Michael Pearce

Deadline nearing for two outdoors-related college scholarships

A pair of $1,000 scholarships from different organizations are hoping to help two Kansas students with outdoors-related career goals.

The Steve Harper Memorial Scholarship is sponsored by the Outdoor Writers of Kansas and Kansas Wildscape. It’s in memory of the longtime photography editor and outdoors writer of The Wichita Eagle, Steve Harper, who died in 2000. As well as clicking on the link, you can e-mail me at mpearce@wichitaeagle.com for more information.

The other is the Outdoors Scholarship of the Emporia Community Foundation. call 620-342-9304.

Both scholarships are for graduating seniors from Kansas high schools wanting to attend a Kansas college, to major in an outdoors-related field, with a goal of an outdoors career in Kansas. Those already attending a Kansas college, with an outdoors-related major and Kansas career plans are also eligible.

Applications are due April 15 for the Steve Harper Scholarship and May 1 for the Emporia Community Foundation scholarship.

More updates

Sure signs that spring has arrived came earlier this week with the first substantial reports or turkey vultures returning from their wintering grounds. Good reports of the birds being sighted came from southeast Kansas to Hays that day. Working afield near El Dorado it was like I was watching the leading edge of the migration line. The first ones appeared overhead at about 10 a.m., and I had them in sight most of the day across Butler and Harvey counties.

A few purple martins have arrived this week, too. That’s a week or so later than normal, according to some local birders who keep martin houses and accurate records. There’s some talk the cold snap down south about three weeks ago may have killed quite a few martins. We’ll see.

I’ve gotten some good fishing reports lately, of both channel cats and walleye. A friend had a good night on the dam at Cheney over the weekend, but he literally fishes most of the dark hours. Two of them caught about 15 walleye, with a pair of males over the 21-inch minimum length limit. He’s expecting the bigger females to move up shallower, soon.

Turkey flocks are breaking up, right on time for the April 1 opener of the youth/disabled turkey season. You can expect to see jakes and two-year-old toms out roaming and hens looking for places to set-up their nesting territories over the next week or so. I saw a flock of about 35 hens with ten big longbeards early Monday morning, but I’m sure they disbanded a bit as the day went along.

Things aren’t looking too promising for good white bass runs up the rivers and streams, from reservoirs, unless we get some serious rains to get the waters flowing. There’s always the spawn on rocky points and rip-rap dams, though.

Upcoming coverage

Friday I’ll probably have a blog up with the results of Thursday’s Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting in Topeka. I’m expecting the biggest news will be the setting of this fall’s deer seasons, though it’s always possible something more newsworthy could occur.

Sunday’s Outdoors page is a bit undecided, with several options. Saturday I’ll be covering the Kansas Archery in the Schools Program state championship shoot at Clearwater. I’m not sure if it’ll be on the Outdoors page on Sunday. If the Shockers are playing basketball on Saturday, and I danged sure hope they are, all of my editors may be too busy for a quick turnaround on the archery article.

The Outdoors page will probably have more details from the commission meeting. It not the archery article, probably a column.

Michael’s World

Another KU basketball season ending in disappointment, kind of. I think they got beat by a better team and coach, at least on that day. On the bright side, my #2 favorite team (WSU)is playing on. I like their chances against Notre Dame, a lot. It would be sweet to see West Virginia take out Kentucky, but that would be quite the upset. It could happen though, since it’s a one game tournament.

It will be interesting to see how KU ends up next season. If they only lose Oubre, and get a couple of good recruits, things should be good to great. K-State’s rebuiliding may take a bit longer, but maybe the three players leaving will be replaced by others as good, or at least those willing to work even harder.

Saturday was a fun up-and-back trip to see Jerrod and his fiance, Carilyn in Overland Park. Kathy and her sister, Barbara, went to the bridal shower in the morning while Jerrod babied a 15-pound smoked prime rib (not a typo) we ate later that afternoon for a belated birthday celebration. It was probably the best prime rib I’ve eaten. Kathy and I got two leftover meals out of it, too.

Lindsey continues to try to give me a heart attack with text photos and phone calls home of her latest adventures. She and her boyfriend, Lance, took a two week tour of seven western national parks, with a motor home. The photos of some of the steep mountainsides and canyons were breath taking. So were the shots that showed our daughter climbing up the sides of the peaks, but it was a different kind of breathtaking.

One day they hiked six miles one way, gaining about 2,500 feet in elevation, carrying all of their rock-climbing gear. At the end of that hike, they scaled a 1.800 rock face then had to do a nine-mile hike back to their campsite. The ordeal took them too about 17 1/2 hours of serious exertion. Nope, not from my side of the family.

The real cardiac moment was when we got a picture of Lindsey atop Ancient Art, a steeple-like rock formation near Moab, Utah. Some may recall it was featured in a Citibank commercial, showing a young woman atop a peak that looks as tall as a twisted Eiffel Tower but no bigger than dinner plate on top. The aerial shots of the commercial sent chills through Kathy, and me, the first time we saw the commercial. We both said there’s no way we could ever imagine doing something like then. Then we said, nearly in unison, “Lindsey would.” Turns out, we were right.

My life’s exciting enough with turkey seasons not far away. I’ll be hunting the birds with my bow this spring. Jake, my 12-year-old hunting buddy, is hoping to get a bird with his bow, too. We’ll basically have until the end of April to enjoy some good hunts. After that we have Jerrod and Carilyn’s wedding and, eventually, a trip to Kauai. This time I’ll be doing some fishing when I’m on the island, but for some surprising freshwater species.

Stay tuned.


Michael Pearce