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From Missouri Conservationist: June 2017

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

Tower Grove Park

My husband and I enjoyed the recent publication that featured photos of birds taken in Tower Grove Park, St. Louis [March]. I grew up in St. Louis and my husband moved to St. Louis in 1950. We met and married in St. Louis and frequented the park for picnics, special celebrations, and holidays. Later, as our two children were growing up, kite flying was a yearly activity at the park. It’s a beautiful park.

The Lockharts, Fulton

I live in Kansas, but we spend a great deal of time at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Every month I look forward to reading the Missouri Conservationist. Tower Grove Park by Danny Brown is outstanding! I am a birder, so it naturally caught my eyes right away.

I truly enjoyed how Danny shared his wildlife photography project at Tower Grove Park with us. Not only is Danny Brown a terrific wildlife photographer, he is also a wonderful writer. I felt I was right there with him as he photographed birds during the four seasons.

I look forward to a future trip to St. Louis and Tower Grove Park, so I can see this historic landmark and these beautiful birds myself.

Ann Tanner, Leawood, Kansas

Forgot the Duckweed

You missed a great opportunity to get two for the price of one in the April issue’s What Is It? The correct answer is American bullfrog and duckweed. Thanks for this great shot of both. Most people consider duckweed as just another element of pond scum without ever considering the value it has in water habitats. Not to mention it is beautiful.

Sue Hollis, West Plains

In the April What Is It? photo, I was probably not the only botanist reader who was chagrined that the American bullfrog got all the credit while the lowly Wolffia, which dominated the photo, was not even mentioned. While bullfrogs are interesting and good eating, the Wolffia plant, also known as duckweed or watermeal, is probably even more interesting and also edible. It is one of the smallest flowering plants on earth and has about the same amount of protein as soybeans, about 40 percent when dried. It is also one of the few flowering plants without roots and the flower contains a single pistil and a single stamen. These characteristics make it pretty unique in the plant world. They are also found in every county in Missouri, so they are common enough that most of us have probably seen them at one time or another.

Bob Warrick, Gainesville

Nature Knights

Regarding the two letters recently about the Nature Knights program [February and April], I believe my dad, Townsend Godsey, was the man responsible for starting the program. He was a firm believer in the importance of educating people about their environment and the importance of conservation. I can remember how pleased my brother, sister, and I were when he was able to get Walt Disney to do the border illustrations for the certificates.

Dad and my mother, Helen, who was also involved, would have been so pleased to know of the good memories these two letter writers have of the program. My thanks to them for sharing those memories.

Katye Godsey Elsea, Marshall

Editors’ note: Townsend Godsey started the first formal youth education program of the Conservation Commission in the spring of 1939. The Nature Knights program was structured to let youngsters progress from pages to squires and knights as they achieved conservation goals. Walt Disney, who grew up in Marceline, designed the certificates for the program, which were instant hits with the young conservationists.

Reader Photo

A Frog Hops Into a Buffet

Will Simard captured this photo of a gray treefrog on a corn plant in his small garden in St. Charles. “I have been dealing with aphids in my garden,” said Simard. “Within the last few days, I’d noticed a decline (of the pests). I’d assumed it was due to rain and a few ladybugs.” However, when Simard went out to his garden one evening after work, he noticed the frog “enjoying an aphid buffet on my corn.” Simard says he hates using pesticides and prefers natural alternatives. “This little guy seems to be doing the job just fine.”

This Issue's Staff

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