Fall 2015 Newsletter

Which Season is Your Favorite at Innsbrook?

I love the Fall season the most while living at Innsbrook! But then I say that about Spring when Spring starts, as I do with Summer and yes even when Winter arrives. For those of us who are fortunate enough to live full-time at Innsbrook we are able to experience the enchantment of each different season in a way that makes us appreciate each of them. We’d like to hear what your most favorite season is at IBK. Cast your vote below in this anonymous poll and then select “View Results” to see the sum of what others think.

The Falling Leaves of Fall

Photo courtesy of Cindy Bowers

Photo courtesy of Cindy Bowers

With so many different tree types on our properties and in our forests, it’s not always easy to identify each tree by staring upward at summer foliage. It becomes much easier when the leaves start to turn and fall. The young Maples, of which our forests don’t need more, turn bright yellow and red several weeks before the elder Oaks, of which we do need more, turn their leaves to bronze, rust, and gold. At Innsbrook we typically enjoy two if not three waves of fall color bursts with local peaks separated by about 10 days. Here’s a simple leaf shape and color guide from the MDC at Common Fall Leaves .

Recent Events

For those unable to make our last two events, the lunar eclipse watch beach party and nature photo safari, you can find photos of our fun in nature at IBKnature.com/events and IBKnature.com/blog/. Be sure to check out the spooky image of a half-devoured moon appearing to be chased by a haunting red fog posted !

Trail of the Season: Tyrolean Trail

IMG_0528The Tyrolean Trail (TT) is a gem we are so fortunate to have inside Innsbrook.  The TT is actually a system of interconnected trail sections, each providing different scenery and levels of difficulty.  The Cabin Loop Section is an easy 0.81 mile hike on level ground that crosses several bridges over Charrette Creek.  The Alpine Valley Section is a moderate 2.5 mile hike featuring creeks, bridges, open fields, forest, and one big climb.  The Waterfalls Section is a shorter 1 mile trek over some challenging terrain but offering great scenery including several waterfalls.  Visit IBK’s Tyrolean Trail site for more information and a map. Our group hiked the Cabin Loop and Waterfalls sections as part of our Fall Nature Photo Safari.  Take a look at some of our scavenger hunt photos at www.IBKnature.com/events for encouragement to hike this trail if you have not already.

All of Innsbrook’s nature trails are profiled in a handy pocket guide produced by the Innsbrook Resort which can be picked up at the POA building or downloaded at Hiking Trail Pocket Guide. A special thanks to all the Innsbrook employees for their vision to create our many trails and who help to maintain them for our enjoyment.

Our Dear Deer of Innsbrook

With the Fall season our plentiful deer are very active. The fawns born in the Spring have all lost their spots but are still often seen with their family, but thankfully do not still stand wobbly in the middle of the road. If you see a deer crossing the road in front of you, the chances are there is one or more following. Be ever so careful for them and yourself!

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Bowers.

Photo courtesy of Cynthia Bowers.

Outside of IBK, it has been reported that statewide deer populations have fallen significantly the past two years, largely because of hemorrhagic diseases like bluetongue that surged during the droughts of 2012 and 2013.  Hunters have complained about a lack of deer to hunt, although more than 250,000 are killed most years in Missouri.  I am certainly not a wildlife manager, conservation scientist, or experienced hunter, but it seems that the experts swing quickly from claiming there are so many deer that we must hunt more of them down even in our urban areas, to not having enough deer so we need to replenish the herds to have more of them to hunt!  The great difficulty of even our best wildlife agencies to predict deer populations, along with the impact of unexpected diseases, reminds me that we humans may not always have all the answers to how nature works or can rebalance itself.

Is Innsbrook a Regional Wildlife Corridor?

This guest article comes from IBK chalet owner and Missouri Master Naturalist Allison Volk.

