Innsbrook Nature Winter 2019 Newsletter

Hello Innsbrook Nature Enthusiasts,

We hope you find something of interest that inspires you to spend more time outdoors in Nature – even in winters like this one when Innsbrook is more magical than in warmer months – in our latest newsletter of the Innsbrook Nature Group.

The pine forest along the Lake Konstanz nature trail with heavy snow falling

In this edition we share news about: 2019 Missouri nature events, sighting of rare ringed salamander, wildlife watching, January’s lunar eclipse, Valentine Day hikes, outdoor lighting tips to protect our night skies, the great backyard bird count, weird weather and climate change, examples of living in harmony with nature, Warren County shooting range update, and a cool nature relatedness survey.

Read it now at https://ibknature.com/newsletters/winter-2019-newsletter/ or download and print it out HERE for reading later at your convenience. If you have any problems let us know at info@ibknature.com.

Rich & Kath

Twelve Days of Christmas Critters at Innsbrook

Back by “wild” demand….

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas at Innsbrook, Mother Nature sent to me

12 Deer prancing…after dining on our wildlife too-friendly landscaping

11 Geese honking….on our beach taunting Kyp the Border Collie

10 Woodpeckers knocking…on our chimney top sounding like Santa

9 Squirrels snacking…in the bird feeder thanking Wild Birds Unlimited for choice plus seed

8 Fox kits frolicking…until I find where I left the camera

7 Armadillos jumping…in front of an oncoming UTV, ouch

6 Turkeys gobbling…happy that they are not on the menu

5 Owls hooting….at holiday hikers below that look well fed

4 Snakes brumating…curled up and cozy under the dock

3 Mice hiding…under the BBQ hood hoping it’s too cold to grill

2 Eagles soaring…over a frozen lake with such majesty

1 Bear hibernating…somewhere under a chalet dreaming of our lake’s paddlefish caviar

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all your wild neighbors that make Innsbrook so rare and special to experience by Living in Harmony with Nature.

Protect Innsbrook’s Peace, Quiet and Property Values

In the Innsbrook Nature Group’s Fall 2018 Newsletter we referenced a new shooting range operating in Warren County just west of Innsbrook. In my personal assessment from having attended recent Warren County P&Z meetings, it seems more like a live-action bootcamp to provide combat-style weapons training to those who may seek a career in the military or law enforcement.

While that training may be an admirable mission, it has no place here in a rapidly growing semi-rural community, next door to a resort like Innsbrook, where people have invested in property to escape the noise pollution and increasing gun violence of urban areas. It’s no surprise that in our nature group surveys, enjoying nature in silence and quiet is ranked at the top. We already suffer from noise pollution coming from an existing shooting range just west of Innsbrook in Reifsnider State Forest. In addition to safety issues and noise pollution, we are equally concerned about environmental pollution from the toxic waste that will created from the use of lead ammunition.

On Tuesday, Innsbrook Resort launched an online petition to gather up support opposing the permit that has now been granted to the operators. If you have not yet done so, we encourage you to join us by adding your name and comment to a growing list of over 1,000 neighbors inside and outside of Innsbrook opposed to this operation. Here’s the link at https://www.thepetitionsite.com/183/022/292/concerned-innsbrook-citizens/.

Next, take a moment to thank Charlie Boyce at charlie.boyce@innsbrook-resort.com for taking the lead in protecting Innsbrook and our natural environment. When you do request that Innsbrook Resort follows through by filing a formal protest appeal before next Tuesday with the Warren County Commissioners urging them to rescind the P&Z permit. If this appeal does not get filed in time, our petition and all the comments may never be considered.

You can also voice your opinion directly with the Warren County Planning & Zoning Commission at 636-456-3044 or by contacting the Village of Innsbrook at https://www.villageofinnsbrook.org/contact.html to ask that they collect and relay the concerns of Village residents to Warren County officeholders.

Finally, be sure to get outside this weekend at Innsbrook as we are now near peak fall foliage colors!

Autumn Leaves Photo Courtesy and Copyright of Cindy Bowers

 

Bear Prepared

In recent weeks there have been several more sightings of bears in Innsbrook, including most surprisingly a cub. For those unable to attend the timely Missouri Dept. of Conservation presentation on “Bear Aware”, hosted by the Village of Innsbrook on Sept. 29, here are the most important notes we took along with tips acquired from other respected sources. (You may wish to make a copy of this and keep it on your property for family and especially guests. Print it out HERE.)

