If you haven’t yet made the trip to Springfield, MO, to visit the non-profit Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium, you need to make plans to go this year. I have been in museums and aquariums all over America and believe me, there is just nothing like what Johnny, with help from our nation’s conservation leaders, has created.
You have probably heard about it on local and national news. Articles about it have been in newspapers and magazines all over the world. I couldn’t begin to tell you all about it in this column so I suggest you go online to wondersofwildlife.org to read all about it, enjoy the pictures and then go.
I have talked to a lot of people that have been there and I hear these same words from every one of them – “It is truly amazing!”
One of my favorite things from the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium is all the quotes about nature and the great outdoors that are on the walls throughout the 350,000 square feet of this incredible place. Knowing Johnny Morris, I am betting he personally picked out every one of them.
Here are just a few:
“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“Our task must be to free ourselves … by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein
“We can no longer rule over the beasts of the earth and seek ‘dominion’ over our environment. We human beings are not privileged beings who are above or separate from the world. We are part of the landscape and everything in it. With this awareness come humility and the gift of harmony. – Black Elk
“The Good Lord provided all the resources for us to enjoy. The outdoors belongs to him. We are only using it for a while. Respect his great gifts and thank him each day for providing them.” – Rev. Willie James Duncombe, “Bonefish Willie,” 1913-86
“This aquarium is dedicated to my mom and dad, who always made time to take me fishing … and to America’s hunters and anglers, our nation’s true conservationists.” – Johnny Morris
A FISH NAMED ETHEL
Ethel Bass was born in 1975 in Lake Fork, Texas, where she spent 11½ years. Ethel was finally caught on Nov. 26, 1986 by Mark Stevenson from Plano, Texas.
She was brought to Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, MO, on May 5, 1987, where she lived to twice her normal life expectancy in the Bass Pro Shops aquarium. Ethel Bass passed away Friday, Aug. 5, 1994, at age 19, due to natural causes.
Before her death, she weighed over 20 pounds, was 32 inches in girth and 28 inches in length. Ethel was known as the largest largemouth bass in captivity.
Over 20 million visitors came to see Ethel during her seven years in the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World retail complex. Replicas of this famous fish are still on display there today.
Ethel was the ambassador of the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Share the Lunker Program, which encouraged anglers to catch and release and changed the world of bass fishing.
Some wonder if the sport of bass fishing would be what it is today if it were not for a fish named Ethel.
NOW THAT’S FUNNY
“You wonder if a fish goes home at night and exaggerates the size of the bait it stole.” – Bob Hope, 1962
INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE FACTS ABOUT INSECTS
• Earthworms have five hearts.
• The longest earthworm ever found was 22 feet long.
• A snail breathes through its foot.
• Ants have five noses. Each one smells a different odor.
• A bee has 5,000 nostrils. It can smell an apple tree two miles away.
• Wasps kill more people in the United States every year than snakes, spiders and scorpions combined.
• The animal responsible for the most human deaths worldwide: the mosquito.
• The mayfly’s eggs take three years to hatch. Lifespan: About 3 hours.
MORE LOONY LAWS
In Cleveland, it is illegal to catch mice without a hunting license.
In Atlanta, it’s illegal to tie a giraffe to a streetlight or telephone pole. Dogs are OK.
In St. Louis, it’s illegal to drink beer from a bucket when you’re sitting at the curb.
Turkeys are known to exhibit over 20 distinct vocalizations, and I bet Ray Eye knows and can imitate every one of them.
Individual turkeys have unique voices. That’s how they recognize each other. However, my calling is so bad they don’t recognize me.
Turkeys are intelligent, but at times they seem rather dumb. Sometimes turkeys must think the same thing about us turkey hunters.
Famous turkey hunter Bobby Whitehead says turkeys can see through thin rocks, and if they can’t see through them, they can see around them.
As Bugs Bunny would say, “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!”