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

Bear Safety

Learn how to be bear aware and safe in our area that now has black bears during a community meeting hosted by the Innsbrook Nature Group this Saturday morning, July 28, from 10:30 a.m. – 12 Noon at the Charrette Creek Commons Meeting Room.

Photo of American Black Bear Courtesy MDC

We will spend the first half of our meeting learning about and preparing to live around visiting black bears that have been recently seen in Warren County near Innsbrook. There’s less need to be alarmed or fearful once you learn how to be safe around American Black Bears which inhabit many states and numerous other resort and vacation properties across the USA.

Do you know where Missouri bears originally came from, how big are they, what they eat, where they make their dens, do they really hibernate, what to do and not do if you encounter one, and what practical changes communities often make to avoid incidents?

We’ll answer these questions and more in a presentation using what we have learned from the wildlife experts at the Missouri Dept. of Conservation in a recent Bear Necessities educational class. We will also have a limited number of “Black Bears in Missouri” wildlife guides, published by the MDC, to distribute.

Learn more about our July 28 program at  https://ibknature.com/events/summer-meeting-july-28-2018/ or emailing info@ibknature.com or calling Rich and Kath at 636-745-0121.

 

Innsbrook Nature Meeting July 28

A Program on the Bear Necessities of Living Close to Black Bears, Living in Harmony with Nature at Innsbrook, and Preserving the Water Quality of Innsbrook Streams

The Innsbrook Nature Group invites all property owners, families,  and guests to join us on Saturday morning, July 28 from 10:30 a.m. – 12 Noon at the Charrette Creek Commons Meeting Room.

A Black Bear specimen that we learned from during our MDC Bear Necessities training

We will spend the first part of our community meeting learning about and preparing to live with black bears that have been seen near Innsbrook in Warren County as shared in our recent Nature News post.  Do you know where Missouri bears originally came from, what they eat, where they make their dens, what to do and not do if you encounter one, and what changes communities often make to avoid incidents? We’ll answer these questions and more using what we have learned from the wildlife experts at the Missouri Dept. of Conservation in a recent Bear Necessities educational class.

Next we will follow-up the timely topic of our Summer 2018 Newsletter to discuss what does “living in harmony with nature” (LHN) mean to our community. Should the vision of LHN be important to Innsbrook as we continue to grow and expand? How well are we doing and are there justifiable reasons to be worried that we are losing the LHN ethos? We will ask all to share their experience with LHN including tips, challenges, concerns, and suggestions. We hope to create a set of questions, comments, and recommended LHN guidelines for further discussion and action within the community.

Charrette Creek as it flows through Innsbrook is important to our wildlife and lake water quality

At the close of the meeting we will take a short optional hike over to the Charrette Creek monitoring site for our new Missouri Stream Team. Here we will demonstrate the many elements that make up a healthy stream and the lakes that it feeds. This includes the watershed land use, riparian cover, stream bank habitats, composition of the stream bed bottom, water quality and presence of macro-invertebrates. Read more about our new stream team in the Spring Newsletter.

We hope to see anyone and everyone attend who care about preserving the great many natural assets that the founders of Innsbrook provided for us to enjoy. If you can’t make our meeting, but have questions, comments or suggestions to enter into the discussion, please leave them below in our comment field or email them to info@ibknature.com. You can leave your name or be anonymous as you prefer.

For additional information visit www.ibknature.com for more info or call 636.745.0121. To share this with neighbors and friends send them this link https://ibknature.com/2018/07/17/innsbrook-nature-meeting-july-28/,

Prepare to be Bear Aware

Little did we know the day immediately after releasing our Summer Newsletter, where we referenced our concern about open trash dumpsters in a state with bears, that we would have a bear sighting close-by in Warren County. As many of you may have heard, last week a black bear was reported off of Highway F in Wright City just north of Innsbrook. Read more in this Warren County Record newspaper story or local TV report and video .

American Black Bear photo courtesy MDC

This is not the first report of bears seen in Warren County in recent years. One was spotted near Marthasville in southern Warren County in 2016. We promptly gave him the name of Wandering Warren. You can view an interactive map of bear sightings within in Missouri at this MDC Bear Map.

Black Bears are native to Missouri but were hunted to near-extinction in the state during the late 1800’s. As a protected species they are now making a resurgence in Missouri with an estimated 300-400 in the state, mostly in the Ozarks near the Arkansas border. Bears have a role in a healthy ecosystem and most conservationists agree it is a good thing to have them. As example, they do eat small rodents which can spread tick diseases.

Having bears sharing Nature with humans is little to fear if you are prepared to be bear aware. Bears exist in the wild in many states though out the U.S. where humans have learned to safely live with them. Bear attacks are rare, but can happen, especially if they are threatened or humans are careless with food and trash. However, living with bears does require education, preparation, and some community changes to avoid incidents that can threaten property or lives.

To help our community prepare I will be attending an MDC program on “Bear Necessities for Being Bear Aware” at the Busch Conservation Center in St. Charles County next Tuesday. We have also asked the MDC to provide us with a speaker, or reference materials if they cannot attend, for our Innsbrook Nature meeting on Saturday morning, July 28 that all property owners are welcomed to attend. DYK what bear tracks or scat looks like? We’ll show you.

Until then you can learn to be prepared by visiting this must-read material at MDC Bear Aware and at MDC Hiking in Bear Country.  In these references you will learn that if you encounter a bear while hiking, the most important thing to remember is don’t turn your back and don’t run. Here are more tips directly from the MDC:

  • Never corner a bear – make sure it has an escape route.
  • Back away slowly with your arms raised.
  • Speak in a calm, loud voice.
  • Do not turn your back to the bear.
  • Walk away slowly – DO NOT RUN.

Another good tip is don’t leave any trash or food outside on your property including spilt bird seed or pet feeding dishes.

I imagine that all the fireworks this holiday week will scare off any bear as well as other critters, but it could also make our wildlife neighbors more stressed, unpredictable, and thus dangerous. Should you spot a bear within Innsbrook it is recommended that you call the St. Louis regional office of the MDC at 636-441-4554 and/or Innsbrook Security at 636-745-3000 x9400, then send us a note to info@ibknature.com.

Follow the Innsbrook Nature Group by visiting our website at www.ibknature.com and registering to receive our newsletter in the field at the top right of any page.

Rich & Kath

What Happened to Living in Harmony with Nature?

In a normal summer newsletter of the IBK Nature Group we would profile some of the wildlife, nature trails, flora, night skies, lakes and streams of Innsbrook that we have more time to enjoy during the lazy days of summer. (View last year’s summer news HERE to see an example.) In this issue, however, we wish to share something we believe is more important for the IBK community.

As many long-time property owners remember, the original guiding vision, motto, and ethos of Innsbrook was to live in harmony with nature. (We’ll use LHN for short.) That messaging is how we found IBK and why we chose to move full-time into what we consider to be one of the finest multi-season habitats of the Midwest. We remain ever so thankful for the founding families of Innsbrook who made all this possible while keeping Nature a priority.

Sadly over the past few years it is our opinion that the emphasis on LHN has been eroded, intentionally or not. It appears to us that Innsbrook Resort’s advertising, newsletters, and programs these days have fewer references to Nature much less to living in harmony with it. As example, “Living in Harmony with Nature” has been missing for sometime from the resort’s Village Views newsletter masthead. Rarely does protection of natural assets get attention at the annual property owner meetings from the front or back of the room. Instead, the discussion is often focused on man-made amenities, most of which can be found all over the region. Other examples come to mind.

Nature Trail Loses Out To Construction

Personally speaking, it’s been hard to find or collaborate with an Innsbrook office that feels they have the responsibility or authority as if a Chief Nature Officer. Without that role, compounded by property owners not having a direct seat as an IOA trustee, I worry that bad decisions can be made on growth issues such as how to respond to sewage spills, establishing conservation easements, restricting the larger noisy polluting UTVs, mowing down blooming butterfly-friendly milkweed, new construction tearing up nature trails, and a host of other matters small and big.

We are encouraged to see that the Village of Innsbrook on its municipal website at https://www.villageofinnsbrook.org/ continues to promote our community as one in harmony with nature. Yet, when we look deeper for programs, events, committees, ordinances, or resources to support that mission, we struggle to find any. And when we attend Village Trustee meetings, there is rarely any discussion about Nature from our elected trustees or attending residents.

Living Close to Nature and in Harmony With It Is Not Easy and Does Not Happen Without Effort

Overflowing Trash In A State That Now Has Bears

With the lack of leadership attention to Nature it’s no surprise that some new property owners don’t know any better and nearly clear-cut their lots making it look like the suburbs, call out critter control for any wildlife problem, shoot off private fireworks every holiday, throw trash in overflowing dumpsters that should have lids to keep critters out, leave exterior lights on for weeks at a time when they are gone spoiling our star-watching night skies, poison rodents which enter the food chain of our local bald eagle family, or want to kill off some mammals just so they have other wildlife to hunt and fish.

One of Several Lots Denuded of Original Forest

We are the first to admit that aspiring to LHN is not easy.  As former city dwellers, we have made our share of mistakes and compromises over nearly 15 years at IBK. We are far from perfect and have reverted back to city-ways too many times. But in the process we have become better educated and more mindful of how our decisions, good and bad, impact the natural world and environment around us.

