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From Missouri Conservationist: Jan 2011

Ask the Ombudsman

Q: I have a cedar tree that is full of what I call bagworms. How do I get rid of them before they damage my tree?

A: You are correct that the little, conical-shaped “bags” on your tree are made by bagworms, which are the larvae of a moth, the bagworm moth, that is found throughout Missouri. The tough, silken bags, which are camouflaged with bits of cedar branches, are where the female bagworm will lay between 500 and 1,000 eggs. Hatching in the spring, the small larvae will emerge from the bags and begin feeding on the trees’ foliage. Each larva will soon construct its own bag to protect itself as it feeds. The larvae will eventually reach a length of about 1 inch. Feeding larvae can harm your tree by removing the foliage. Handpicking and destroying the bags before mid-May is effective, as is spraying the tree with insecticide when the young larvae are emerging in late May to early June. For more information, visit: http://extension.missouri.edu/explorepdf/agguides/pests/g07250.pdf.

Q: I noticed an adult bald eagle eating carrion on the road several times recently. Is it in danger? Can you do anything for it?

A: Bald eagles are becoming more common in Missouri. Thousands of the birds spend each winter here, and we now have close to 200 active nests each spring. In addition to catching fish, bald eagles will scavenge for food, including road-killed animals. It is becoming a more common sight to see eagles eating carrion along Missouri’s roads. Motorists should avoid any birds on the roadway if that can be done safely. Call your local conservation agent to report any eagles killed or injured by vehicles. It is a violation to possess or transport injured or dead eagles without a permit.

Ombudsman Tim Smith will respond to your questions, suggestions or complaints concerning Department of Conservation programs. Write him at PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, call him at 573-522-4115, ext. 3848, or e-mail him at Ombudsman@mdc.mo.gov.

Agent Notes

MDC helps youth discover nature

One of the most important aspects of an agent’s job is hunter education. Missouri is a great place to hunt and we need to make sure we have knowledgeable and safe hunters.

I remember going to hunter education class. I was 12 years old and had read the book a million times because I did not want to fail. When I got there it was a room full of boys and men; I was terrified. I did not say a word the whole time. I passed and have been hunting ever since, but I still remember just sitting there waiting for it to be over.

I later volunteered for an all-girls’ camp that taught hunter education with a lot more interactive activities. It was wonderful to see the girls become more confident as the class went on. When I moved to Missouri and became a conservation agent I saw an opportunity to create a class where young girls could come and learn in a comfortable, hands-on environment.

The camp is called Missouri Girls Exploring Nature! It is a free three-day, two-night girls’ camp held in July in Monroe County by MDC. This camp is aimed at introducing girls ages 11–15 to different outdoors skills in a supportive learning environment. The activities are led by experts, which gives the girls the confidence to explore Missouri’s diverse nature.

We have held camp for three successful years and have certified 136 girls in hunter education. We have high hopes of this camp continuing for years to come with the possibility of more locations. When I get letters from these “Missouri Girls,” or see the girls out hunting after class, it makes me feel proud to be an agent who helped just a little in their enjoyment of exploring nature. For more information on the Missouri Girls Exploring Nature! camp, please call the Northeast Regional office at 660-785-2420 or the St. Louis Regional office at 636-441-4554.

Becky Robertson is the conservation agent for St. Charles County. If you would like to contact the agent for your county, phone your regional Conservation office listed on Page 3.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
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