SLAGA Upcoming Events
Howl with the Wolves
One of our favorite things about geocaching is that it takes us to some wonderfully obscure locations. Another thing we love is that geocaching allows us to learn a lot about plants and animals along the way. Although our most recent adventure was not geocaching-related, it still had the elements of going somewhere the average person doesn’t get to see and learning something new that opened our eyes.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of the Tyson Research Center along Highway 44 at Antire Hill, I've always pictured two-headed Tyson chickens running around behind that high-security fence. What you may not know is that, nestled in the middle of the Tyson Research area, are 63 acres devoted to the Endangered Wolf Center (formerly known as the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center) founded by Marlin Perkins. (You know, the guy from Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, and former director of the St. Louis Zoo.)
For L Frank's birthday, I signed us up for one of the Wolf Center's monthly Wolf Howls. We were given a 15-minute window to be at the Tyson Research Center gate, where someone would let us in and give us instructions on where to go. Pulling up to the gate after dark, we were surprised by the number of cars waiting to go in. We took our place in line, and eventually the gates opened and the cars were allowed in one by one.
The woods were pitch-black on either side of us as we drove about a mile and a half, where we were directed to park along the side of the road. Then we got out of our cars and walked to a World War II-era munitions bunker where the event was to begin. The inside of the bunker was set up with a presentation screen, chairs, information on the animals at the Wolf Center, and even a little gift shop. We were served wine and cheese before taking a seat.
The event began with a Wolf Center employee giving a presentation on the wolves and other endangered species living there. The red wolf, we were told, used to roam Missouri but was almost completely exterminated in the 1800s and early 1900s. By the 1930s, only two packs remained in the wild.
The mission of the Wolf Center (www.endangeredwolfcenter.org) is to provide an “alternative to extinction” for hundreds of wolves and other endangered canids through education, behavioral and reproductive research and carefully managed breeding. The work done there has been responsible for successful reintroduction programs for the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf.
After the presentation, our group was invited to walk down a gravel road with our flashlights and call to the wolves to see if they would answer. We had walked a few hundred feet when we all stopped in our tracks at the sound of the wolves starting to howl in the distance. We listened to the sound for a few minutes, trying to imagine the terror that early settlers in Missouri said they felt when they heard the wolves’ cry all around them. How could those early accounts be referring to the beautiful, soulful sound we were hearing?
The wolves quieted as suddenly as they had started. One of our guides stayed with us, and the other continued down the road. They were going to each try to howl as if they were lost wolves searching for the pack. First one, then the other guide gave their best rendition of a Mexican grey wolf. I guess the pack wasn’t fooled, because only one wolf felt sorry for us and answered. Then our whole group howled on cue, but the wolves must have been laughing at us at that point, since the only answer we got when we listened for a reply was a train whistle in the distance. We felt lucky to have heard them earlier, and left wanting to return for a daylight tour so we could actually get to see them in their habitats. All in all, a fun, educational experience in an area that I would have otherwise never been able to see. What more could a geocacher wish for? Maybe next time I’ll spot one of those two-headed chickens.
Last Updated (Monday, 20 February 2012 20:22)
February 29 – This Day in Geocaching History
by Eric Schudiske, Groundspeak Lackey
Local Leap Day Events:
GC3BY21 Leap Day (City Folk Edition) - St. Louis MO
GC3BXVT Happy (hour) Leap Day! - St. Charles MO
GC3C98C Meet, Greet, Eat and Leap - Salem MO
GC3B5X3 Leap Day in Columbia - Columbia MO
Last Updated (Thursday, 16 February 2012 13:54)
SLAGA Winter Potluck and Cabin Fever
Bring your favorite food to share as we get together for a meet-and-greet on Saturday, January 28th, at Jefferson Barracks Park to focus on getting to know each other and the many new cachers in the area. Starting at 11:00 am, we will have a silent auction, games, good food, geocaching milestone awards, and will swap caching stories inside the heated Grant Pavilion. The winners of the 2011 SLAGA Travel Bug Race will be announced at this event. This is also a good opportunity to invite local land managers that you have personally worked with. Please contact your local land manager or parks department and invite them to come out. We will also have a drop-off spot for those wanting to donate canned goods to a local food pantry. Sign up by logging your "Will Attend" on the cache page.
Last Updated (Thursday, 19 January 2012 11:22)
Move Over Geocaching; Make Room for Edu-caching
Written by Ravi Kumar
Read the entire article at www.wiredacademic.com.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 30 November 2011 12:48)
Group Caching as It Ought to Be
Pictured: L Frank, Denmother, Mikeinmo, Crowesfeat30, Repmul, Strider, Quailman2 (both of them), twolpert, javapgmr
On Saturday, November 19, ten SLAGA members went on a group hunt. A power trail? Reliving the glory of MOGAs past? Not so much. Most of us drove 190 miles each way - and one of us came from Iowa - to find a single cache. And it was worth it!
Last Updated (Monday, 28 November 2011 13:08)