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From Missouri Conservationist: Jun 2014

Submissions reflect readers’ opinions and might be edited for length and clarity.

Nature’s Library

The May issue was the best of all the bests. Thank you. I was especially taken with Jim Low’s Browsing Nature’s Library and wondered if perhaps your gift shop has a “coffee-table style” book covering each of Missouri’s conservation areas, written and pictured in the same style. Such a book would make a lovely gift for those who do not live in Missouri.

Back to Jim Low’s enticing article, I noticed that quite a few of those segments mention fires. I am sure Missouri has fires, as any forested state will have, but I’ve never actually known of one. Are these fires that Jim Low mentions controlled burns? Or are we having that many natural (or human-made) fires?

Hazel M. White, via Internet

Ombudsman’s Note: We do have a for-sale publication that is a guide to 50 Missouri Natural Areas. It is available through our Nature Shop at mdcnatureshop.com or by calling 877-521-8632.

The prescribed fires that Jim Low mentioned are prescribed burns that are intentionally set for habitat management. It is too dangerous to let most natural fires burn in Missouri today due to the property damage that can result. Prior to European settlement of the Midwest, Native Americans used fire as a management tool and natural (lightning-set) fires could sweep over large areas. Many of our natural communities are fire dependent, so we continue to maintain that important element in protecting our native biodiversity when fires can be used safely. —Tim E. Smith

Xplor Reading

We wanted to let you know how much the families in our READ from the START programs are enjoying the issue of Xplor magazine that they receive at the program. Our facilitators have reported that the parents and caregivers are excited to learn about the magazine and happy to hear that they can subscribe to it for free! Here is a recent anecdote from one of our facilitators:

“I passed out materials and showed the parents how they could create their own books using zip lock bags. I then passed out copies of Xplor magazine. I told them they could subscribe to the magazine for free and, after they looked through it and read it with their children, the children could cut out photos to create their own animal books.”

The magazines are popular with the dads who attend our programs. Many of them comment that they look forward to connecting nature and outdoor activities with literacy.

Thank you so much for supplying us with these copies so that we can introduce families to this great resource.

Julie Douglas, family programs director, Missouri Humanities Council, St. Louis

Editors’ Note: Xplor is the Department of Conservation’s award-winning magazine for children.


The May “News and Events” article, Pallid Sturgeon Spawning Documented, incorrectly stated that a newly hatched pallid sturgeon was found and identified through genetic testing. The newly hatched fish was a shovelnose sturgeon, not a pallid sturgeon, and was captured through a long-term, collaborative research effort with the U.S. Geological Survey. The article also mistakenly credited the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program for funding pallid sturgeon restoration. Sport Fish Restoration funds have not been used to support pallid sturgeon recovery efforts. The article should have stated that the Missouri River Recovery Program, administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has funded most of the Department’s pallid sturgeon propagation and assessment efforts for more than a decade. The Conservationist regrets these errors and omissions.

Reader Photo


Holly Goyea captured this picture of a hummingbird “sneezing” in her backyard garden in Cedar Hill. “The bird has flower mites and is trying to get them off,” explains Department of Conservation ornithologist Brad Jacobs. “The flower mites consume nectar and, when they are full, they quickly run up the bill of a visiting hummingbird. The hummer sneezes to try to keep them from catching a ride, but the mites are very fast. They hold on for the flight to the next flower, where they quickly run down the bill and jump off onto this new location.” Goyea loves photography and has feeders and gardens to attract wildlife to her yard, which give her lots of opportunities to capture great photos.

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - vacant
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Brett Dufur
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler