Conservation Education

By |
From Missouri Conservationist: Feb 2009

Nature Activity

Vulture Venture

Vulture Venture

  • Program: 13th Annual Vulture Venture
  • Where: Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery
  • When: Saturday, Feb. 21 from noon to 6 p.m.
  • Registration: No registration needed, and the program is free. Call (417) 334-4865, ext. 0 for more information.

Since 1996, the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery in Branson has hosted Missouri’s award-winning Vulture Venture program, featuring one of Missouri’s most misunderstood and highly beneficial birds. Our 13th annual event will be held at Lake Taneycomo, one of the few places where you can see both the black and turkey vulture in the same location. Participants will enjoy hourly live vulture programs with Socrates, a turkey vulture, from the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield. Attend vulture activities and games indoors, then go outdoors to see Missouri’s largest winter population of vultures. As the sun begins to set, you’ll get an up-close view of vulture “kettling”—a circling swarm of birds swooping in to roost for the night. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of an unpublished Betty Chmielniak-Grace vulture print—and stick around to see if you will be the lucky participant to take home the original!

Endangered Species Postcard Contest

View 2008’s top 12 winners online—a set of the top four are available for purchase.

Sensitive species such as hellbenders and madtoms are disappearing from Ozark rivers and streams, the only places in Missouri that provide them suitable habitat.

To help Missouri’s kindergarten through 8th-grade students learn about the state’s endangered species, the Department held a postcard contest this past fall. In response, students flooded the Department with more than 2,600 hand-drawn postcards depicting the theme, “Ozark river and stream habitat—we gotta have it!”

Four talented students took first-place prizes, one each for the four grade categories.

  1. Madelynn McIntyre of Hannibal won the K–2nd grade category
  2. and Tom Bui of St. Louis won the 3rd–4th grade category
  3. Meng Zou of Chesterfield took the top prize for the 5th–6th grade category
  4.  and Olivia Deeken of Westphalia won the 7th–8th grade category

View the top 12 winners online.

First place winners had their cards printed and sold through Department Nature Shops, with proceeds going to conservation education programs. To purchase a set, visit

Find an Activity Near You

Online calendar lists nature events around the state.

Whether you’re an avid hunter or casual nature observer, you’ll find your favorite outdoor pursuit in the Department’s online Calendar of Events. Designed for every age, interest and ability, it includes events and programs offered at your local nature center, conservation area or range and outdoor education center. Families will find nature activities for kids, hikers will find organized hikes, and hunters and anglers will find programs and clinics. Department events are a great way to reconnect with nature and get involved with conservation efforts. Search for programs near you online.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler