From Xplor for Kids
March 2017 Issue

Get Out

Publish Date

Mar 01, 2017

Fun things to do and great places to discover nature.

  • Hike a trail to enjoy the sights and sounds of spring, especially wildflowers, butterflies, and birds. Find trails at your nearest MDC nature center or conservation area.
  • Migratory birds are returning. Watch for V-shaped formations of geese and ducks, and keep an eye out for the aerial stunts of purple martins and swallows.
  • Listen for spring Peepers when the temperature stays above 40 degrees for a few days.
  • Listen for wild turkeys calling, and try a spring turkey hunt. The youth portion (ages 6–15) of
  • Missouri’s spring turkey season is April 8 and 9. Ask your favorite turkey-hunting grown-up to help you get started.
  • Look for morels. These delicious, deeply dimpled mushrooms begin popping up on forest floors in mid-April, and they’re just as much fun to hunt as Easter eggs! To be safe, go with an experienced mushroom hunter. Never eat a mushroom unless you’re sure it’s edible.
  • Look for luna moths around your porch light. These big beauties emerge from their cocoons in spring and fly from early April through August.

Looking for more ways to have fun outside? Find out about Discover Nature programs in your area at mdc.mo.gov/events.

What is it?

  • I’m hard on the outside, and I look like a brute.
  • I dig deep tunnels way under the ground.
  • I eat little critters when the water is high.
  • But I share my home when drought comes around.

With large, powerful claws, the devil crayfish digs deep tunnels along wooded streams and ditches. It eats plants, worms, insects, snails, and dead animals. Why do we call it a devil? Maybe because people once thought it burrowed into coffins. Truth is, devil crayfish “wells” can serve as temporary homes for other little water critters during dry spells.

Critter Corner

Western Slender Glass Lizard

Missouri’s longest lizard looks like a snake, but it isn’t. Unlike snakes, it has eyelids and ear openings. Glass lizards can grow up to 26 inches long. Most of this length is tail, which can break off in a predator’s (or kid’s) grip. The glass lizard can regenerate its tail, but it will be shorter and darker. Look for it in pastures, prairies, and open woods on dry, rocky hillsides. Learn more at mdc.mo.gov/field-guide.

Also in this issue

Rainbow Trout

Into The Wild: Trout Stream

Even if you aren’t an angler, it’s tons of fun to wade around in a cool, clear trout stream.

Bloodroot

Woodland Wildflower Challenge

In early March, most of Missouri’s woods are still gray and bare. But if you take a walk, you might find some signs of spring poking up through the leaf litter.

Mink

Frank's Guide to Wetlands

Wetlands can be muggy and buggy. They’re often soggy and stinky. You might get stuck in the muck. But wetlands aren’t wastelands.

Girl planting a wild bergamot

How To: Plant a Pollinator Paradise

Biologists are worried because bee and butterfly numbers are dropping. Improper use of pesticides and loss of habitat are likely to blame. You can bring the buzz back by planting a patch of native flowers.

This Issue's Staff:

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Karen Hudson
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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