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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2011

Ol’ Red-Breast

Your March article on robins [Just a Robin; Page 16] brought spring early to my Alaskan home, where I have resided since 1976. Born and raised in Missouri, I always looked forward to the robin’s first chirp to herald spring. Up here it is May before we see those delightful characters foraging for nesting materials and safe home sites. If all goes as it usually does at our rural cabin, they will stake out their secure home again in the rafters of our guest A-frame and the birch trees visible from our cabin window. Thanks for featuring old red-breast, and know their antics, like your magazine, bring a smile of appreciation to this aging St. Louie woman.

Brenda Rodgers, Eagle River, Alaska

Tree-Mendous Project

My admiration for the MDC grows monthly as I read each new issue of the Missouri Conservationist. The varied and extensive undertakings of the Department are truly impressive, as reflected in the article by Paul Hagey regarding the Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project [The Mosaic of an Ozark Forest; March]. The MDC’s ranking as one of the nation’s best conservation departments is justly deserved.

Gordon Kelley, Excelsior Springs

Welcome Back

I enjoyed seeing the article Conserving At-Risk Species in the February issue [Page 8]. Of particular interest to our family was the trumpeter swan. We have a property south of Marshfield that has a 5-acre lake. The lake gets a lot of farm runoff, which results in heavy growth of aquatic plants and duckweed and is optimal for trumpeter forage.

In 2009, we had a trumpeter visit on a few occasions. This past year, he stayed all summer. He made several flights during the Youth Deer Hunt, much to our delight. His enormous wingspan, thunderous wing-beats and striking whistling sounds as he took off and circled awed us as we watched from our tree stand. On Sunday of the Youth Hunt, he circled wider than he had previously, then turned and headed south. We’re hoping he returns in the spring with a female. If so, the vegetation we have long cursed for its effect on our fishing may not seem so bad.

Nolan C. Snider, Marshfield

Hot Topic

Bill Altman and Paul Hagey’s Prescribed Fire: A Management Tool article in the February issue took me back 40 years to several visits my wife and I made to visit her uncle, the late Dr. Harold Biswell, in Berkeley, Calif.

Dr. Biswell learned to appreciate the conservation of our natural environment as he grew up on the family farm in Howard County, Mo. (The farm, which my wife, Robin Biswell Pettijohn, and I own and continue to enjoy, has been “in the family” for more than 170 years.) After attending Central Methodist College in Fayette, he went on to earn his doctoral degree at the University of Nebraska, work for the U.S. Forest Service in the southeastern U.S., and finally settled in as a professor at the University of California-Berkeley. During his career, Dr. Biswell became a world-renowned leader in what has become known as “fire ecology.” This “Missouri boy” fought many of the early and controversial battles in what has become a widely accepted method of preserving our ranges, glades and forest systems.

Dr. James Pettijohn, professor Missouri State University, via Internet


The caption on Page 13 of the March issue reads “Common yellow-throated warbler.” It should have read “Common yellowthroat,” as it does on the photo. We regret any confusion.

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 - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler