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Random Acts of Conservation

This spring the Southeast Missourian, a newspaper based in Cape Girardeau, encouraged its readers to practice "random acts of kindness" during a designated week. The paper then reported the experiences of those who provided and benefited from those random acts of kindness. For instance:

  • Staffers from a hospice baked cakes to take to firehouses, police stations and other agencies that help people in times of need.
  • A Brownie troop raised money to buy stuffed animals for a hospital pediatric ward.
  • Five-year-olds at a daycare center made special treats to serve the two-year-olds.
  • A nine-year old girl planted petunias and marigolds at an elderly neighbor's house while the neighbor was in the hospital. "I just wanted her to see flowers when she got home," she explained.

This highly successful experiment in southeast Missouri got me thinking about the random acts of conservation that go on all over the state year round, often without recognition.

In last month's Conservationist, we featured a boy, Garrett Mozley, who constructed a nature trail and wildlife habitat on his family's property, and a group of kids called the Earth Angels who pick up trash, recycle, and plant wildlife habitats in their inner city neighborhood. How many more groups or individuals have built a bluebird trail, left a field unmowed or planted trees along a streambank with conservation in mind?

People conserve the state's fish, forests and wildlife in diverse ways, using many talents and interests. This month, the Conservation Department will honor a woman whose untiring commitment helped make Missouri the nation's premier conservation state.

  • Doris Keefe, known to her friends as "Dink," organized the initiative petition drive that led to the one-eighth of one percent sales tax for conservation. The sales tax, passed in 1976, has enabled the Conservation Department to provide more land for wildlife and public use, acquire stream accesses, build nature centers, develop a strong non-game program and expand conservation opportunities statewide.
  • Dink died last year, but July 18 she will be inducted into the "Conservation Hall of Fame," joining the ranks of 25 others who gave selflessly of their time and talents to benefit Missouri. Among them are:
  • Edgar Denison, author of Missouri Wildflowers, who shared his knowledge of native plants to educate Missourians.
  • Leonard Hall, who wrote about life on "Possum Trot Farm" so a generation of urban readers could learn about the joy and strife of nature's cycles.
  • Gene Poirot, farmer and conservationist, who turned his land into a demonstration farm to show how productive land and abundant wildlife go hand-in-hand with profitable farming.

Other Conservation Hall of Fame members' photos are on display at the Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City. They include Werner Nagel, Marlin Perkins, Jay Morrow, Paul Barnickol, Paul Tulenko, Vernon Bennett, George O. White, Rudolf Bennitt, Charles Schwartz, Dan Saults, Charles Callison, Don Wooldridge, Nan Weber, Timon Primm, Edward D. Jones, Ray Heady, Julian Steyermark, James T. Montgomery, Ruthford Westveld, Roland Hoerr, Ted Scott and George Morris.

The pages of the Conservationist often pay tribute to those who practice random acts of conservation, but we recognize the impossibility of honoring everyone who deserves to be thanked for their contribution. If you practice random acts of conservation, or you know of others, let us hear about it. We'll recognize the unsung heroes on whom the health of our state's fish, forests and wildlife depend.

Send names and a brief description of their activities to:

Random Acts of Conservation

P.O. Box 180

Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

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