First of all, what is a wildlife corridor?  According to conservationcorridor.org: “Corridors are habitats that are typically long relative to their width, and they connect fragmented patches of habitat.  They can vary greatly in size, shape and composition.  The main goal of corridors is to facilitate movement of individuals, through both dispersal and migration, so that gene flow and diversity are maintained between local populations.  By linking populations throughout the landscape, there is a lower chance for extinction and greater support for species richness.”

When thinking about this description the answer may be “YES”, Innsbrook is acting as a type of corridor simply because of our lifestyle and location to natural areas that are already established in our part of Missouri.  If you look at This MDC Map you will see that there are protected areas in all directions from Innsbrook.  To name a few we have the Reifsnider State Forest, Weldon Spring Conservation Area, Babler State Park, Engelmann Woods, Shaw Bottomland Forest, Grand Bluffs Natural Area and Tucker Prairie Natural Area.

In our next newsletter, Allison will take a look at how all theses corridors work together and all that Innsbrook has done to help native species thrive.

What Will Climate Change Mean to Innsbrook?

With the occurrence of more extreme weather across our nation and the globe, I often worry what these events and climate change in general means for rural Missouri forests and wildlife habitat. We know for some of us it has meant several new roofs due to storm damage in less than 10 years. And who can forget how the heat and drought baked the land just a few summers ago. For our wild neighbors an earlier Spring can throw food availability out of sync with the need and disrupt whole forest ecosystems. If a group would like to meet for informal discussion on this topic over the winter, please let me know at info@ibknature.com and I will arrange.

Phenology New Page

Phenology is the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life. Some plants and animals use the hours of daylight to guide their activity, others use temperature.  Keeping a nature journal of the seasonal activity around your property is a fun way to get the whole family involved in slowing down enough to watching the planet change around us.  We’ve started keeping track of certain annual milestones in nature at IBK; the first woolly caterpillar predicting the winter, when the geese start gathering for practice flights, the first wildflowers of spring, the first killing frost, the first and last bluebird clutches. We’ve just added an IBK Phenology Log page to our website at https://ibknature.com/ibk-phenology/ where we hope to collect observations from others. To keep it simple, we’ll be focusing on the months of March and October.

Reminder About Bush Honeysuckle

IMG_0494

Fall is an excellent time to eradicate invasive bush honeysuckle on your Innsbrook property because it is so easy to spot with red berries and green leaves that are the last to fall.  Methods of control and identification can be found at the Missouri Dept of Conservation’s website.  At the bottom of the page is a link to a humorous booklet called “Curse of the Bush Honeysuckle” where you can see helpful photos to identify this unwelcomed guest.

Nature Up High

For all you early risers, a rare 3-planet conjunction will be visible on the morning of October 28. The planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter will all form a small triangle in the early morning sky. Jupiter and Venus will be only one degree apart with Mars just a few degrees to the east. Look to the east just before sunrise for this spectacular event. The long-time property owners of Innsbrook will tell you how much dark sky we have lost over the years, especially to the east due to light pollution from St. Charles County and more recently to the northwest due to Warrenton. We hope this motivates the rest of us to protect our own rural dark skies by turning off unnecessary outside lights that may only help the wildlife to make an evening buffet of your landscaping.

Website Update

Our community website for Living in Harmony with Nature & Wildlife at www.IBKnature.com continues to expand with new pages, photos, posts, and helpful resources. We will soon be moving to an automatic distribution of our quarterly newsletter, so if you have not done so yet, please “follow” the website by entering your email address in the field on the right hand side of any page. By doing so you will get a short notice through our website host WordPress.com each time there is an announcement or newsletter. You can remove yourself at anytime.

What to Call Ourselves?

As for a shorter name than the Living in Harmony with Nature & Wildlife at Innsbrook Group (whew) IBK’ng has been suggested as an abbreviation of the IBK nature group. We like it because it communicates we are an active “–ing” group into hiking, wildlife watching, stargazing, bird watching, bicycling, nature photographing, kayaking, and playing in nature whenever we get the chance! Now, what to use as our group’s graphic logo…..any ideas?

Closing Nature Quote

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better,” by Albert Einstein.

Rich, Kath, and Kyp

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