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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2020

Letters to the Editor

Submissions reflect readers’ opinions and may be edited for length and clarity. Email or write to us:

Missouri Conservationist
P.O. Box 180
Jefferson City, MO 65102

What Lies Beneath

In 66 years, I had no idea there are burrowing crawdads [Burrowing Crayfish, March]. I have seen these mud towers and thought they were built by wasps. I learn something every issue.

Rich Murray, St. Louis County

Crayfish Kudos

Thoroughly enjoyed your article on burrowing crayfish. Growing up in Arnold, there was a small stream not far from the Meramec River. The stream emptied into a creek that flowed in the river. Along the stream, we would see gray clay chimneys.

June Kirk, O’Fallon


I have a question about Neonicotinoids and Wetlands [Nature Lab]. What I’ve read is that neonics are largely responsible for deaths in bees. I would think that farmers would want to preserve the pollinators. I realize that insects can also be disastrous to crops. Isn’t there a solution that works for a better choice? And do these poisoned insects, or the contaminated waters, have an effect on bird populations?

Joyce Steinbuch, Lathrop

Pesticides, including neonicotinoids, are one of the many pressures on pollinators and other invertebrates worldwide. And, since bugs are basically bird food, pesticides may indirectly affect bird populations. That said, we know our farming partners care very much about the important role pollinators play in agricultural systems. Many of them work hard to practice integrated pest management, which includes monitoring pest populations and establishing thresholds for control, as well as strategically applying pesticides like neonicotinoids. Additionally, many invest time and money to establish pollinator habitat in the form of flowering plants on their properties. Another aspect of our neonicotinoid research, not covered in this article, found that increased floral diversity buffered the effect of neonicotinoid concentrations on native bee abundance. Given the important role of native bees as pollinators, this results in a win-win situation. —the editors

Bloodroot: Be Aware

In March’s What Is It?, shouldn’t there have been a warning about the bloodroot’s sap?

David Stokely, Republic

Bloodroot contains a reddish-orange sap that can irritate the skin. Care should be taken to avoid direct skin contact with the plant’s sap. —the editors

Family Fun

Our family enjoys the Conservationist and Xplor magazines. They are so informative and well designed. My 4.5-year-old son says, “Thank you for this magazine. It’s so great.” Keep up the good work.

The O’Neal Family Smithville

A Good Read

Thank you for the high-quality magazine you put out month after month. I am a special education reading teacher in a middle school. I find your magazine to be a wealth of material for lesson plans. The photography is incredible, the topics well researched, and the articles well written. Thanks again for making this an excellent educational tool!

Rosa Hamilton, via email


In Places to Go [April], we incorrectly stated Little Dixie Lake Conservation Area (CA) has camping available. The area is closed from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m., so camping is not allowed. For more information on Little Dixie Lake CA, visit

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This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Art Director - Cliff White

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler