From Xplor for Kids
August 2014 Issue

You Discover

Publish Date

Aug 01, 2014

With summer winding down, and autumn gearing up, there’s plenty to discover outside in August and September. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Scout for Monarchs on the Move

The middle of September marks the peak of Missouri’s monarch migration sensation. To escape cold weather, they migrate south to the forests high in the mountains of Mexico. It can take monarchs two months to make the 1,500-mile trip! One of the mysteries of the butterfly world is how monarchs find their overwintering site. Somehow they find their way, even though the butterflies returning to Mexico each fall are the great-greatgrandchildren of the butterflies that left the previous spring. Learn more at monarchwatch.org.

Dead Eye a BULL'S-EYE

As summer cools down, turn up the heat on your archery skills. Practice bull’s-eyeing your target from a variety of distances and get ready for archery deer season (from September 15 through November 14; and November 26 through January 15). Learn more about archery deer and turkey regulations at mdc.mo.gov/ node/3917. Don’t have a bow? Learn how to make your own longbow at mdc.mo.gov/node/23955.

Search for BUCK RUBS

Male white-tailed deer grow a new pair of antlers every year. Throughout spring and summer, newly sprouted antlers are cloaked in a fuzzy covering called velvet. In the fall, bucks scrape off the velvet by rubbing their antlers against small trees and shrubs. Head to the woods in September to search for “buck rubs.” If you find some, it’s a good bet there’s a buck nearby!

March with a Millipede

A millipede’s name means “1,000 feet.” Although it doesn’t have quite that many, that army of feet sure gives it a leg up to burrow down deep into dirt and piles of leaves. Millipedes like damp and dark places. On your next hike, dig down a few inches next to an old stump to study them. Remember — each body segment has two pairs of legs. They don’t sting or bite, but some can emit a foul-smelling substance. Beware of biting centipedes — they only have one pair of legs per body segment.

GET NUTTY

Take a walk under a towering oak and you may see dozens of acorns sprouting. Carefully dig up a few and you’ll see the newly emerged taproot sprouting from the acorn. These perfect little trees-tobe are easy to transport to another ideal spot. There, you can replant them and improve the odds of watching another mighty oak grow.

Drop some DOVES

What’s small and gray, flies at 40 miles per hour, and performs mid-air dips and dives that would make a stunt pilot queasy? It’s a mourning dove, and there’s nothing more challenging than trying to drop a few with a shotgun. Dove season opens September 1, so grab an adult, put on some camouflage, and pack plenty of shells. Doves flock to fields with lots of seeds and bare ground — mowed sunflower fields are perfect. For tips, visit xplormo.org/ node/15696.

Don't miss the chance to Discover Nature at these fun events.

  • Learn to shoot bows and arrows at Family Archery. Parma Woods Range, Parkville; August 13, 6–8 p.m. Register at 816-891-9941.
  • Discover what lives around you at Wild Backyard. Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, Kansas City; August 16, 10 a.m.– 2:30 p.m. For info, call 816-759-7300.
  • Bring in the bucks at Introduction to Deer Calling. August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, St. Charles; September 25, 6–8 p.m.; Ages 11 and older. For info, call 636-441-4554.
  • rn how to safely handle a rifle at Youth .22-Caliber Rifle Clinic. Jay Henges Shooting Range, High Ridge; September 27, 8–9:30 a.m. Register at 636-938-9548.
  • me learn why bugs are important at The Buzz About Bugs, Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center, Springfield; August 8, 6:30–9 p.m. For info, call 314-301-1500.

Looking for more ways to have fun outside? Find out about Discover Nature programs in your area at xplormo.org/node/2616.

What is it?

  1. I wear a fuzzy cap, but not on my head.
  2. I hit bottom in autumn.
  3. Squirrels go nuts for me.
  4. Everything about me is big and burly.

Bur oaks produce the largest acorns of any tree in Missouri. The nuts, which are covered by fuzzy “caps,” drop in the fall to the delight of squirrels and other animals. Uneaten acorns can grow into massive trees. Missouri’s largest bur oak is 90 feet tall, with limbs that spread 150 feet and a trunk 8 feet wide. The tree has been living near the Missouri River south of Columbia for about 400 years.

CRITTER CORNER

Bullfrog

Let’s ditch this pad! When startled, bullfrogs squeak out short, high-pitched yelps as they hop to safety. When they’re looking for mates, male bullfrogs make calls that sound like deep, rumbling burps. The calls can be heard more than half a mile away. Males battle for the best calling spots, pushing and shoving each other like slippery, green sumo wrestlers.

Also in this issue

How To: Keep a Lion as a House Guest

Antlions are tiny insects that dig small, cone-shaped pits in sandy soil.

Nothing Beats a Bull's-Eye

Shooting a compound bow is a sure-fire way to build skills and have fun - in competition and out in the field.

Campfire Cooking

Good food can make a great camping trip totally awesome. Next time you pitch a tent, give these yummy recipes a try.

Wild Jobs: Ombudsman Tim Smith

If you have questions about conservation, ombudsman Tim Smith will get you answers.

Strange But True

Your guide to all the unusual, unique, and unbelievable stuff that goes on in nature.

This Issue's Staff:

Brett Dufur
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
Regina Knauer
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
Tim Smith
David Stonner
Nichole LeClair Terrill
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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