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From Missouri Conservationist: Oct 2011

Kids & Creeks

I read with interest the August article Kids and Creeks. It brought back many wonderful memories of how my parents, who lived in Rolla, would take my daughters to what we called the “baby creek” on the Piney River. This was always a fun and exciting time for everyone, just like you described in the article. My daughters are now 41 and 36 and still talk about catching crawdads, throwing rocks and wading in the “baby creek.” Thanks for reminding us all how much fun the Missouri outdoors can be—even something as simple as a creek.

My dad was a stickler about littering. His rule, and it still applies to all my family, was “you always leave it better than you found it.”

Sharon Peterkort, via Internet

Native Beauties

Every day this sweltering heat involves the crazed watering of flowering plants that, no matter the quantity poured on them, still wither by 10 a.m. It’s become an aerobic workout just to keep them hydrated! Sweat drips off my face as I pull the hose from pot to pot, ignoring their ‘cheap’ colleagues, our native Missouri plants, the true botanical heroes.

Who can deny the amazing resiliency of Passiflora incarnata, aka passion flower, or Eupatorium purpureum, aka Joe-pye, or Rudbeckia triloba, aka brown-eyed susan. I haven’t watered them yet, except by accident! Next to the over-cultivated, over-priced and over-valued wimps we buy from the nurseries and pamper like babies, these native plants are spectacular in their productivity. Real honey bees, not those fake knock-off sweat bees, swarm these plants, sipping alongside enormous butterflies and bumblebees by the dozens, all gainfully employed in pollination. I don’t see any of these insects stop by the ‘store bought’ flowers on their way to their jobs.

That we spend so much money, water and time on grafted and engineered specimens seems a little silly when there is an abundance of beautiful—and productive—native plants that ask nothing from us, except perhaps not to be weed-whipped.

Wendy Dyer, Chesterfield

More Treasure!

I read the article on geocaching in the July issue [Modern Day Treasure Hunting] and want to offer my input in the event that you decide to run an article on a similar hobby, letterboxing.

Letterboxing is another type of “treasure hunt” that uses clues for directions instead of a GPS. Sometimes the clues are straightforward, while some require puzzle solving. The most important difference is that the “treasure” is an image of a hand-carved (usually) rubber stamp that often has something to do with the area in which it was found. So you end up with a book that’s like a passport showing all the places you have been. Many of them are nature related, such as a series about tree species, native flowers and birds, etc.

I’m a leader in the St. Louis-area letterboxing community (and the “permit cheerleader”) and was recently interviewed for an article which appeared in Columbia Home magazine at columbiahl.com/2011/06/letterboxing.

Since there is a lot of work and artistry put into letterboxes, the planters are always concerned about what is published about this hobby. Like you, we are also concerned that new letterboxers take care not to damage the area that they are in. In addition, the letterboxing community even holds events now and then, where folks can go to one park, meet other ‘boxers and find lots of themed letterboxes in one day. We are hosting a stargazing themed event in Augusta this September, which will include 30-plus boxes with constellation rubber stamps.

Robin Barton, Foristell

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