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Conservation Comes to the City

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Published on: Apr. 2, 1997

with the St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Zoo, the Missouri Botanical Garden, World Bird Sanctuary, Soulard Youth Education Program, Henry Shaw Corridor and others.

The Conservation Department has acquired over 39,000 acres within 50 miles of St. Louis since 1977, offering a variety of opportunities for St. Louis residents to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors.

Capital improvements in the last 5 years total nearly $7 million and include the Forest 44 shooting range, the North Riverfront Trail improvement and boat ramp, Powder Valley Nature Center and Horse Shoe Lake. There is also the Outdoor Lab Program, which conveys conservation principles for use by school groups on Conservation Department areas.

Project Communitree, as part of Forest ReLeaf of Greater St. Louis, is organized to increase the tree population in the St. Louis area.

Established in 1993, Forest ReLeaf is a non-profit organization that promotes public reforestation efforts by working with cities, schools, churches, neighborhoods, communities, civic organizations and individuals in conducting public tree planting projects.

The Conservation Department has been involved with urban fishing programs in the St. Louis area for 27 years. The Conservation Department presently stocks 22 lakes in St. Louis City and County with carp, bullhead and channel catfish from April through October. Seven lakes are stocked with rainbow trout during the winter months. Fishing clinics are conducted primarily for youngsters, persons with disabilities and older adults. Approximately 3,300 people participated in over 150 fishing clinics last year.

Through the Community Assistance Program (CAP) agreements with both St. Louis City and County, the Conservation Department contributes to public fishing opportunities. The CAP package for St. Louis City totals $1.3 million and for St. Louis County, $614,000.

Over 155 STREAM TEAMS exist in the greater St. Louis area and are comprised of citizen volunteers who help the Conservation Department with river conservation efforts.

Earth Angels is a program of the Guardian Angel Settlement Association and is sponsored by the Conservation Department. This partnership creates conservation-oriented youth clubs in St. Louis. The clubs organize games, activities, recycling and trash pick-up efforts, field trips, guest speakers and projects for 150 inner city children in the St. Louis area. They learn about Missouri habitats and wildlife and forest management principles. The children have won at least 75 civic and environmental awards for their work.

The Conservation Department also offers young people, ages 11 to 15, the opportunity to hunt deer at the Weldon Spring Conservation Area, providing parent/sponsor supervision, hunter education training and equipment.

Kansas City

Kansas City area partnerships include a $2 million grant to the Kansas City Zoo toward construction of an educational pavilion, $1 million in a matching grant for construction of Lakeside Nature Center located in Swope Park, a $275,000 grant for expansion of the Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary, a $500,000 grant for Earthworks experiential learning program called The Learning Exchange, and a $1 million grant toward construction of a $6 million Education and Visitor Center at Powell Gardens near Kingsville.

Conservation Department monies go toward a variety of other programs similar to those found in St. Louis, such as the Urban Fishing Program and Community Assistance Programs.

Conservation Department facilities in the Kansas City area include the Burr Oaks Woods Conservation Nature Center, offering educational programs, exhibits and hiking trails to about 100,000 people a year, the Lake City Range in the Blue Springs area, which serves more than 23,000 recreational shooters and hunter education students annually, the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area, which is a 2,600-acre conservation area providing hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor recreation activities (total of 1-day trips to the area annually were estimated at 127,500), and the Kansas City Metro Office, which responds to 27,000 callers and 9,500 walk-in visitors annually.

The Conservation Department has spent nearly $10 million in the Kansas City area for construction and development projects from 1980 to 1994. Capital improvements budgeted for the Kansas City area in 1996 were projected at over $8 million. Significant projects include the Cooley Lake Access, which will provide Missourians with a Missouri River boat launching facility, Happy Holler Conservation Area, which is a 77-acre public fishing lake, Platte County Hunter Education Shooting Range and the Platte Falls Conservation Area providing access to the Platte River.

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