From Xplor for Kids
May 2015 Issue

Get Out!

Publish Date

May 01, 2015

Don't miss the chance to discover nature at these fun events!

  • Snap a great outdoor photo at Nature Photography Workshop. Twin Pines Conservation Education Center in Winona. May 9, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Register at 573-325-1381.
  • Reel in a keeper at Fishing Basics. Rutledge Wilson Farm Park in Springfield. May 16, 9–11 a.m. Register at 417-895-6880.
  • Sculpt and paint your own decoy at Duck Decoy Carving. Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center. May 29, 6–10 p.m., and May 30, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. $15 fee. Register at 573-290-5218.
  • Plink targets at .22 Rifle Shooting Basics. Andy Dalton Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center near Springfield. June 6, 8:30–11:30 a.m. Register at 417-742-4361.
  • Learn bow basics at Archery Day Camp. August A. Busch Shooting Range and Outdoor Education Center in St. Charles. June 24 and June 25, 8:30 to noon. Register at 636-441-4554.

Summer’s aflutter and nature is on the move. Watch for these natural events around these dates.

  • MAY 1 - Jack-in-the-pulpits bloom in woods.
  • MAY 10 - Bobolink birds migrate from Argentina, and some nest in northern Missouri.
  • MAY 14 - Watch for lightning bugs on warm evenings.
  • MAY 15 - Baby deer, called fawns, are born now through late June.
  • MAY 24 - Listen for the chorus of gray treefrogs.
  • JUNE 2 - Look for tarantulas crossing roads in southwestern Missouri.
  • JUNE 20 - American toad tadpoles turn into toadlets and leave the water.

What is it?

  1. Just add water and sun, and I’m on the run.
  2. Some say I have a big mouth.
  3. f you’re fishing for a hint, I’m fin-ominal.
  4. The biggest I get is 4 inches long.

The orangespotted sunfish is a cousin of the more common longear sunfish and bluegill. This sunfish’s dazzling colors and small size set it apart. After growing for a year, it’s only as big as your thumb. It’s a feisty little fish, so you’ll still have fun reeling one in. You might think you landed a baby fish, but you may be eye to eye with a full-grown orangespotted sunfish.

Critter Corner: Least Bittern

This recently hatched fuzzball is a least bittern, still covered in downy feathers. Least bitterns are Missouri’s smallest herons, measuring only a foot long when fully grown. Listen for this secretive bird’s soft coo-coo-coo-coo at dawn and dusk. Look for them among the cattails, where they hunt for frogs, tadpoles, and insects. When spotted, a least bittern will “hide” by freezing, squeezing in its feathers, and pointing its bill straight up.

Also in this issue

Into The Wild: Glade

Dry, rocky glades are home to sun-loving plants and animals found nowhere else in Missouri.

Warning Signs

These creatures use color to keep predators away.

Nature's Gravediggers

American burying beetles have an interesting way of raising a family.

Strange but True

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

How To: Use a Map and Compass

What happens when the batteries conk out on your GPS?

This Issue's Staff:

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

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Xplor: May/June 2015

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