Monthly Archives: May 2013

Getting the Most from Your Walk in the Woods

By James Swan

Outdoor Hub

            Taking a walk is good medicine for anyone. Walking can help manage weight, improve mood, ease depression, boost the immune system, maintain mental efficiency, strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and prevent osteoporosis. Walking anyplace is good for you, but research has shown that walking in natural areas is even better for you. In Japan, they call walking in a forest shinrin-yoku–“forest bathing.” Japanese researchers suggest additional benefits come from pleasing scenery, fresh air, and contact with increased negative air ions. Researchers at Japan’s Nippon Medical Schoolsay that trees emit a fine mist of health-giving “wood essential oils.”

A study in Great Britain found that people suffering from depression who took a 50-minute walk in a woodland park improved their ability to remember a random string of digits and repeat them in reverse order, and their mental abilities were better compared to those who took a walk through city streets.

Just being out in nature has benefits, but to increase your enjoyment and reap more benefits, Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner encourages you to cultivate your “naturalistic intelligence“–the ability to be more aware of the different plants, animals, rocks, and physical features, what they are, and what they mean to you (Teddy Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold were “Einsteins” in naturalistic intelligence). So how do you cultivate your naturalistic intelligence and that of your family?

Before there was the term naturalistic intelligence, these abilities were what my father called “woodsmarts.” Let me tell you a little about how he taught me to develop sensory awareness of nature.

Walking softly

I grew up on Grosse Ile, a cigar-shaped Michigan island that bisects the Detroit River as it empties into Lake Erie, the Great Lake the Chippewa say has the spirit of a panther. Fifty feet from the front door of the house there was a canal that held rock bass, yellow perch, bluegills, and northern pike–and a boat for exploringLake Erie.

One of my earliest memories is going out duck hunting with my father. It was a spectacular fall afternoon with a crisp blue sky, cool breezes, and the sun was a glowing golden ball hanging low in the western sky. I was four or five. As the sun set, waves of dark chocolate brown black ducks with silvery underwings and bright red legs came streaming out of Lake Erie and into the marsh to feed for the night. When my father brought one down with his shotgun, it was an act of magic.

I was hooked. My father saw this and began to take me on walks in the woods in the evening after he finished work. One night when we got to the woods he told me to stop, close my eyes and listen. In the distance, the leaves rustled. “What animal is that?” he asked me.

I can’t remember what I guessed, but I was wrong.

He pointed out a sound like someone stepping on a pile of leaves, then another, and another. He explained: “That’s a squirrel, feeding. They hop and land on all four feet and are noisy when they land. They can get away with being so noisy because they can run up a tree to get away. A rabbit is quieter when he is feeding, because their legs are longer, their feet are covered with fur and their stride is different. If they run, the sounds will be faster than a squirrel.

“Deer walk quietly. You don’t hear every footstep, but they are heavy enough to break twigs and branches. If you jump one he runs off, making a loud racket as they crash through brush. The dog makes the most noise. He gets his food from a dish and has forgotten how to hunt for food, so every step he takes is noisy and he does not care. Except for man, of course, unless he knows better. And that’s what I want to teach you, how to walk silently like the wind.”

A few weeks later we went to the woods. He blindfolded me and said to walk on the dirt road that ran through the woods, which was a two-rut dirt trail with a grassy, raised median in the middle. At first, I kept getting off the road.

“You’ve got learn to have eyes in the bottom of your feet if you want to walk quietly,” he said. “Concentrate on the soles of your feet. Feel the ground. It’s bare, there are a few stones, and there is hump in the middle of the road.”

I found that I could keep on the road by feeling the slight rise in the middle of the dirt road. When I reported this awareness he replied that I now understood what “eyes on the bottom of your feet” meant.

In addition, closing my eyes forced me to use my sense of hearing more, and I began to learn a whole new language of woods sounds.

Next, we moved off the road. With my eyes closed, my assignment became to learn to feel the ground underfoot as I put each foot down gently. It quickly became obvious why moccasins make for quiet walking the woods because you can feel everything underfoot. After I began to get a little better at moving quietly, my father challenged me to see who could walk more quietly.

I could barely hear him. I sounded like a squirrel.

The key to silent walking, my father taught me was to walk planting the outside ball of the foot first, carefully putting one foot ahead and testing out the ground before putting your weight on it. If you walk on your heels, like most people do, you don’t feel out the ground first before putting your weight down and you are much more likely to make noise crunching something like a branch and may not be able to avoid doing so. After a while, I found that taking a walk in the woods with some woodsmarts enabled me to find more animals and get closer to them, which has benefits for hunting as well as enjoying nature.

Predator and prey

A few days later, he invented a game he called “Predator and Prey.” At first he had me mimic the sounds of other animals moving through the woods, so I could sound like a squirrel, a rabbit, a deer, and a pheasant scratching for food under leaves.

The person who was “it” became the prey, while the other person became the predator. We turned our backs and separated by about 20 yards. Then both closed our eyes. We both had to keep moving, and it was the goal of the predator to get close enough to the prey to touch them. The prey could not run, unless they could hear the predator approaching.

Walking is good for everyone. Walking in a beautiful natural area is better. Walking with some woodsmarts enriches the experience even more. It also gives you some more skills to increase your hunting success. Walk, and see how much more aware of what is around you can comprehend.

A quote for the day from Tierona Low Dog, M.D. from her new book, Life Is Your Best Medicine:

“In some cases, maybe the best prescription a physician could write would be for a hike in the mountains, a bike ride along a river, a walk in a garden, or a week-end camping trip.”

NRCS Announces New Edge-of-Field Water Quality Monitoring

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist Daniel H. Meyerhoff, announced that funds are available for a new edge-of-field water quality monitoring program under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). “In an effort to improve the effectiveness of agricultural conservation practices and systems, NRCS is implementing this program in which producers use edge-of-field monitoring to evaluate the quality of water draining from their farms,” said Meyerhoff. Producers in Headwaters Grasshopper Creek in the Delaware River Watershed in southcentral Brown County and small portions ofAtchison and Jackson Counties may apply. Applications must be received by June 14, 2013. 

Headwaters Grasshopper Creek is a 22,000-acre watershed that was selected in 2012 for the National Water Quality Initiative which accelerates efforts to improve water quality in small watersheds for nutrient, sediment, and pathogen concerns. “I encourage all producers who are in Headwaters Grasshopper Creek and interested in monitoring to contact their local NRCS office as soon as possible so they can meet the application deadline,” said Meyerhoff.

Edge-of-field water quality monitoring will use a paired watershed approach to establish baseline information and has the potential to provide much needed water quality data to show the effects of conservation practices in quantifiable terms. As monitoring progress is made, NRCS will be better able to focus conservation practices on the areas of greatest need using the most effective conservation systems. EQIP contracts for edge-of-field monitoring may extend for a total of nine years with an additional year of maintenance. 

Edge-of-field water quality monitoring has three primary purposes:  evaluate performance of conservation practices and conservation system; validate and calibrate models; and inform on-farm adaptive management. NRCS will work with producers to use new conservation activities for water quality monitoring system installation and monitoring system data collection and evaluation. 

The Kaw Loses a Dear Friend – Lance Burr

Lance Burr, a true Kaw River warrior, passed away on Monday evening, May 13, 2013. Lance was a founding board member and the first president of Friends of the Kaw. He also established our Endowment Fund. 

Lance served on the Friends of the Kaw board as either an active or honorary board member from 1997 to 2013. We will all dearly miss him.

Pictured are Laura Calwell, Lance and Mike Calwell at the reception in March of 2010 celebrating the conservation easement for his Buck Creek property. 

Lance was active in many community concerns for Lawrence and Kansas. Our deepest sympathy goes to his family, particularly his children, Dustin and Desiree.

            Obituary Notice for Lance Burr

Free Fishing Days First Weekend in June

Residents and visitors can enjoy two days of free fishing in Kansas June 1-2

The old adage “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” may be true 363 days out of the year, but the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is bucking that notion for two days by offering free fishing throughout the state June 1-2 . That’s right – free – no license will be required.

Anglers must still abide by all other fishing regulations set forth by KDWPT during the free fishing weekend, but anglers normally required to have fishing licenses, those age 16-74, do not need licenses June 1-2.

New Fishing Changes for 2013

Senior Fishing Licenses

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, resident anglers age 65-74 are no longer exempt from fishing license requirements. Residents age 75 and older are still exempt.

Residents age 65-74 are eligible for a lifetime hunting/fishing combination license at $42.50, an annual senior hunting/fishing combination license at $20.50, or an annual fishing license at $11.50 (half-price).

ANS-Designated Waters

Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) waters are defined as waters containing prohibited species such as Asian carp, white perch, and/or zebra mussels. Fish may not be transported alive from ANS-designated waters, and livewells and bilges must be drained before transporting boats from waters of the state. For more information about ANS, visit

Bait Fish

Wild-caught baitfish shall only be used on the body of water where taken, except that bluegill and green sunfish may be taken from a non-ANS-designated water and used for bait. If taken on a flowing stream or river, wild-caught baitfish shall not be transported upstream across any dam or natural barrier.

Anglers who purchase bait from a commercial dealer are required to carry the receipt for the live baitfish purchase while fishing.

Handfishing Report No Longer Required

Handfishing permit holders are no longer required to return a questionnaire about their angling activities.

Artificial Lure Definition

An artificial lure is defined as a man-made fish-catching device used to mimic a single prey item. Artificial lures may be constructed of natural, non-edible, or synthetic materials. Multiple hooks, if present, shall be counted as a single hook on an artificial lure. Regulation allows only two baited hooks or artificial lures per rod. The umbrella rig, popularly called the Alabama Rig, may only have two separate lures with hooks.

For more information, including where to fish in Kansas and current fishing regulations, and click “Fishing.”

Glen Elder to Host Annual Youth Fishing Tournament

Youngsters can hone angling skills and win prizes during Glen Elder youth fishing tournament

It’s an unspoken rule among anglers that when lures hit the water, friendly competition should ensue. In an effort to bring some good ol’ fashioned summer fun to young anglers, Glen Elder State Park staff is hosting their 9th Annual Youth Fishing Tournament at Glen Elder Reservoir, also known asWaconda Lake. The event will be held June 1 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., coinciding with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) free fishing weekend.

Participants will receive a new fishing pole, t-shirt, fishing tackle, and a free lunch.

The tournament is open to youth 7-14, and there is no fee to participate. Check-in begins at 7:30 a.m., with boats hitting the water at 8:00 a.m. The tournament will conclude at 1:00 p.m., followed by lunch and an awards ceremony. Prizes will be awarded to youth who caught the biggest fish of a given species, and the youth who caught the most fish overall.

Space is limited, so parents are encouraged to call early and reserve a spot. For more information, or to sign-up for this event, contact KDWPT district fisheries biologist Scott Waters at (785) 545-3345.

Bass Pro Shops Donating Canteens to Kids at the TimberRidge Day Camp

Bass Pro Shops in Olathe has donated canteen bottles with carabiner clips to each of the kids attending the Kansas Wildlife Federation’s Day Camp at TimberRidge on June 12th. Bass Pro has also donated two fishing poles to be given away in a drawing at the end of the day. The Day Camp is for boys & girls 10-12 years old. The kids will enjoy boating, fishing, archery & other activities for a $25 fee. TimberRidge is located next to Kill Creek Park in Olathe, Kansas. To get the application and full details of the schedule visit
Or email Ted Beringer at [email protected] for questions.

Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation joins KWF in sponsoring the TimberRidge DayCamp

The Kansas Wildlife Federation (KWF) is proud to announce that the Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) has joined KWF to sponsor of the June 12th Day Camp at TimberRidge for boys & girls (10-12 years old). QUWF is a major force in the recovery and restoration of quail and other upland species through critical habitat management.

For the Day Camp schedule and an application, visit:>.
You can print off the application and mail it to the address shown on the application or email Ted Beringer for information at [email protected].
maximize the recovery and restoration of the wild quail and other upland species through critical habitat management using sound science, with technology, and old fashioned sweat equity. Applying exceptional care and professional oversight to manage every penny raised for habitat and wildlife population recovery.

New Study Quantifies U.S. Investment in Conservation

A new study provides a revealing look at America‘s economic stake in conservation, totaling the total public and private investments in fish, wildlife and natural resources conservation at $38.8 billion per year – monies that, once spent, circulate through the economy and stimulate an impressive $93.2 billion in economic activity.

“The Conservation Economy in America,” commissioned by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and conducted by Southwick Associates, reports the economic impacts of direct investments into conservation: the jobs, tax revenues and other dividends produced by state, federal and private conservation funding.

The study’s implications regarding the role of natural resource conservation in the broader U.S. economy are considerable. For example, Outdoor Industry Association, the trade association for companies in the outdoor recreation business, has commissioned a number of groundbreaking studies that examine consumer spending in the pursuit of outdoor recreation activities. When these new conservation-focused figures are combined with OIA data, as well as with similar data for historic preservation, the relationship is clear: Our $38.8 billion investment in conservation forms the underpinnings of an economic boon for the US through subsequent spending related to outdoor recreation and historic preservation, which are largely dependent on sound natural resources stewardship.

The study has commanded the attention of America‘s Voice for Conservation, Recreation and Preservation, a coalition of more than 1,200 organizations representing tens of millions of citizens with diverse political backgrounds who have united in support of conservation, recreation and historic preservation programs as a way to create jobs and improve the economy. The AVCRP coalition drew data from the new study and combined existing information to showcase some noteworthy findings:

♦ $1.7 trillion = total economic impact attributed to natural resource conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation in the United States, $1.6 trillion of which is derived from consumer dollars spent on outdoor recreation activities as it circulates through the economy as quantified by OIA. These rounds of spending also create additional impacts:

♦ $211 billion = federal, state and local tax revenue generated annually from this sustainable economy;

♦ 12.8 million = number of jobs supported by these three sectors;

♦ $877 billion = combined contribution to the United State Gross Domestic Product from these three sectors; and,

♦ $33.3 billion = total annual federal spending on natural resource conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation that helps generate this $1.7 trillion economy.

“Conservation-focused investments impact our nation’s economy in ways that cannot be ignored,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “If the government wishes to prioritize spending on areas that provide substantial return on investment, conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation should be at the top of their lists.”

“Conservation has always been a strong economic driver, and this new data reinforces that fact,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “When Americans pursue their favorite outdoor pastimes each year, they support wildlife conservation but also are strengthening our economy to a much greater degree than they may realize. Investing in conservation is a great deal for the American taxpayer.”

“The benefits of wild places in America are clear from both the economic and environmental perspective,” said The Wilderness Society Counselor and AVCRP co-chair Bill Meadows. “Federal investments made in conservation are returned to all Americans, supporting millions of jobs, improving our infrastructure, encouraging economic investment in local communities, and keeping our air breathable, our water clean and our wildlife and outdoor spaces protected – all of which make our nation unique and prosperous.”

“Investments in nature produce a great return, and the bottom line is clear – America‘s natural resources are a critical part of our national economy,” said Mark R. Tercek, president and CEO of The Nature Conservancy. “Our environmental health is directly related to our economic well-being, among other benefits. As a result, even in this time of budget austerity, the federal government can and should address the federal deficit while still investing in critical conservation programs.”

Kansas State University Wins FLW College Fishing Central Conference Event on Alabama’s Pickwick Lake

The Kansas State University team of Nathan Kozlowski and Lance Maldonado, both of Junction City, Kan., won the FLW College Fishing Central Conference event on Pickwick Lake Saturday with a five-bass limit weighing 17 pounds, 8 ounces. The victory earned the club $2,000 and advanced the team to the FLW College Fishing Central Conference Invitational tournament.

“This feels great,” said Maldonado, who is a junior majoring in Management and fishing in his second career FLW College Fishing event. “This is my first year fishing for the Kansas State team. I transferred here because I knew that Nathan was coming here and we wanted to fish together for the Wildcats.

“We’ve grown up together and been fishing with each other since we were five or six years old,” Maldonado continued. “Not many people can say that they’ve been fishing with the same guy for that long. This was pretty special.”

The Kansas State Wildcat team used their experience and the strong Tennessee River current to their advantage. They targeted boulders and breaks in the current where the fish were waiting to ambush the bait.

“We were fishing community holes,” Maldonado continued. “Downstream from the dam to Seven-Mile Island. We would locate the big boulders on the shore, and that told us that there were more close by. We fished slow and worked our baits differently, and I think that was the key for us.”

Kozlowski, a junior majoring in Finance, estimated that they caught 30 to 40 fish throughout the day, but only 10 keepers. He said that they caught fish on multiple presentations, including a Zara Spook, a buzzbait, 5-inch swimbaits and black and blue-colored Jewel Baits jigs.

“It really turned on for us between 9 and 10 a.m.,” Kozlowski said. “We were just popping our jigs off of the rocks and fishing them differently than everyone else.”

The duo weighed in a mixed bag of bass of three smallmouth, one spotted bass and one largemouth. Maldonado gave a large amount of credit to his partner Kozlowski, who was able to pre-fish Pickwick Lake last weekend.

“It was pretty cool weighing in a stringer with three different species,” Maldonado said. “Nathan was able to come down here last weekend and get some practice time in, and he caught 17 or 18 pounds. We felt pretty good confident coming in, and it feels great to get the victory.”

The top 15 teams that advanced to the Central Conference Invitational tournament are:

1st: Kansas State University – Nathan Kozlowski and Lance Maldonado, both of Junction CityKan. (five bass, 17-8, $2,000)

2nd: Murray State University – Vincent Campisano, Louisville, Ky., and Cody Santel, Petersburg, Ill. (five bass, 16-14, $1,000)

3rd: Georgetown College – John Hunter, ShelbyvilleKy., and Vincent Timperio, CorbinKy. (five bass,16-2, $500)

4th: Eastern Kentucky University – Kyle Raymer, Brandenburg, Ky., and John Smith, Harlan, Ky. (five bass, 15-12, $500)

5th: Georgetown College – Nick Huff and Mike Huff, both of GeorgetownKy. (five bass, 14-14, $500)

6th: University of Iowa – Keaton Williams, Fort DodgeIowa, and John Mercer, BurlingtonIowa (five bass, 14-1)

7th: University of Evansville – Nick Uebelhor and Eric Kieffner, both of Jasper, Ind. (five bass, 13-5)

8th: Western Kentucky University – Ryan Coleman, UticaKy., and Justin Hopkins, LewisburgKy. (five bass, 13-4)

9th: Indiana State University – Steve Judson, Terre HauteInd., and Zac NiehausBrazilInd. (four bass, 13-0)

10th: University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point – Cody Hahner, Wausau, Wis., and Steve Maliborski, Milwaukee, Wis. (five bass, 12-6)

11th: Western Kentucky University – Stephen Compton, LewisportKy., and Jacob Hopkins, LewisburgKy. (five bass, 12-1)

12th: Murray State University – Ian Heskett, Murray, Ky., and Shelby Vandergraff, Monon, Ind. (five bass, 11-4)

13th: University of Nebraska-Omaha – Brad Koll, OmahaNeb., and Joseph Pfeifer, ColumbusNeb. (three bass, 11-2)

14th: Eastern Kentucky University – Travis Spivey, TrentonOhio, and Matt Salmons, BronstonKy. (four bass, 10-5)

15th: Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville – Brad Lemasters, Springfield, Ill., and Zach Hartnagel, Edwardsville, Ill. (three bass, 8-6)

FLW College Fishing teams compete in four qualifying events in one of five conferences – Central, Northern, Southern, Southeastern and Western. The top fifteen teams from each regular-season tournament will qualify for one of five conference invitational tournaments. The top ten teams from each conference invitational tournament will advance to the 2014 FLW College Fishing National Championship.

College Fishing is free to enter and FLW Outdoors provides boats and drivers for each competing team along with travel allowances. All participants must be registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university and members of a fishing club recognized by their college or university.

The next FLW College Central Conference qualifying tournament is scheduled for June 15 on Kentucky Lake in BentonKy.