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Momentum For Conservation Funding Grows

Sen. John Ashcroft has joined a majority in Congress in cosponsoring the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA).

Ashcroft announced his support for CARA (S.2123) following a rally for CARA in Washington, D.C. March 1. In doing so, he joined Sen. Christopher (Kit) Bond, Gov. Mel Carnahan and more than 300 other federal lawmakers in supporting the legislation.

"This is an opportunity to help bring $32 million in new natural resource and environmental stewardship funds to our state," said Ashcroft. "The new bill, which originally was S.25, includes some important private property protections and more than doubles funding for Missouri, from $15 million under the old bill."

CARA would set aside part of existing federal revenues from offshore oil and gas leases for parks, recreation, historical preservation and conservation projects. The money would go directly to state and local governments, including towns, schools and rural communities. "These funds will be used for outdoor classrooms nature areas, habitat conservation, and park revitalization," said Ashcroft. "Providing better opportunities to enjoy the outdoors and act as good stewards of the environment are values I hold dear. I am grateful for the opportunity to help enact important legislation such as the Conservation and Reinvestment Act."

CARA has been endorsed by hundreds of conservation and outdoor recreation groups, city parks departments and businesses nationwide. Supporters in Missouri include the 30,000- member Conservation Federation of Missouri and Bass Pro Shops of Springfield, and many small grassroots organizations and businesses.

The identical House version of CARA (H.R.701) is expected to come to a floor vote by Easter. That bill is cosponsored by Missouri representatives William Clay, Ike Skelton, Pat Danner and Karen McCarthy.

Bennett Spring to Host Fly Fest

Trout aficionados from all over Missouri will converge on Bennett Spring State Park May 6 and 7 for the Fourth Annual Bennett Spring Area Fly Fishing Conclave. The event features speakers, experts in casting, fly tying and rod building, plus exhibits, demonstrations and instruction in every phase of fly fishing. For more information call the Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce at: (417) 588-3256.

License Plate Donations Top $25,000

Look at the license plates of passing cars and you may notice something different these days. More than 1,000 Missourians have applied for special "vanity" plates with nature-related designs.

The plates' colorful deer, bass and bluebird designs advertise the owners' commitment to conservation. Twenty-five dollars from the sale of each license plate set goes to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization created to support conservation work in the Show-Me State.

Ted W. Gregory of Wentzville was the 1,000th license plate applicant. He says he likes the idea of having a white-tailed deer on his plates and supporting a conservation program that provides a wealth of outdoor recreation on public land.

"I'm really an outdoorsman," says Gregory, 38. "I hunt birds, and I like to fish for bass and bluegill and catfish in small lakes and ponds. Sometimes I take my Brittany spaniel out to explore new conservation areas. I like what the Conservation Department has accomplished and know the money I spend on conservation license plates will be put to good use."

Director Jerry Conley recently received his Conservation Heritage license plates. While Conley opted for a large mouth bass on his plates, his wife, Janet, chose a bluebird for her vehicle. For just $25 each, they are supporting conservation efforts throughout Missouri. For more information about the plates, contact the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, P.O. Box 366, Jefferson City, MO 65109. Phone (573) 634-2080.

Have Fun in the Sun, but Protect Yourself!

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 20,000 Missourians will learn they have skin cancer this year. The Missouri Department of Health reminds Missourians to protect their skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause skin cancer.

Even a few severe sunburns increase a person's chances of developing malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Unprotected skin can be damaged in as little as 15 minutes. You need protection even on overcast days, because clouds do not block UV rays. Be especially careful around water, which reflects UV rays, increasing exposure.

Any change in skin color, whether sunburn or suntan indicates damage from UV rays. Skin that merely looks pink may have already been harmed.

While most people say they are aware of the dangers of UV exposure, only about one-third take protective measures. If you are not among that one-third, the Health Department urges you to:

  • Seek SHADE. UV rays are strongest at midday. Get under a tree, a beach umbrella, a tent or some other cover.
  • COVER UP with shirts, pants or towels to reduce exposed skin.
  • Get a HAT. A wide brim is best to shade all parts of the face, head, and neck.
  • Wear SUNGLASSES--the kind that block both UV-A and UV-B rays--to prevent cataracts.
  • Use SUN SCREEN (SPF 15 or higher).

For more information about skin cancer prevention or to schedule a presentation on skin cancer for a group or organization, contact the Missouri Department of Health toll-free at (800) 316-0935. Or check out Centers for Disease Control's Internet website www.cdc.gov/ChooseYourCover.

Earth Moves for Groundbreaking Nature Center

Kansas City's $7.5 million Discovery Center moved one step closer to reality March 11 with groundbreaking ceremonies attended by Gov. Mel Carnahan, Conservation Commissioner Anita Gorman, Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, Conservation Department Director Jerry Conley and many other dignitaries. The Conservation Department pledged $4 million for the facility, which will be a hybrid between an urban park and a wild conservation area, located east of the Country Club Plaza. Plans call for the Discovery Center to open in 2001.

Conservation Federation Recognizes Archery Legends

The husband and wife team of Earl and Ann Hoyt, St. Louis, recently received a special honor from the Conservation Federation of Missouri.

The federation presented a special recognition award to the couple at the annual Missouri Deer Classic in Columbia March 4. The award --a sculpture of a bighorn sheep--recognizes two astonishing careers in archery.

Earl Hoyt, an engineer by trade, developed many designs that improved the accuracy and efficiency of archery equipment. He designed the Pro Medalist line of bows that have won more Olympic titles and World National Championships than any other.

