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Children participate in Explorer Days

Jacob Ripley and Peter Hinshaw are two children who participated in Explorer Days, a three-day program held by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park on Wednesday. On Wednesday, their first day, the children were taken to an open prairie near the Gans Creek trailhead, where they explored and searched for bugs and other insects to capture and analyze. They were given nets to make the catching easier, but some improvised. "I had a net, but gave it away," Coulton Doyle said. "It's more fun to catch them with your hands."

Children catch bugs at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Grasshoppers, dragonflies and Japanese beetles are among the insects captured by a group of children, ages 9 to 11, during an outing at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park on Wednesday. The hunt was part of Explorer Days, a three-day event overseen by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Roxie Campbell, a park naturalist at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, has led this event each summer for the past 18 years, and said she does so because she sees a need to bring children out into nature. "They need to realize that prairie animals will die if there is no prairie," she said.

Missouri DNR program allows children to enjoy wildlife

From left, Nick Litteken, Keaton Locket and William Samuels analyze an insect that was captured in a prairie at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park on Wednesday. The group of children was split into two groups, and each group spent time hunting and collecting insects before releasing their catch back into the wild.

Children enjoy Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Coulton Doyle and Bradley Snyder walk through an open prairie at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park while hunting for insects on Wednesday. The diversity of life within the prairie made for a variety of catches, but the larger insects sometimes proved more difficult to snare than their smaller friends. "Everybody catches the butterflies," Snyder said. "But everybody tries to catch the dragonflies."

Abducted girl welcomed home

A welcome home sign adorns the lawn outside 4-year-old Alisa Maier's home in Louisiana, Mo., on Wednesday. Maier was abducted Monday night from the yard of her home and found safe 70 miles away more than 24 hours later.

Looking up at tepee poles

Seven tipi poles point skyward in the yard of Sydney Pursel and Justin Rodier.

Holding the tepee up

Sydney Pursel holds together two ends of a tepee cover that she stitched together on Monday. Pursel is part of the Ioway tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and draws from Native American traditions in her artwork.

Putting up the tepee poles

Sydney Pursel directs Justin Rodier as he puts up poles for a tepee in their yard. Rodier said the tepee's frame is simply metal poles tied together with nylon rope and duct tape.

Downtown safety officers meet

Officer Allen Mitchell (from left), Sgt. Chris Kelley and Officer Eric Hughes speak with the Quenton's Bar & Deli doorman around 12:20 a.m. on June 19. Kelley, head of the downtown police force, is using research by a Wisconsin police department to study how drinking habits affect crime rates.

Preparing to set up the tepee

Justin Rodier and Sydney Pursel set up a tepee in their yard on Monday. The couple, both art majors at MU, will be using the tepee as a portable art gallery during their month-long road trip across the western United States starting Tuesday.

Setting Up the Tepee

Justin Rodier, right, puts up a custom tepee cover made by Sydney Pursel, left, over a frame in front of their house on Monday. Pursel spent a large part of the Fourth of July sewing the cover from a roll of nylon and velcro fasteners.

Thumbing through Constitutional Amendments

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Francis Vangeli thumbs through an earmarked book containing details of the Constitutional Amendments on July 2, 2010 at his home.

Francis Vangeli running as a Democrat

Columbia resident Francis Vangeli is running as a Democratic candidate in the August 3 primary election for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Missouri Sen. Kit Bond in late 2010. Vangeli faces competition from Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and Richard Charles Tolbert from Kansas City.

Alisa Maier

This photo provided from the Missouri State Highway Patrol shows 4-year-old eastern Missouri girl Alisa Maier, who was playing with her brother on July 5, 2010, when a car pulled up and took her away.

Marquez L. Lawhorn

The FBI Task Force located and arrested Marquez L. Lawhorn for first-degree assault on July 6. Bond is set at $250,000. Investigators from the Columbia Police Department interviewed Lawhorn in Kansas City, Kan.

Adult scarab beetle

The adult scarab bettle, popillia japonica, is commonly known as the Japanese Beetle as photographed at the Schulenberg Prairie restoration at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill.

Gregory Morton

Gregory Morton examines a photograph during his testimony in the first-degree murder trial of Tausha Fields on June 23 at the Boone County Courthouse. Morton, Fields' ex-husband, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2009 in the death of Fields' prior husband, Mitchell Kemp.

Skateboarder Deron Rehma from St. Louis goes low

Skateboarder Deron Rehma from St. Louis crouches down to steer his board along a sidewalk Sunday at MU. Rehma has been skating with his friend Jason Zoellers of Columbia for about two and half years.

Skateboarder Jason Zoellers adjusts his wheels

Jason Zoellers checks his wheels on a skateboarding outing Sunday at MU.

Pilots N Paws

Laura Holloway, left, and Julie Adams of the SEMO Animal Rescue Alliance in Lilbourn help Don Rieser of Antioch, Ill., load puppies bound for new homes on June 28 at the Sikeston Memorial Airport in Sikeston.
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