Silent World of Nature

By Sheri Medlock | August 2, 2005
From Missouri Conservationist: Aug 2005

EVER WONDER how you would experience nature if you were unable to hear? Think about what you might or might not see.

Would you be able to identify a bird in the distance or in a dense forest? Would you know whether there was running water nearby? Would you be oblivious to a gobbling turkey until it came into sight?

Many treasures in nature are well-hidden, and sounds may give important clues to them. The challenge for people who are deaf or hard of hearing in this landscape is that they must use other clues to discover these treasures.

When things are quiet, you would be amazed by how much detail you notice in the web of life around you. Most helpful is knowing where to look and what you can expect to find. Having a basic knowledge about nature is essential.

Knowing hibernation, breeding and hatching seasons, for instance, will improve your success in locating wildlife. Studying habitat requirements and daily activity patterns for wild species also is useful.

If you are looking for bullfrogs, you might start by locating likely habitat, such as a permanent body of water with a muddy bottom (for winter burrowing). Then you would search for your quarry between spring and fall, when bullfrogs are most active. If you know that bullfrogs are most skittish during the day and more easily approached at night, you can further improve your chances and the quality of your observations.

Using clues of behavior and habitat, learning to read signs and tracks, and focusing more on the colors, scents and textures of nature can improve the experience of all outdoor enthusiasts—not just those who are deaf or hearingimpaired.

It is a good exercise to cover your ears so that you can focus on the sights and scents of nature.

We invite you to join in any of the Conservation Department’s hands-on, specialized programs for the deaf and hard of hearing and their families and friends. These programs, presented in sign language, are offered throughout the state. Themes of programs, dates and times are listed here. To sign up for a program, please call the site where they are offered.

We look forward to sharing nature with you!

  1. Rockwoods Reservation
    Phone: (636) 458-2236, ext. 0
    “Let’s Go Caving!”
    Date: Saturday, October 1
    Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
  2. August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Nature Center
    Phone: (636) 441-4554
    “A Day With The Naturalist: Ted Shanks Conservation Area”
    Location: Meet at August A. Busch
    Date: Saturday, November 12
    Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  3. Runge Conservation Nature Center
    Phone: (573) 526-5544
    “A Day With The Naturalist: Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area”
    Location: Meet at Runge Nature Center
    Date: Saturday, November 5
    Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  4. Springfield Conservation Nature Center
    Phone: (417) 888-4237
    “Trees of Missouri”
    Date: Sunday, October 16
    Time: 1 - 3 p.m.

“A Day With The Naturalist: Nature Jaunt”
Date: Sunday, December 4
Time: 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

  1. Discovery Center Urban Conservation Campus
    Phone: (816) 759-7300
    “Woodworking for Wildlife”
    Date: Saturday, October 8
    Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

“Nature’s Palette”
Date: Saturday, December 3
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

  1. Burr Oak Woods Conservation Nature Center
    Phone: (816) 228-3766
    “Family Fishing”
    Date: Saturday, August 13
    Time: 9 -11 a.m.

“A Day With The Naturalist: Bodies of Water”
Date: Tuesday, August 23 OR Thursday, August 25
Time: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Date: Saturday, September 17
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

“Owl Be Seeing You”
Date: Saturday, October 22
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

“Aw Nuts!”
Date: Saturday, November 26
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

“A Day With The Naturalist: Birds at Cooley Lake”
Location: Meet at Burr Oak Woods
Date: Saturday, December 17
Time: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

“Animal Signatures”
Date: Saturday, December 31
Time: 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - TomCwynar
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Editor - Ara Clark
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Circulation - Laura Scheuler