Discover Nature’s Red, White, and Blue
MDC encourages you to find signs of patriotism in the outdoors in honor of independence day
Get outdoors this Independence Day and try spotting red, white, and blue during a holiday hike, birdwatching, backyard fun, fishing, and other outdoor activities.
Here are some things to get you started:
- Red royal catchfly flowers
- Red male summer tanagers
- White beardtongues or foxgloves
- White great egrets
- Blue false indigos
- Male indigo buntings
Want more information on these and other Missouri plants and animals, including where to find them? Use MDC’s online Field Guide at mdc.mo.gov/field-guide.
Need suggestions to kick-start your outdoor adventures? Find things to do at mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/activities. Offerings include cycling on trails, backyard nature fun, birdwatching, fishing, camping, floating, outdoor cooking, hiking, hunting, nature photography, wildlife watching, and more.
Need to find places for your outdoor adventures? Visit mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places.
As you celebrate this summer, MDC reminds you to be careful with fireworks, campfires, and other sources of fire that could cause a wildfire.
- Fireworks: Don’t light fireworks in areas where the sparks could ignite dry grass, leaves, or other potential fire fuel. Always have an approved fire extinguisher and an available water supply to douse sparks or flames. Wet the area where fireworks are being discharged. Check with local ordinances and authorities for bans on fireworks and open burning.
- Outdoor Burning: Don’t burn during wrong conditions. Dry grass, high temperatures, low humidity, and wind make fire nearly impossible to control. Check with local fire departments regarding burn bans. A person who starts a fire for any reason is responsible for any damage it may cause.
- Driving Off Road: Wildfires can start when dry fuel, such as grass, comes into contact with catalytic converters. Think twice before driving into and across a grassy field. Never park over tall, dry grass or piles of leaves that can touch the underside of a vehicle. When driving vehicles off road, regularly inspect the undercarriage to ensure that fuel and brake lines are intact, and no oil leaks are apparent. Always carry an approved fire extinguisher on vehicles that are used off road. Check for the presence of spark arresters on ATV exhausts.
- Making a Campfire: Clear a generous zone around fire rings. Store unused firewood a good distance from a campfire. Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquid to start a fire. Keep campfires small and controllable. Keep fire-extinguishing materials, such as a rake, shovel, and bucket of water, close. Extinguish campfires each night and before leaving camp, even if it’s just for a few moments.
- Call for Help: Call 911 at the first sign of a fire getting out of control.
- Report Forest Arson: Wildfires are sometimes set by vandals. Help stop arson by calling 800-392-1111 and reporting any potential arson activities. Callers will remain anonymous, and rewards are possible.
- Prescribed Fire: Fire used in the wrong way can create disasters. Used in the right way, fire can help create habitat for wildlife. For more information on using prescribed fire as a land-management tool, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/Zrf.
New Permits Allow Commercial Photography and Filming on Conservation Areas
Starting July 1, professional photographers and videographers may photograph and film on MDC areas once they obtain a new commercial use permit. The new regulations come amidst requests from photographers and videographers to allow commercial photography and videography on conservation areas. Commercial use is defined as any activity that directly or indirectly results in financial gain, or where money is exchanged in connection with the activity. Professional, for-profit photography and filming have historically been restricted on our areas as “commercial use” activities.
Commercial use permits are not required for news agencies, amateur or “hobby” photographers and videographers, or those taking personal pictures or videos. Photography and filming on our areas for non-commercial use have been and remain allowed without the need for a permit.
A Commercial Photography Permit will be required for commercial photographers on our areas with an associated fee of $100 annually. The permit expires on June 30 each year.
A Commercial Videography Permit will be required for all commercial videography on our areas with an associated fee of $500 per day. Commercial photographers will also need a no-cost Special-Use Permit in certain situations:
- Special accommodations requested for activities normally not allowed on conservation areas, such as after-hour access, vehicles on non-public roads, etc.
- Use of unmanned aerial system (UAS) or drone
- Use of props larger than an average person can carry
- When more than 10 people are involved
- On MDC areas associated with nature and education centers, staffed ranges, offices, and on the following department areas:
- Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area
- August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area
- James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area
- Rockwoods Reservation
Other county, state, and federal land-management agencies allow commercial photography and filming on their areas through commercial permits with associated fees. Our staff reviewed other agencies within and outside the state to determine the price structure.
The proposed regulations were initially approved by the Missouri Conservation Commission in September 2020. Following initial commission approval, the proposed regulations were submitted by MDC to the Office of the Secretary of State for a 30-day public comment period in October 2020. Following a review of comments received, the commission gave final approval to the proposed regulations in December 2020. The regulations go into effect July 1.
For more information on commercial photography and videography permits, visit short.mdc.mo.gov/ZrY.
Professional photographers and videographers can apply for MDC’s commercial use permits online at short.mdc.mo.gov/Zrg. Please allow 10 business days for processing Commercial Photography Permits and 30 days for processing Commercial Videography Permits.
St. Charles County
If you’re ready to get your motor running and head out on the waterway, it’s best to brush up on boating safety first. Always tell someone where you’re going, who’s with you, what time you will return, and how to reach you. Also, leave a contact number if your return plans don’t work out. Be sure to have proper safety equipment on board, including a fire extinguisher and easily accessible life jackets for each person aboard (passengers under 7 must always wear a life vest). Make sure your navigation lights are working and properly illuminating. Finally, never drink and boat. Always have a designated boating operator. Time on the water is a great way to make memories, but safety and common sense are key.
Have fun out there!
Cecropia Moth Caterpillar
Cecropia moth caterpillars feed on more than 20 species of Missouri trees and shrubs, including various maples, willows, cherries, plums, apples, dogwoods, and lilacs. Like thousands of species of caterpillars, the cecropia moth caterpillar performs a natural pruning service. As they grow, cecropia moth caterpillars provide sizable meals for their predators. Their name is derived from Cecrops, an Athenian king in Greek mythology.
Bob and Barb Kipfer
When Bob and Barb Kipfer of Springfield purchased 400 acres on Bull Creek in 1995, they embarked on a much larger conservation journey. Working with MDC, they planted 2,000 trees to stabilize a 300-foot bank eroded by the 1993 flood. In addition to work on their land, the Kipfers are active members of the Springfield Plateau Master Naturalist Chapter, volunteering more than 7,500 hours over the past 11 years.
Mentoring Future Conservationists
They volunteer once a week at Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility, a Springfield-based nature school for fifth graders. They also partner with Missouri State University, allowing graduate research projects to take place on their property.
In Their Own Words
The Kipfers have made plans to donate their property to Missouri State University for a research field station. "The trust protects the property," Bob said. "As part of the trust, the land can’t be sold for 50 years."
Also In This Issue
This Issue's Staff
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler