Get Outside

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From Missouri Conservationist: September 2020

Ways to Connect With Nature

Black Gold

Missouri is the world’s top producer of black walnuts, which begin ripening in September. The nutmeat is sweet and used in baking and confections. For recipe ideas, visit

The Song of the Herd

Elk begin bugling this month. To see Missouri’s elk herd, and take in some fall color while there, you can take a self-guided driving tour at Peck Ranch Conservation Area. Plan a trip with details from

A Brief Visitor

American white pelicans congregate at wetlands from late September through mid-October. These immense birds don’t breed in Missouri. Rather, they migrate through in summer and fall. Head out and catch a glimpse while you can.

Skipping Through the Flowers

Skippers, a chunky-bodied, mothlike butterfly, visit late-season wildflowers, sipping nectar with their long tongues. Missouri is home to several species of skippers. Some of the flowers in bloom in September that they might frequent include compass plant, goldenrods, rough blazing star, prairie dock, great blue lobelia, and more.

Natural Events to See This Month

Here’s what’s going on in the natural world.

  • Osage orange fruits ripen
  • Monarch butterflies begin migrating, sometimes traveling 3,000 miles
  • Whirligig beetles gyrate endlessly on the water.
  • Eastern river cooter eggs hatch
  • Elephant’s foot blooms

Priority Geographies

Are key landscapes that hold high potential for conserving our state’s diverse habitats and species. Within these areas, MDC biologists, partner organizations, and private landowners work together to make the landscape healthier and more profitable.

Work underway includes:

  • Forest, woodland, and timber improvement
  • Prairie, glade, and wetland restoration
  • River and stream bank stabilization
  • Cave and spring protection
  • Wildlife-friendly grazing practices and improved pollinator habitat
  • Native plant restoration

Enhancing habitat on your land can:

  • Decrease erosion and increase the health of soil
  • Establish safe, reliable drinking water for livestock
  • Provide season-long grazing
  • Increase opportunities for recreation and wildlife viewing
  • Contribute to conservation of Missouri’s plants and wildlife

For more information, visit

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