Researching to pull together the IBK Nature Group newsletter each season has taught us so much about the advantages AND responsibilities of living in rural Missouri, close to Nature. We hope that our followers have also expanded their capacity to witness, enjoy, respect, and preserve Nature. We are so appreciative of all the support and comments received as we tried to make our community, that was already very good, even better and more sustainable in the future.

Results of Recent Polls

In our Spring 2017 Newsletter we reported the results of how well readers thought the IBK community was doing in living its motto of a community in harmony with nature. Half of the respondents thought we were doing good, but with some work to do better. But a third thought that we were not doing as well as we should have or doing a poor or failing job at LHN.

In a more recent poll in the Spring 2018 Newsletter we asked readers “are you also concerned that the Innsbrook community is losing its emphasis and ethos on living in harmony with nature?” The results of our admittedly unscientific sampling indicate that almost two-thirds were concerned or unsure. That’s too many, so what to do?

All Invited to July 28 Meeting

On Saturday morning, July 28, we will host an open discussion on Living in Harmony with Nature at Innsbrook. We will start by asking is LHN still relevant or important to our community? Should it be? We’ll share our own tips for better LHN as well as confess our personal challenges. We will invite others to share their tips, examples, concerns and questions. We will discuss the results of previous surveys on what property owners value the most from Nature at IBK. Finally, we hope to leave with a set of questions, guidelines, and recommendations for further discussion and action.

The meeting, open to all who are interested, will be held from 10:30 -11:30 am in the property owners meeting room at Charrette Creek Commons. We especially invite property owners who are new to living at IBK or in a rural setting to attend and learn from the rest of us. For more information email us at info@ibknature.com or call (636) 745-0121 to volunteer your help in hosting or following up the meeting results.

A Short Hike Over to Charrette Creek 

Charrette Creek Is An Important IBK Watershed

After the indoor meeting we will get outdoors to take a short hike across the Commons field to an easy accessible location along Charrette Creek where earlier this year we had established a new Missouri Stream Team monitoring site. Here we will point out the elements we learned at our recent state-sponsored training class that make up a healthy stream and surrounding watershed. (Read more about this in our last newsletter.) This includes how to assess water quality by inspecting all of the macro-invertebrates, like a scud, that live under rocks in a stream riffle. Don’t know what a riffle or scud is?  We’ll show you!

Closing Nature Quote

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; or let the fish of the sea inform you.”  Can you guess the author of this ancient wisdom? We’ll tell you on July 28!

Rich McFall & Kath Kremer, Resident Nature Geeks

Please note: This blog post presents our personal experience and opinions as we are not representing nor speaking on behalf of other Nature Group followers, residents, property owners, the Innsbrook Resort, or Innsbrook Corp. all of whom we respect may have different history, opinions, and concerns.

Innsbrook Nature Spring 2018 News

Dear Innsbrook Nature Enthusiasts,

Spring has come late to IBK, as has our Spring 2018 Newsletter!  We started writing this on a Sunday evening after one of the most splendid weekends in many months. The daytime temperatures were in the 60’s, the air clean and soft, the winds gentle, humidity just right, the skies ever so blue, and the night sky so crisp that the moon casts shadows of us around the outdoor fire on a cool evening. It rarely gets better than this in Missouri, or anywhere in the Midwest this time of year.

The sights, sounds, and smells of Nature are approaching their peak of the spring season this week at IBK, some 7-10 days later than last year. The wise elder oaks in IBK forests have started to leaf out, towering above white dogwoods and magenta redbud trees that have already peaked in the understory. Wild daffodils which got an early start this year are still plentiful, and it has been a joy to see them spread all over IBK in the past decade. Read more about nature’s timeline in our Nature Group’s Phenology Log here.

In our latest IBK Nature Group newsletter you will learn about: the new Charrette Creek stream team, owl sightings, tips for living in harmony with nature, ring-necked snakes, a nature trail addition, turtles on the move, results of the winter backyard bird count and dark sky survey, beetle invasion, and a favorite guide on our nature bookshelf. We hope you find something that enlarges your appreciation of both Nature and IBK.

View the Spring 2018 newsletter at https://ibknature.com/newsletters/spring-2018-newsletter or if you prefer to read or print it as a document, and take a break from Facebook tracking what you do, download it at Innsbrook Nature Spring 2018 Newsletter. Thanks for sharing this with your IBK neighbors and friends who may not know about our informal nature lov’n group. They can join our newsletter mailing list by providing their email address where prompted on the right hand side near the top of any page. Send us a note to info@ibknature.com if you have trouble with any of the above.

Kath and Rich for the Innsbrook Nature Group