Bootstrap Conservation

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1997

Last revision: Oct. 26, 2010

like in the future," says Kezer. "It has features that may seem unusual now, but soon will be commonplace practices, environmental strategies that will be part of everyday life."

In addition to showcasing technological features, the house also advocates common-sense, simple resource saving measures, such as composting and kitchens equipped with handy containers for recyclables. And to help visitors explore ways to take home some of what they learn at Earthways, the house contains a resource library full of books and newsletters about solar power, native yard plantings and catalogs of recycled materials.

The Earthways Home is a practical, hands-on place for urban dwellers to learn how natural resource conservation can be meaningfully incorporated into city life. A small paid staff and volunteers work to link together environmental groups, St. Louis businesses, schools, media and cultural organizations in common support of their educational mission. This has been the key to Earthways community success.

In Missouri, there are countless outdoor conservation education places. They range from the simplicity of an area such as the Oxbow - equipped with a few rows of benches - to the technological showcase of the Earthways Home. They help educate adults and children and provide a community focal point for conservation-minded people. The end result, no matter what the size or scope of the facility, is a better place to live.

Teaming with Wildlife

by Kathy Love

A new national initiative could provide financial assistance to towns like Salem and Bethel, who want to do more for wildlife-related conservation, recreation and education.

The initiative, called Teaming with Wildlife, is based on the successful federal programs which funnel proceeds from a small excise tax on hunting and fishing equipment to states for habitat development, fish and wildlife restoration.

Teaming with Wildlife would provide about $7.5 million to Missouri, of which half would be made available to communities and local organizations through cooperative projects and matching grants. Funding would come from a one-fourth to five percent excise tax on the manufacturer's cost of certain outdoor recreation equipment, wildlife guidebooks, backyard wildlife products and other items associated with enjoyment of non-game wildlife.

Teaming with Wildlife would cost consumers only $6 to $10 per year, but would make more than $350 million available nationally to help non-game species and the people who enjoy them. The small tax (for instance, 30 cents for a $10 field guide, or $2.50 on a $100 tent) is a "value added" economic incentive, providing communities with start-up funds to promote local nature tourism opportunities.

In Missouri alone, the economic activity associated with non-game recreation amounts to $258 million in actual dollars spent, plus $400 million in related business activity, and 10,000 jobs.

Fifty-five Missouri groups, including businesses, agencies and associations, support Teaming with Wildlife. Johnny Morris, president of Bass Pro Shops, was one of the first recreation industry executives to endorse it. "The future really depends more on how we manage our resources than absolutely anything else," Morris said.

"Our customers tell us loud and clear every day that they are eager to support fees, taxes, permits, whatever, if it can be demonstrated that these fees will be used cost-effectively and are going to a specific purpose that creates additional positive benefits. We decided to lend support to Teaming with Wildlife because we really felt it was absolutely the right thing to do."

For more information about Teaming with Wildlife, contact Cheryl Riley, Conservation Federation of Missouri, 728 West Main Street, Jefferson City 65101-1534; phone (573) 634-2322.

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