Get Outside in January

By MDC | January 1, 2024
From Missouri Conservationist: January 2024

A Coffee Tree?

With the trees bare, look for Kentucky coffee tree pods dangling from their branches. Kentucky coffee trees drop their large, leathery, unopened seed pods in late winter. Native Americans made coffee from roasted, ground seeds, and European settlers learned from them, hence the common name. For more information, visit 

Signs of Spring?

If you see a butterfly flutter by, it may not necessarily be an early sign of spring. Some butterflies — like the question mark, eastern comma, gray comma, mourning cloak, and goatweed leafwing butterfly — overwinter as adults. They may come out on warm winter days. Watch them and dream of warmer spring days to come. To learn more about butterflies of Missouri, visit 

What a Lark!

The horned lark is one of Missouri’s earliest nesting birds. Courtship songs and displays begin in January and February. The male flies up several hundred feet, giving a tinkling song at its highest ascent. Then it zooms, dartlike, to the ground, opening its wings at the last minute. Nesting can begin in February. Look for them in large open areas with extensive bare ground. They are especially common in plowed agricultural regions, nesting early before vegetation has a chance to grow tall. Their camouflaged upperparts make them inconspicuous, but they often occur in flocks, and their movement against the ground, songs, and their distinctively marked faces and feathery horns can help you see them. To learn more, visit

Trees: Missouri Oak ID

Wednesday, Jan. 24 • 12–1 p.m.

Online only

Registration required by Jan. 24. To register, call 888-283-0364 or visit

Ages 12 and older. 

Missouri is a wonderland of oaks with about 21 species found in various habitats across our state. Join us for a detailed look at these iconic forest and wetland species. This program will cover tips and tricks for figuring out which of these majestic trees you have found. We will also discuss how oaks benefit your local wildlife and which species might be the right choice for your landscape.

How the Spirit of Gratitude Can Help You Live Your Best Life

Friday, Feb. 9 • 7:00 p.m.

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center 

11715 Cragwold Rd., Kirkwood, MO 63122

Registration not required. For more information, contact 314-301-1500.

Ages 18 and older. 

It’s a new year full of possibilities, expectations, and resolutions. But what if you’re already exhausted and 2024 just started? Being in survival mode can often bring more stress and struggle, including sometimes snuffing out our energy and passion. How do we get our groove back and stay inspired, including letting nature rejuvenate us?

Join us for a fun and lighthearted presentation (but also meaningful, we hope!) on how the spirit of gratitude can help you live your best life. This session applies to those with an empty tank as well as those still firing on all cylinders — the learning, including personal storytelling and practical tips, will all be the same, including:

  • How to rekindle your passion for life through gratitude and regain the spark and joy in living out your mission.
  • Strategies to refocus your day and take back your schedule (that are often hijacked by a hundred other things). 
  • Tip and tricks to get your gratitude mojo back, including where to find inspiration, mentoring, energy, and maybe even a daily dose of laughter.

Even though gratitude is an inside job, we hope this session will be a sweet salve to the soul and just the spark you need to keep moving onward and upward.

Find more events in your area at

Call Before You Cut

5 reasons to call before you cut:

  1. Learn if harvesting is right for you and your woods
  2. Harvest the proper trees to ensure a healthy forest
  3. Find a trained logger for the job
  4. Maximize timber sale income and save $$$ on taxes
  5. Ensure your overall satisfaction with the timber harvest

Request a free informational packet about working with a professional forester to take care of your woods.


Natural Events to See This Month

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

  • Deer shed their antlers in January.
  • Listen for owls hooting at dusk and dawn.
  • The morning after a snowfall, look for mammal tracks.

Also In This Issue

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 – Marcia Hale