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From Missouri Conservationist: Nov 2006

Cormorant Confusion

In your August 2006 issue, on page 17 [Birds of a feather...], you had a photo of birds roosting in a tree at sunset. they look like ducks or geese, but I have never seen those roosting in a tree. I loved the photo, but can you tell me what kind of bird it is?

Terry Reynolds, via Internet

Editor’s note: The birds in the photo are double-crested cormorants. They are colonial waterbirds commonly found in Missouri wetlands. However, some ducks, such as wood ducks, also perch in trees.

Strategy For the Next Gen

I am retired from a fortune 100 company. while there, I had the opportunity to participate in their long-range strategic planning process. I know that this is hard work. I want to compliment you on the fine job you have done for the citizens of Missouri [The Next Generation of Conservation, September 2006 issue]. Good work and great results!

Ben Janson, St. Louis

I would like to make one comment on page 13 of the September 2006 issue. Your goals are very commendable, but I would like to suggest that more emphasis be put on not littering.

Kathleen Paulis, Lincoln

For Better Picker-Uppers

Great job with the littering policy! I’ve spent years picking up soda/beer cans and bait wrappers, etc., and I am ecstatic that there will be a penalty paid by those littering. I hope that you have a mechanism to get the word out so we can keep our state beautiful.

Rick Nadler, Gray Summit

Editor’s note: For more information on Missouri’s first statewide anti-litter campaign online, or write to No MOre Trash!, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

68 Years Young

What year was the first issue of the Missouri Conservationist published?

Elijah Wilson, Excelsior Springs

Editor’s note: The Missouri Conservationist began as a quarterly newsletter on July 1, 1938. On the first run, 10,000 copies were published.

Survey Says

I just filled out the survey regarding the Missouri Conservationist and could not pass up the opportunity to thank you for a great and worthwhile publication. My wife and I take care of our 7-year old grandson while his mother works, and those [our] responses also reflect his interest in the articles. It not only provides interest in the outdoors, animals and “bugs”—he learned to read (with our help) via the Conservationist.

Beverly Cole, via Internet

Editor’s note: In May, the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Institute of Public Policy in the University of Missouri Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs, conducted a survey of Missouri Conservationist readers. Participants were chosen at random and asked to comment on such topics as overall satisfaction with the publication’s topics, accuracy, quality and effectiveness; ideas for possible inclusion in future issues; the types of activities they enjoy, and more. We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the survey, and we look forward to using your responses to shape future issues of the Conservationist.

Encore Performance

It was great seeing Joel Vance back inside the covers of the Conservationist with his article The Seven-Year Night. Who better to write about the Department’s success story than the man who for years captured the very spirit of the outdoors with his wonderful work.

Tom Karl, Farmington

Places & Faces of MO

The most recent issue [September 2006] of the Missouri Conservationist arrived today. The cover photo of the two wholesome young people was excellent. The natural beauty of Missouri is a heritage for all our citizens. Thanks for providing the best Missouri resident fringe benefit!

Bob Bailey, Fulton

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: In the February issue of the Conservationist magazine, I saw that there is a furbearer called nutria. What exactly is a nutria?

A: Nutria (Myocastor coypus) are native to South America. If you can imagine a muskrat/beaver cross, that’s a pretty good likeness of this animal.

Nutria were brought to the U.S. back in the 1930s when fur farming was big business. Unfortunately, some of them escaped to the wild. They have since adapted and done well where they were originally held in captivity—Louisiana and the Pacific Northwest. Louisiana has tried to reduce nutria numbers due to the destruction they cause to that state’s coastline.

Over the years, nutria have slowly moved northward, and occasionally a trapper in south Missouri will take one. Nutria were added to the Wildlife Code in order to allow trappers to legally take and sell them.

For more information about nutria, see below.

For more information about Missouri furbearers and hunting and trapping, see below.

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