Get Out!

By MDC | January 1, 2024
From Xplor: January/February 2024

Fun things to do and great places to discover nature.

  • You don’t have to go to the beach to see gulls. Just visit one of Missouri’s large lakes in January. Gulls gather on the ice near open water. Don’t forget binoculars and a bird guide to help you ID what you see.
  • To find the first flowers of the year, take a hike along an Ozark stream in mid-January. Even when snow still blankets the ground, you might find the frilly orange blooms of Ozark witch-hazel brightening the scenery.
  • On warm winter days, keep an eye out for mourning cloak butterflies. These hardy insects hibernate during the depths of winter and wake up when temperatures rise. Their fluttery flight is a sure sign spring will be here soon.
  • In mid-February, eastern chipmunks awaken from their winter slumbers and pop out of their tunnels to search for food. Look for hungry ՚munks stuffing their cheeks along the edges of woods, near rock piles, and in city parks.
  • Most mammals prowl around after dark, so you may never see them in the flesh and fur. But tracks in the snow show where they’ve been. Follow the footprints to see where their maker might be sleeping.

Looking for more ways to have fun outside? Find out about Discover Nature programs in your area at

Also In This Issue

Red Shouldered Hawk

Make this mini field guide to learn about Missouri’s birds of prey


Hungry muskrats are the architects of the marshes where they live.

This Issue's Staff

Artist – Matt Byrde
Photographer – Noppadol Paothong
Photographer – David Stonner
Designer – Marci Porter
Designer – Les Fortenberry
Art Director – Cliff White
Editor – Matt Seek
Subscriptions – Marcia Hale
Magazine Manager – Stephanie Thurber