MDC Photo of American Black Bear

There is less need to be overly alarmed or afraid if you are educated and prepared! American Black Bears are shy and typically non-aggressive unless threatened, cornered, hungry, or with cubs. They usually avoid human contact. They are omnivores constantly searching for food sources and will learn where they are located very quickly and keep returning once they find a source. That is often when they become dangerous.

In 2018 there have been at least two MDC-confirmed sightings in Warren County and six total across the greater St. Louis region. If you see a bear please report it at HERE. Individuals, rural communities and resorts can avoid incidents or threats to property or lives, but must be willing to make changes at the personal and community levels.

Here are some personal safety tips we have gathered from the MDC and other sources:

  • As you hike, don’t just look at the path in front of you, but all around
  • Don’t forget bears, especially cubs, could climb into trees above you as well
  • Don’t wear ear buds while hiking in the woods where you can’t hear nature
  • Be careful around their natural food sources and possible den sights
  • Keep your pets close and on leash
  • Be cautious in the mornings and evenings, or avoid dawn and dusk solo hikes
  • Remember that bears have excellent vision and smell
  • When you see a bear, don’t stare, and avoid direct eye contact
  • Keep standing, don’t crouch, cower, crawl or climb
  • Don’t shout, scream, threaten or move suddenly
  • Never leave a bear without an easy escape route
  • Don’t run away from it, turn your back to it, and don’t follow either!
  • Gather your group together to look bigger
  • Raise hands, talk calmly, and walk away slowly backwards
  • Be extra cautious around sows with cubs
  • Consider having bells, hiking stick, or bear spray with you
  • Use bear spray as the last resort only when close and you are upwind
  • Never ever feed a bear directly or indirectly as a fed bear will become dangerous then a dead bear

Here are best practices for helping rural communities to live safely with bears which we have also collected from the MDC and multiple sources:

  • Communities should educate and prepare property owners, families, guests, visitors to be bear aware
  • Consider handing out informational tags to residents and visitors as other states and resorts do
  • Use trash dumpsters with lids, keep lids closed, place in fenced corrals, or with electric fences
  • Encourage property owners not to store trash outside
  • Leave garage doors closed and other doors secure
  • Be smart about berry bushes, gardens, orchard trees, and bee hives on your property
  • Post reminders to be bear aware on trailheads and at outdoor venues
  • Hike in groups, look ahead, no ear buds, avoid dawn/dusk
  • Be aware where a bear may make its den from October – March
  • Don’t leave pets or pet food outside, even empty food bowls
  • Recommended to take bird feeders down April – November if a bear could reach them
  • Another reason not to feed wildlife like deer
  • Be especially careful around bird houses, eggs, bee hives, and honey
  • Don’t leave coolers, food, and BBQ grills out
  • Remove all artificial food sources and smells from the outside
  • Practice campground rules on bear safety for chalet decks and patios
  • Share bear sightings with your regional MDC office and within the community

Thanks to the Village of Innsbrook and in particular our elected trustee Trish Dunn for organizing the MDC visit. However, we believe that Innsbrook Resort and the Innsbrook Property Owners Association trustees should also be actively involved in educating and preparing our community to live with wildlife like bears, regardless of perceived marketing concerns. After all, promoting wildlife appreciation and bear awareness safety is far better publicity than that from having an avoidable incident that harms a human and/or results in the killing of a bear.

For more information and references on American Black Bears visit our Innsbrook Nature Group website page at Bear Resources.

Innsbrook Nature Fall 2018 News

If you love Innsbrook, Nature, and Missouri outdoors this past weekend, the first of fall, was just splendid. For many IBKers the fall season is their favorite to experience Nature. IBK trails through forests are full of families, pets, individuals, and of course plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities. There’s good reason that scientists have documented a walk in the woods – or “forest bathing” as it now often called – is good for the body, mind, and spirit. We remain ever so thankful to the founders of Innsbrook who had the vision to create a retreat in rural Missouri with an ethos to live in harmony with nature, of which we are protective.

MDC Photo of American Black Bear

In our new Fall 2018 IBK Nature Group (ING) newsletter you will find information about the Sept. 29 Bear Aware program, wildlife sightings, deer populations, nature survey results, noise pollution, oversized UTVs, Charrette Creek monitoring, lake water levels, tick diseases, fall colors, and results from our summer program on living in harmony with nature.  Read it now at https://ibknature.com/newsletters/fall-2018-newsletter/. You can also download it and print to read later or share the newsletter in PDF form HERE or by contacting us at info@ibknature.com.

Help us grow a community that values Nature and still aspires to Live in Harmony with Nature by sharing this post or the link above via email or social media with your IBK friends and neighbors.

Don’t forget the Bear Safety Awareness program presented by a Missouri Dept. of Conservation wildlife educator is this Saturday morning at 10 a.m. at the Innsbrook Village Hall on Highway F. Hope to see you there!

Rich & Kath

 

Innsbrook Nature Meeting Results

Thanks to over fifty Innsbrook property owners and family members who attended our July 28 meeting on The Bear Necessities of Being Bear Aware, What Happened to Living in Harmony with Nature, and our new Charrette Creek Stream Team. Although many IBK’ers were travelling or on vacation that week we still had a good turnout of Nature Group followers, despite Innsbrook Resort not including our announcement in the Village Views Newsletter.

 

We have had several requests for the slides we prepared and presented during our meeting. You can download them as a PDF document Innsbrook Nature Meeting July2018 R1 or request them from us by email to info@ibknature.com.

 

Since our meeting there have been more reports of black bears and bear scat in and around Innsbrook. Our presentation had important safety recommendations from the MDC on what to do and not do when you encounter a bear, as well as what changes that communities as a whole should consider making. We will soon post these separately on a new Bear Aware page at  https://ibknature.com/resources/bear-aware/. We then hope to encourage Innsbrook Village and Innsbrook Resort to support the education and changes needed in our community to avoid incidents that no one wants to see happen. The most important changes have to do with open trash dumpsters that are a definite problem in bear country. For those of you unable to attend our meeting, we still have a few extra “Black Bears in Missouri” brochures from the MDC that have answers to most of the questions we addressed in our presentation.

We expect everyone who attended can recall the lively and heartfelt discussion we had on Living in Harmony with Nature. It felt affirming, but sad, to learn that so many of us share the concern that our community is losing its original ethos of Living in Harmony with Nature. It’s clear from our discussion that there is no one person, organization, business, event, or decision to blame for this trend as we all share a collective responsibility and burden by our choice to be property owners in rural Missouri. Last week we sent out an email to those who volunteered to help out with what we do next leveraging ideas shared during the meeting. Let us know at info@ibknature.com if you did not get this email, or wish to be included in this smaller group discussion. We will be hosting a fall social gathering of all those interested to discuss and plan further.

Thanks also to all those who hiked over to the Charrette Creek at the conclusion of our meeting to see firsthand how a Missouri Stream Team like our new one assesses the quality of a stream. It’s great news that this portion of Charrette Creek is looking good so far this year as evidenced by the macro-invertebrates we collected in our July water sampling. One of the questions asked was whether our new monitoring site can be found on the Missouri Stream Team website.  It can be indeed be seen at this location once our monitoring data is accepted and published by the DNR. As the date gets closer to our fall monitoring we will send out a call for volunteers to join us for 1-2 hours of fun splashing about in the creek to find macro-invertebrates.

In our fall Innsbrook Nature Group newsletter we will post the results of our latest Nature Value survey on what property owners enjoy and value the most from experiencing nature at Innsbrook, along with how well they feel the community as a whole is doing in aspiring to live in harmony with nature. If you would like to take part in this survey send us a note at info@ibknature.com or download it here at Innsbrook Nature Value Survey 2018, print it out, then mail it back to us at the address on the survey.

In closing we feel so fortunate, and yes protective, to have a place like Innsbrook in a Midwest state like Missouri with such an awe-inspiring diversity of landscapes, wildlife, plants, trees, and seasons. We are thankful for all the Innsbrook founders, employees, and property owners who have created a rare community that aspires to live in harmony with nature, as challenging as it may be at times. It is our love of Innsbrook, love of Nature, and love of future generations that continues to motivate us!

Rich & Kath