I spent several days at Mark Twain Lake last week after attending the FIRST Robotics World Festival in St. Louis, MO. Now that I think about it, these two field experiences back to back exemplify the awesome possibilities of STEM and the importance of learning about God’s Creation by spending time out in the woods and learning about His laws by running smack into them when confronted with an engineering problem and the accompanying circuitry, programming, and construction challenges.
After spending two and a half days locked up in a hidden chamber as an FLL World Festival Project Judge it really was wonderful walking the oak-hickory forests of NE Missouri.
A good college friend came down from Iowa and we set up camp in late April, a perfect window of time to see spring neotropical migrating songbirds arriving from across the Gulf and to avoid too many of the accompanying biting insects they rely on for food.
We spent time in scrub-shrub habitat complete with poison-oak and a species of yucca native the region. We were treated to prairie warblers, white-eyed vireos, and a blue grosbeak! I got a bit carried away and chased a yellow-bellied racer up a cedar tree and finally managed to grab it up.
The forests and old levy roads of the Mississippi yielded the brilliant prothonotary warbler, northern parula, scores of blue-gray gnatcatchers, palm warblers, yellow-rumped warblers, red-eyed vireos. Ovenbirds, woodcocks, whip-poor-will, and a scarlet tanager kept us hopping at the campground as they enjoyed the tender new red oak, white oak, and fragrant shagbark hickory leaves.
What a blessing to spend spring days exploring the Missouri woodlands with a great friend.