This week, “graduating senior” gets a new meaning, birders get ready for a mass migration, and we ponder the merits of various pork products.

There’s alway something exciting happening in our fair state. Here’s a roundup of a few of our favorite recent headlines. Spot a story you’d like to share? Send it to newsletter editor Caroline Dohack for possible inclusion in a future issue.

This nonagenarian is a new college grad

Among the seniors donning a cap and gown at the University of Missouri’s commencement exercises last week was Mary Ellen Foley, 91. Foley started her studies 74 years ago, but she put them on hold to raise her family. A few weeks ago her grandson, knowing Foley still dreamed of earning a diploma, reached out to the university to request a transcript review. Academic advisers determined she had enough credits to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in general studies through the College of Arts and Sciences. Read all about it on Mizzou’s website.

Birders, this is your weekend

Grab your binoculars. BirdCast, a real-time migration prediction model, forecasts that more than 100 million birds will make their way across Missouri this weekend. The Kansas City Star has the story — plus a few tips for helping our fine-feathered friends make their way home safely.

A buzzy roadside attraction

Green spaces along Missouri’s highway and interstate corridors could play an important role in replenishing pollinator populations. A study by scientists at St. Louis University and the Green House Venture found that when a section of green space was planted with native prairie plants, the number of bee species multiplied from only two to more than 50 within five years. St. Louis Public Radio has the story.

A different kind of concert residency

University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory student Beth Christensen exchanges regular piano performances for room and board at a nearby senior-living facility. In addition to her musical appearances, Christensen forges relationships with the other residents by joining them for dinner and participating in activities like chair volleyball. Read more at UMKC Today. 

Tina Turner may get her day, but ham sandwiches are left in the cold

The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill calling for the creation of special designations honoring a number of Missouri individuals and institutions. As KZRG reports, these include Tina Turner Day, Kansas City Chiefs Day, and Cedric the Entertainer Day. One suggested celebration not making the cut is Ham Sandwich Day, intended to recognize our ham consumption’s contributions to our state’s GDP.

However, other pork-forward delicacies are getting their due. A recent loveFOOD article listing the best bacon dishes in each state recommends The Combo, a breakfast sandwich made with smoked bacon, a poached egg, aged Cheddar, and a bit of honey on toasted sourdough. You can find it at Songbird in St. Louis.