Monarchs and Asters

Monarchs and Asters

On Sunday, summer’s heat began to return. It didn’t get hot yesterday, but our forecast promises that it will, with even a shot at setting a new record high. Still, on Sunday the weather was pleasant. Anne and I took advantage of this nice weather and went to Forest Park, for a walk in the woods. We explored Kennedy Forest, located in the southwest corner of the park. One key aspect of this hike was our exploring of the savannah in Kennedy Forest.

It is just a few acres of tall grass prairie, but is a microcosm that suggests what most of Missouri looked like before it was settled. The land is covered with a mixed vegetation that is as tall as a man. A few trees also dot the land. This recreation of a savannah is a relatively new innovation in the park. Invasive honeysuckle has been laboriously hacked back. To prevent it from returning, control burns that simulate natural prairie fires annually scorch the earth. Indigenous seeds are sown and nature is allowed to then take its course. On this afternoon dozens of Monarch butterflies were fluttering about. New England asters were their main attraction. After many attempts I got this photo of one with its wings spread wide.

After the savannah, we hiked trails through the forest. We wandered about until the mosquitoes discovered me. We were held up from crossing a road by scores of motorcyclist that were passing by. It must have been a tweed ride, because all the riders had swapped their leathers for plaid wool. We walked through the zoo, navigating the human throng and saw a few animals too. Afterwards, we lunched at Kaldi’s in De Mun. All-in-all it was a very successful outing. 

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