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Holiday gifts from MDC keep on give back all year

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The holiday shopping season is just around the corner, and instead of fighting the crowds, why not shop online. The Missouri Department of Conservation’s Nature Shop (mdcnatureshop.com) makes shopping online a breeze for anyone interested in finding nature-themed gifts to put under the Christmas tree. Holiday shoppers can also skip the mall or other retail stores and visit one of the brick-and-mortar Nature Shop outlets found in MDC nature centers around the state in Kirkwood, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, Kansas City, Blue Springs, and Jefferson City.

Could the Missouri Department of Conservation have the gift you're looking for?

Could the Missouri Department of Conservation have the gift you’re looking for?

MDC’s Nature Shop offers a surprising array of reasonably priced gifts. Some of this year’s Nature Shop hot sellers are A Paddler’s Guide to Missouri, Missouri’s Wild Mushrooms, Cooking Wild in Missouri, and the 2016 Natural Events Calendar. These items and much more can be found at any Nature Shop or online at mdcnatureshop.com. Also it’s important to remember that Conservation Heritage Card holders get a 15-percent discount on all Nature Shop items.

One of the Nature Shops most popular holiday gifts is the Natural Events Calendar, with 12 months of daily notes about everything from meteor showers to the hatching of bald eagle eggs. At $7 each, it’s the gift that keeps giving all year long.

Everyone enjoys great food and usually the best time to enjoy it is with family and friends during the holidays. So why not give the book Cooking Wild in Missouri as a gift during the holiday season. Cooking Wild in Missouri is a collection of recipes that incorporate wild fish, game, nuts, berries, and mushrooms. It has everything from creamed morels and pawpaw gelato to blackberry cordial. More adventurous cooks might want to try catfish tacos or venison moussaka. This lavishly illustrated book sells for just $15.

Discover nature by exploring Missouri’s many rivers and streams with MDC’s A Paddler’s Guide to Missouri. The spiral-bound book features 58 rivers and streams to canoe and kayak throughout the state. It sells for only $8.

Other Nature-Themed Gift Ideas

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish. Hunting, fishing, and trapping permits are additional gift possibilities. At $19, a Resident Small-Game Hunting and Fishing Permit provides a full year of outdoor fun. Giving a Nonresident Small-Game Hunting Permit ($80) or a Nonresident Fishing Permit ($42) encourages out-of-state family members to come home more often. Permits bought on Dec. 1 or later are good from the date of purchase through the following permit year, which ends on the last day of February. So recipients get 15 months of use out of them. Permits can be purchased at nature centers and online at http://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/hunting-fishing/permits.

Friends and family who work to improve their land for wildlife will appreciate tree and shrub seedlings from the George O. White State Forest Nursery. It has dozens of species, including decorative trees and shrubs such as flowering dogwood and redbud as well as a wide variety of oaks, evergreens, and other forest mainstays. For prices and ordering information, visit mdc.mo.gov/node/3328, or call 573-674-3229. The nursery accepts orders through April. However, many tree and shrub species sell out before then. Orders are shipped starting in February.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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