tax (and shipping for mail orders) at MDC nature centers, regional and public contact offices, and online at mdcnatureshop.com.
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at fishing, but didn’t want to invest in equipment, consider using the Department of Conservation’s Rod - and- Reel Loaner Program. With 40 locations throughout the state, you are sure to find one near your favorite fishing hole.
Since 2001, this program has promoted family outings and encouraged anglers who might not be ready or able to purchase their own rods and essentials. It’s also a great resource for anglers away from home.
To borrow equipment, you must have a valid fishing permit. In addition to rods, participants receive a small tackle box filled with hooks, sinkers, bobbers, and a stringer to help make their outing a success.
To find a loaner location near you, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/28592. —Tisha Holden
The February Commission meeting featured presentations and discussions regarding a lake renovation plan, Missouri Natural Areas program, Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, MDC website redesign, feral hogs, and fiscal year 2015 mid-year review of major construction projects, information technology projects, and revenue and expenditure trends. A summary of actions taken during the Feb. 19–20 meeting for the benefit and protection of forests, fish, and wildlife, and the citizens who enjoy them includes:
The next Conservation Commission meeting is April 16 and 17. For more information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3430, or call your regional Conservation office (phone numbers on Page 3).
The western painted turtle can be found statewide, except for southeastern counties. This species may occur in slow-moving rivers, sloughs, oxbow lakes, ponds, and drainage ditches, and it spends much time basking on logs. This brightly colored, small, semiaquatic turtle has a smooth upper shell, which normally has yellow, irregular lines and a reddish-orange outer edge. Head and legs may be dark brown or black and strongly patterned with yellow lines. The lower shell is red-orange with a prominent pattern of brown markings. It eats aquatic plants, snails, crayfish, insects, and some fish. —photograph by Noppadol Paothong
Conservation makes Missouri a great place to fish.
Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler