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From Missouri Conservationist: Jul 2006

Teacher’s Pet

Terrific! (This May issue of your magazine.) I just had to express my deep appreciation. I have been a collector of your magazine for a very long time, and I always had a copy in my classroom for 30 years of teaching. What a delightful improvement over the years! Such glorious color, and the great addition of Outside In is sure to attract adults as well as children.

I also want to alert your readers to an active conservation group in the St. Louis area: Women’s Voices. We are proud of the conservation activities so faithfully reported in this magazine. Thank you from all of us for this latest magnificent issue.

Margaret Hasse, St. Louis

Make Some Memories

My father purchased an out-of-state subscription for me a couple of years ago. I grew up in a little town called Dexter. My fondest memories of my childhood are of fishing with my father at places such as Wappapello Lake, Mingo, Duck Creek, Otter Slough and many different farm ponds. I, too, am blessed with children that like to go fishing with their dad. Thank you for reminding me how important it is to spend quality time outdoors with our children.

Kevin Williamson, Youngstown, OH

I would like to start by telling you how grateful I am to your magazine. I have been receiving it for about four years now. My 6-year-old and I look forward to receiving it every month. It has given us an additional bonding experience. This magazine has taught my son and I a lot more about Missouri and what it means to us.

Doug Reeves, St. James

International Acclaim

I want to tell you how impressed and fascinated I am with the vivid and colorful pictures of different animals, flowers, rivers, trees, prairies, lakes and places. It is so astounding! I am also impressed with Mr. Low for being noble-minded in his News and Almanac section; it really helps us to broaden our knowledge about nature.

Melody P. Guillena

Mintal Davao City, Philippines

The Two-Pole Blues

I would like to thank you for the fine article in the June 2006 Missouri Conservationist on blue catfishing [“Catching Big River Blues”]. The only thing that was not mentioned in your article was that when fishing the Mississippi River, you can have only two unlabeled poles to fish with, whereas you can fish with three unlabeled poles anywhere else. This is on page 49, rule “3 CSR 10-6.410: Fishing Methods,” per the Wildlife Code of Missouri, issued March 1, 2006. I was unaware of that rule myself until reading the regulation.

B.M. LaJeuness, Ballwin

Editor’s note: The Wildlife Code of Missouri is available from permit vendors statewide. An online version may be accessed on the Missouri Secretary of State’s Web site.

Rathert’s Eye View

Beautiful, delicate: ”Prairie rose and an immature grasshopper” [May 2006 cover]. Jim Rathert has captured the miracle of nature in this exquisite photograph.

Betty Skulstad, Beaufort, NC

Lose the Loosestrife

Thanks for Bob Gillespie’s interesting article about Missouri’s introduced species [“Nonnative Nuisance,” April 2006]. Though only a small proportion of these exotic species are classified as “invasive,” they cause considerable ecological and economic damage.

In addition to Jim Rathert’s always-exceptional photos, I particularly appreciated the information on how invasive species disperse, how they can be managed and where one can go for online resources.

I’d like to add one more resource that addresses invasive plant species in Missouri. The Midwest Invasive Plant Network is a growing organization that addresses virtually all aspects of invasive plant species in the upper Midwest. Information on problem species, control and management, current research, educational materials and even grants and jobs are available at.

Steve Carroll, member of the Education Committee of the Midwest Invasive Plant Network & associate professor of biology at Truman State University

The letters printed here reflect readers’ opinions about the Conservationist and its contents. Space limitations prevent us from printing all letters, but we welcome signed comments from our readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: We have a tree that grows large, long beans. We noticed today that there are about 100 caterpillars on it, and they have shredded the leaves. These caterpillars are 2-3 inches long and tannish with a black stripe down the back. What kind of tree is this, and what should we do about these caterpillars?

A: You’re describing a catalpa tree and the caterpillars that use that tree. Northern catalpa (also known as a cigar-tree due to its unique seed pods) is a native Missouri tree. It was originally found in the bottomlands of southeast Missouri, but it’s been planted all over the state in windbreaks and as an ornamental in yards. Catalpa “worms” are prized bait for some catfish anglers. If you can’t find any enterprising anglers willing to relieve you of your caterpillar crop, you can visit with your local university extension office or consult them online. Fortunately, in most cases, there is no need to be overly concerned about the presence of this caterpillar. If you have Internet access, listed below are some additional sites that may be helpful.

Please be aware there are some caterpillars that not only make poor fish bait, but they can actually cause discomfort to those who handle them. Again, the university extension provides good information on this topic.

Ombudsman Ken Drenon will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Conservation Department programs. Write him at P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at (573) 522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at <>.

This Issue's Staff

Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Designer - Susan Fine
Circulation - Laura Scheuler