Sounds of Late Summer in the Ozarks:
Cicadas, Nighthawks, and Bullfrogs – Oh My!

As the August sun blazes overhead in the Ozarks and the length of day starts to shorten, a favorite past time for many Ozarkians is to sit in the shade and soak in the beauty of the hills and hollers, forests and grasslands. A breeze might be present, and likely it will be warm and humid. Sitting quietly so as to reserve our energy and stay cool, we notice many sounds that remind us we are deep into summer.

Listen to the cicadas. That buzzing noise that starts our slow and quiet, but then crescendos to deafening proportions – especially when more than one is singing. Looking around, we see brown crusty empty skeletons attached to bark – the remains of the larva that grew into adults that are now in the treetops singing. They look devilish. But somehow the loud brash humming noises are reassuring that these long, hot, humid days will become shorter, and autumn weather will eventually come.

As the late afternoon turns into evening, we hear the short buzz of the nighthawk – a long-winged bird darting around in the sky high overhead. These birds typically are active around sunset – when the insects emerge, primarily moths.

They are often seen flying above ballparks where their prey is attracted to the high intensity stadium lights – making it particularly easy for their nightly feast as they prepare for their migration back south – likely all the way to Argentina!

When the sun sets, male bullfrogs in the local ponds and ditches fill the night with their low, deep, mournful groan. Some say it sounds like a cow mooing – hence the name ‘bull’ frog. They are calling for mates. At the height of the mating season, many males will gather and sing in ‘choruses’, but as the season wears on, the song of a lone male drones on well into the night.

This is prime time for local folk to go frog gigging. Hunting frogs and eating fried frog legs are a southern summer tradition for many who live in the Ozarks.

Ozark Regional Land Trust conserves land where these animals live. By conserving land, we are also conserving the culture and traditions of the Ozarks. Without these critters, nature would be too quiet, and wouldn’t we miss these comforting songs of summer?

Meet the new Board President – Jim Reeves

The June Annual Members Meeting is the time to say goodbye to board members rotating off the board (we have term limits), to elect new board members, and for changes in the board leadership. Jeff Winzerling stepped down as President after 3 years at the helm. After 8 full years on the board, Jeff’s leadership has been valuable, and we are fortunate that he will continue one final year before his term ends.

Jeff turned the gavel over to Jim Reeves, who completed his first 3-year term and will start his second term as the Board President. Jim has a passion for nature and wilderness as a hiker, and he enjoys floating the Ozark rivers and photography. He has appreciated the beauty and importance of the Ozarks region since he was very young. He has become more aware of the threats of encroachment and environmental degradation of wilderness areas in the course of his career as a professional facilitator.

Jim is from the St. Louis area and received his law degrees from the University of Missouri and St. Louis University. Jim is currently a conflict management consultant with over 20 years of executive leadership experience, and is the Principal Owner of Clear Bridge Consulting where he provides mediation, facilitation and conflict management services to individuals, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations.

Jim appreciates the opportunity to become more involved in the effort to preserve the unique qualities of the region. His legal knowledge and analysis, conflict management, facilitation, leadership, strategic development, and negotiation skills will continue to enhance Ozark Regional Land Trust as a leader of private land conservation in the future.

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