Get Outside in April

By MDC | April 1, 2023
From Missouri Conservationist: April 2023

More than Morels

Are you finding morels? Morels — yellow, black, and half-free — begin appearing in April. A springtime walk in the woods in search of these choice edibles is never a wasted day, whether you are finding them or not. If you are coming up empty handed, take heart. There are other edibles blooming all around:

Redbuds start blooming in late March and continue through early May. They’re one of our showiest native flowering trees. Did you know their magenta blossoms are edible? Top your salad with them or use them in jelly.

Common dandelions can be annoying weeds, but they can also be delicious edible plants. Fry the flowerheads like you would morels or put them into pancakes. You can make wine from them, too. Or pick their tender new leaves and have them in a salad.

Always forage your wild edibles in places where pesticides have not been used.

Brief Butterfly

If you enjoy looking at the state’s various wildflowers, seek out bird’s-foot violets on Ozark glades. Chances are if you find them, you may catch a glimpse of a cobweb skipper, a single-brood butterfly that flies only from mid-April into May. The adults love the nectar of the bird’s-foot violet, which starts blooming on Ozark glades in April. They also visit other early wildflowers such as wild hyacinth, wild strawberry, rose verbena, and dwarf larkspur. Cobweb skipper caterpillars eat big bluestem grass, which is also common in Ozark glades.

They’re Back

May beetles, also called June bugs, begin flying clumsily around porch lights, crash-landing, lying on their backs, and waving their legs helplessly. Though they are a nuisance to most humans, bats, now active and breeding, avidly hunt these chunky night-fliers.

Fish Watching

Spring and early summer is a great time to observe the activities of fish, like darters, because many species are spawning. Missouri has 44 different types of darters. During spawning, they are often concentrated in shallow water, display bright spawning colors, and exhibit territorial defense, nest construction, courtship, spawning, and parental care. To successfully view fish while spawning, try quiet days when there’s no wind to break up the water surface. Approach cautiously and keep a low profile. Try using binoculars and polarized sunglasses to reduce solar reflections. Avoid creating vibrations that can be transferred to water.

Outdoor Cooking

Cast iron cooking is a fun and tasty way to add to any outdoor adventure. This series of virtual programs is designed to boost your knowledge so you can cook a wide variety of great recipes around camp while making it fun and easy!

Part 5: Outdoor Cooking for Kids

Tuesday, April 11, noon–1 p.m.

Registration required by April 11 at or by calling 888-283-0364.

All ages.

In part five, we will cover methods of outdoor cooking with little campers so they can be involved and excited about spending time outdoors.

Part 6: The Recipes Program

Tuesday, April 18, noon–1 p.m.

Registration required by April 18 at or by calling 888-283-0364.

All ages.

In this sixth and final virtual program of the series, we will talk about finding and developing recipes and how to make any recipe work in camp, around a campfire, or maybe just at home.

Find more events in your area at

Discover Nature on the Great Missouri Birding Trail

The Great Missouri Birding Trail is an online interactive map of the best places to bird in the state to introduce new and seasoned birders to over 335 bird species that annually visit Missouri. Let’s go birding!

Visit to find birding locations near you, what birds you may see, information on Missouri’s diverse habitats, and more.

Natural Events to See This Month

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

  • Ticks become active.
  • Tiger salamanders engage in courtship.
  • Black bears become active.

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler