Get Outside in April

By MDC | April 1, 2021
From Missouri Conservationist: April 2021
Body

A Toad Abode

Another familiar member of that spring soundtrack is the American toad. Male toads start singing on warm April nights. Their high-pitched trills last about 15 to 20 seconds at a time. American toads will keep insects in balance in your yard and garden. To make them welcome, make them a house! Turn a chipped clay pot upside down in a shady, leafy area. Set a clay saucer on top to keep it dark and cool.

Hungry Hummingbirds

As hummingbirds make their return to Missouri, keep them fueled up. Mid-April is a good time to hang up hummingbird feeders. To make “nectar,” boil one part white sugar with four parts water, then let it cool. No need to add red food dye.

State Flower and Tree

Do you know the state’s official flower and tree? If not, April is a good time to go out and learn about them. Hawthorn trees bloom starting in April. The hawthorn’s flowers, Missouri’s official state flower, look like clusters of small apple blossoms. Dogwood trees, our official state tree, also start blooming in mid-April. Four large, showy bracts look like petals that surround a cluster of the actual flowers, which are small and yellowish.

Mushroom Mania

April is a good time to start hunting for a Missouri delicacy — the morel mushroom. Notoriously hard to spot against the forest floor, morels are found in a variety of habitats, including moist woodlands and in river bottoms. They are often associated with ash trees, dying elms, and apple trees. There are three varieties of morels that are edible in Missouri, including yellow, black, and half-free morels. To be safe, always be certain of your mushroom identification before consuming. For more information, consult the Guide to Missouri’s Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZNf.

Native Plants: Naturescaping Blueprint for Butterflies

Wednesday, April 7, 6–7:30 p.m. Virtual event.

Register by April 6 at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZRo or by calling 417-629-3434.

The blueprint for an engaging naturescaped yard or a school’s outdoor classroom is as basic as third grade ecology. However, the rewards and the aesthetics are for all who love nature. Conservation educator and Grow Native! advisor Jeff Cantrell will share some garden designs and recommended native forbs for butterfly gardens at schools, public parks, and homes.

Basic Archery for Adults

Saturday, April 24, 9 a.m.–noon. East Central College, 1964 Prairie Dell Road, Union, MO 63084.

Registration required by April 17 at short.mdc.mo.gov/ZRJ. Call East Central College at 636-649-5803 to confirm registration and to pay required fee to cover ECC administrative costs. Ages 11 and older

Are you an adult that has never shot a bow and arrow before and you’re not sure how to get started? Or maybe you did when you were young, but never pursued the activity any further. Learn the basics of shooting a bow and arrow using some of the techniques and methods that have been adopted by the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). Learn archery shooting fundamentals while gaining knowledge about equipment options and choices. All equipment will be provided. Not recommended for adults with shoulder or back injuries.

Find more events in your area at mdc.mo.gov/events

Hammocking

Spending time in nature, including time in a hammock, is full of health benefits. Hammocking can reduce stress, improve sleep (nap time!), and improve your focus. It’s also a great activity for any age. The gear is simple and easy to set up, and you can hammock almost anywhere — even in your own backyard.

Here’s a few tips for hanging out:

  • Pick the right place. Check to make sure hammocking is allowed, if in a park or public area. Set up at least 200 feet away from any water source, and be mindful of leave no trace principles.
  • Select healthy trees at least 6 inches in diameter, with no dead branches or wildlife to disturb, and use nylon/polyester tree-saver straps to hang your hammock.
  • Secure your hammock about a 30-degree angle between the strap and ground, having the bottom of the hammock about 18-inches off the ground.
  • Listen to nature sounds around you, or your favorite music playlist, to help you relax. Reading and sleeping are also great hammock activities.

Natural Events to See This Month

Here’s what’s going on in the natural world.

  • Thirteen-lined and Franklin’s ground squirrels emerge from hibernation.
  • June beetles appear.
  • Look for luna moths around porch lights.
  • Copperheads leave winter dens.

Listen for the rattling calls of belted kingfishers.

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler