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From Missouri Conservationist: Sep 2015

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

Helpful Snake Info

I love your magazine. Over the years, I have enjoyed many articles/pictures. Many, many years ago, you printed an insert, Snakes of Missouri [April, 1980]. I kept it since we lived in a wooded area and had small children. Little did I know it would come in handy recently. My husband was grilling and stepped outside by a copperhead; it bit him on the heel. Thanks to your magazine (with pictures), I was able to determine the kind of snake for the poison hotline. My husband, turns out, had a dry bite, and is fine. Thank you for your great magazine.

Kimberly Saucier, via email

Campfire Cooking

Enjoyed your article on campfire cooking [Campfire Cooks of MDC; July], but you left out one of the easiest and tastiest campfire recipes. My father taught us to cook potatoes in the fire. When your fire is good and hot with plenty of coals, you just throw baking potatoes right in without foil. Turn once or twice and after 30 to 45 minutes you end up with what looks like charcoal. When you take them out, cut them in half and put butter, salt, and pepper on them. They are wonderfully smoky. Best baked potatoes ever (don’t eat the skin).

Michael Fink, via email

Portrait of a Lizard

I was so delighted to see one of my favorite Missouri creatures make the cover of the June issue, highlighting The Rebound of the Eastern Collared Lizard. I wanted to let you know that one of our Missouri “mountain boomers” is an international ambassador for conservation! My oil portrait of a little fellow my family and I discovered on a hike at Taum Sauk Mountain traveled to Vancouver in August to start a year-long tour promoting conservation as part of the Artists for Conservation 2015 International Juried Exhibit of Nature in Art. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this work will go to support the work of the Missouri Prairie Foundation. Glad the beautiful ”boomer” is finally getting his due! Information on the 2015 exhibit can be found at artistsforconservation.org. Keep up the good work!

Rob Dreyer, via email

Longtime Reader

When I was in the fourth grade in 1955, one of our homework assignments was to subscribe to the Missouri Conservationist magazine. When I got married, I changed my name and the magazine kept coming as it did through several moves. I have read the publication cover to cover for 60 years now and have always enjoyed the letters, photos, and articles. I just wanted you to know how much I’ve enjoyed it through all these years.

Patricia Antle, Exeter


On Page 30 of the August 2015 issue, we misidentified the flower featured in Plants & Animals. The photo shows the stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus), not the bristly sunflower (Helianthus hirsutus). We regret the error.


The answer to August’s What Is It? stated, ”Copperheads live on rocky hillsides and along forest edges in the northern two-thirds of the state.” The sentence should have read, ”Osage copperheads live on rocky hillsides and along forest edges in the northern two-thirds of the state. The southern copperhead subspecies Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix is found in the remaining third of the state.”

The Ask MDC section of the August issue stated, ”Northern goshawks tend to maintain between one to eight nests within an area. While they may use the same nest more than once, they typically alternate between more than two nests. Scientists speculate it might be a way to avoid disease and parasites.” That information is correct; however, Northern goshawks do not nest in Missouri. They are rarely seen in Missouri, but venture here in winter when hare populations are scarce in their typical habitats — the extreme northern United States, Canada, and western states.

Reader Photo

An Unusual Plant

Debbi McCaul photographed this Indian pipe plant on her farm in northwest Phelps County. Indian pipe is unusual because it lacks chlorophyll, making it white instead of green like other plants. The plant cannot make its own food, so it takes nourishment indirectly from tree roots, which are joined to the plant’s roots underground by fungi. McCaul said she loves nature photography and will go along on her husband’s hunting trips to take photos. They enjoy walking on their property where they raise cattle and are trying to restore a small glade to create quail habitat.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler