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ACTION ALERT- IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED
NOTE: The following letter was penned by our very own Tom Kruzen, who for various reasons is unable at present to post to this forum. Because the letter is worthy of re-publication, and this is as good a forum as any, here it is:
January 26, 2012
Federal agency finds Ozark hellbender endangered
By The Associated Press
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A federal agency has declared the Ozark hellbender an endangered species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule on Wednesday that places the aquatic salamander in the endangered category.
The agency says the main threat to the Ozark hellbender is damage to its habitat from mining, animal operations and fertilizer runoff.
One of the most common wild fruit trees in Missouri is the Wild Plum, of which there are five varieties. The most common and most widespread is the American Plum, Prunus americana Marsh. It is the largest and most important member of the plums as it is found rather generally throughout the state of Missouri, and is also found in Arkansas and elsewhere.
The other wild plum trees are the Chickasaw Plum, Prunus angustifolia Marsh., the Wild Goose Plum, Prunus munsoniana Wight and Hedr., Hortulan Plum, Prunus hortulana Bailey, and the Mexican Plum, Prunus mexicana.
If you have ever seen a wild persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana L.) that is fully loaded with fruit, it is a sight to behold. These trees grow wild over much of the Ozarks and other areas as well. If left uncut and unpruned, a persimmon tree may reach great height, with few side branches. On the other hand, a persimmon tree that has been cut down after several years of growth, often regrows as a multi-branched tree, and these are often loaded with what appears to be thousands of fruits.
A truly delicious wild green, similar in taste to spinach or lambsquarter, was pointed out by a neighbor who has eaten it in season for as long as he can remember. It is called Shawnee. It is cooked in the same manner as spinach or lambsquarter, and the main difference in taste is more of a texture, as it is "grainier" than the other two, yet still delicious steamed with a little butter or olive oil.
One of the most delicious foods this writer knows is Lambsquarter, Chenopodium album L. This tasty green is related to spinach, beets, and Swiss chard, and compared to spinach, this one is tastier in the opinion of many.
For the past several years, here in Missouri's Ozarks, we are finally seeing turkeys again. Decades ago, when we first camped and hiked in this area, we saw dozens of wild turkeys, and were never surprised to see flocks wandering across fields, or crossing roads from one side of the forest to another.
This is a good time of year to check out the woods and meadows for mushrooms. It just so happens within 3 days of each other, I found two edible and beautiful specimens.
Remember those large, black and yellow garden spiders (Argiope aurantia) that seemed so scary when you were a child? Fortunately they are still around, although some reports state they are declining in numbers like just about every other form of wildlife.
It is important to keep in mind that by mowing large swaths of tall wildflowers, grasses, and what-have-you, in the later summer or early fall, you could be disrupting the life cycle of these beautiful and beneficial creatures.