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Shorter Spring May Explain Snake Sightings

May 28, 2018

Missourians who are moving outdoors as the weather should keep their eyes open for snakes.

Sam Stewart, a naturalist with the Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City, says people may believe they are seeing more snakes this year but that's not necessarily true.

Stewart says because of the long winter and a short spring, snakes are emerging from hibernation all at once, rather than over several weeks as they normally would.

KRCG-TV reports there are 49 species and sub-species of snakes in Missouri and only six are venomous. The most common is the copperhead.

Sebastian Martinez / KBIA

On an overcast Saturday morning, the weekend after Halloween a group of some 30 people gathered at one of St. Louis’s oldest cemeteries. Bellefontaine Cemetery is the final resting place of historical Missourians like William Clark and William S. Borroughs, but on this day the tour group was there to learn about how Bellefontaine is keeping up to date with green burials.

The group was led by Dan Fuller, the volunteer coordinator and guide for the cemetery. "A contemporary burial produces this kind of a carbon footprint," he said, lifting his hand high to show the environmental impact of a typical modern burial. "An outer container, a metal coffin, an embalmed body, 6-foot deep with a headstone," all add to that footprint, he explained.

Dana L. Drake

Fall is a season we typically associate with changing leaves, cooling temperatures, and the natural world beginning to quiet down before the long, dormant winter months. But for some animals, the season brings new life, rather than death. 

And if you’re out in the woods this month, perhaps hunting mushrooms after an autumn rain, you might just run into one. The creatures I’m referring to are Missouri’s fall-breeding salamanders: the ringed salamander and the marbled salamander.

Sebastian Martinez valdivia / KBIA

As Missouri enters the fall, one last wave of wildflowers are blooming now, before the winter frosts start. Throughout the state, asters, goldenrods, and other late-bloomers paint Missouri’s varied woodlands, prairies, meadows and glades in shades of yellow, pink, purple and white. But hidden among the tall grasses and undergrowth this time of year you can sometimes find something rarer – native orchids. People often associate orchids with tropical areas, but Missouri is home to more than 30 species of orchids, and while their flowers are typically pretty showy, a lot of the crucial action with orchids happens underground.


Sebastián Martinez / KBIA

After a historically hot and dry winter here in Missouri, spring rains have hit the state in a big way. With more rain forecast for the coming week, concerns over the winter drought could soon be supplanted by concerns about flooding. One critical piece of Missouri’s environment that helps guard against rising waters is the state’s wetlands – flood plains and wet prairies that can absorb excesses from rivers. But wetlands are also critical habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, something scores of kids learned on a recent Saturday in Saint Charles. 

On a sunny spring afternoon at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, about a dozen children gathered around a pond, probing the waters with long-handled nets. After emptying their nets into shallow plastic trays, they walked over to a nearby table, where volunteer Melanie Sanford helped them identify their findings.


Is Civilization Natural?

Sep 26, 2014

So, there's the city and then there's the country, the built environment and the wilderness, nature and civilization. Whatever name the dichotomy goes by, we usually think of the world humans create and the world outside their creations as separate and unequal.