Ann Weber Hoyt was an accomplished archer before meeting her husband. She managed the U.S. Army Archery Team and served as coach and manager for the U.S. Olympic Archery Team. Each of the Hoyts have won dozens of state, national and international titles for their archery prowess. Both are members of the National Archery Hall of Fame and have earned the National Archery Association's Maurice Thompson Medal of Honor for distinguished service to archery.

"No two people in the sport are held in such high esteem," said CFM Executive Director Denny Ballard, who presented the Hoyts' latest award, "and no one deserves our highest recognition more than Ann and Earl Hoyt."

Stand Up and Be Counted--for Conservation

Conservationists count trees, largemouth bass and white-tailed deer. Without such data, it would be impossible to make wise decisions about forest, fish and wildlife management. Similarly, the federal government counts people every 10 years to provide a statistical basis for government decisions. The U.S. Bureau of Census is conducting the decennial census this year. Cooperating with census takers is one way to ensure good government.

Centennial Forests: Roosevelt's Tree Army (1930s)

They were called Roosevelt's Tree Army--thousands of young men pulled from the depths of the Depression by the largest back-to-work program in our country's history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt organized the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) less than a month after he took office in 1933. FDR wanted to bring together two wasted resources, young men and the land, in an effort to save both.

The CCC provided much-needed employment to young men between the ages of 18 and 25. The program was conducted much like the Army. The men could serve up to two years working on conservation projects. They planted more than three billion trees and controlled soil erosion on millions of acres between 1933 and 1942, paving the way for the development of many state and national parks.

The CCC was organized into camps, each with 200 to 250 men. Staff at each camp included a commander who was an Army officer, a second in command, a doctor and a civilian educational advisor. Pay for enrollees was $30 a month, of which $25 was sent home to their families. The government furnished room, board, clothing and tools.

An average of 41 camps operated in Missouri. More than 100,000 young men worked on state and national forests and state parks and with the Soil Conservation Service. In Missouri alone they built 111 fire lookout towers, planted 48 million trees, conducted forest stand improvement on 131,000 acres and accumulated 95,000 days fighting forest fires. In addition, they built state park lodges and cabins, wildlife habitat, ponds and roads. Work done by the CCC started Missouri's resources on the road to recovery.

For more information about the CCC, contact the National Association of Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni, P.O. Box 16429, St. Louis 63125, (314) 487-8666, or visit their web site. The NACCCA operates offices and a free museum at 16 Hancock in Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.

-- By Bruce Palmer

Hunter Ed Instructors Join Hall of Fame

Two volunteer hunter education instructors have earned places in the Missouri Hunter Education Hall of Fame.

Louis Diebold III, Clinton, and Wayne Martin, Kirksville, were inducted into the hall of fame at the Missouri Hunter Education Instructors Association's annual meeting in February. Diebold is a protection regional programs supervisor for the Conservation Department in Clinton, and Martin is a retired Conservation Department outdoor skills specialist.

Twenty-three of Diebold's 37 years with the Conservation Department have been spent in hunter education. He began work for the Department as a conservation agent in Cass County, and was among the first hunter education specialists hired in 1977. He was instrumental in developing hunter education materials still used in Missouri and has been active in promoting shooting sports and in agent training.

Martin worked for the Conservation Department from 1963 to 1985, beginning as an education consultant in southeast Missouri. He developed the first hunter education course outline and updated the curriculum in 1975 and 1976.

In their careers, Diebold and Martin trained countless hunter education instructors who went on to teach hundreds of thousands of Missourians to be safe, ethical hunters. One result of their work has been a drastic reduction in the frequency of hunting accidents.

May's the Month for Angling Novices at Busch CA

August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles County has two family-oriented fishing events coming up. The Busch Area will host Kid's Fishing Day for youngsters 15 and under from 7 a.m. until noon May 20. Participants must register at the information tent on the Lake 2 parking lot. Volunteers will help beginners get started and will demonstrate how to fillet fish. Participants will receive free goodie bags with fishing supplies, and they will get to sample fried fish. A limited supply of fishing poles will be available to borrow on a first-come, first-served basis.

From 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. June 10 visitors to the Busch Area will be able to learn how to fish and how to enter and leave a boat safely during the Family Fishing Fair. They also will learn what lives underwater besides fish. Kids can try casting with a rod and reel, and everyone will have an opportunity to learn to identify fish, tie a fly, bait hooks, clean and cook fish or release fish unharmed.

For more information about either of these events, call (636) 441-4554.

Habitat Hints: Mailbox Habitat Delivers

Restoring wildlife habitat to streets and highways seems like a daunting challenge, unless you take it one mailbox at a time. Mailboxes are terrific locations for habitat/beautification projects. All it takes to dress up an otherwise sterile mailbox post is mounting a birdhouse or feeder opposite the box and planting a few hardy native flowers and a clump or two of decorative grass. Add a dish of water on the ground or a raised bird bath and voila! You have a miniature wildlife oasis for birds and butterflies. Imagine the positive environmental impact if every roadside mailbox was similarly equipped.

Coreopsis, phlox, rose verbena, Missouri evening primrose, butterfly weed, blazing star, Missouri black-eyed Susan, native asters and pale purple coneflowers are among native flowers available to dress up mailboxes. Native grasses like Indian grass, little bluestem and prairie dropseed complete the effect, and their persistent vegetation will keep mailboxes looking attractive all year long.

For information about native plant nurseries in your area, contact the Conservation Federation of Missouri's "Bring Nature Home" program at 728 W. Main St., Jefferson City, MO 65101.

SFI=TLC for Missouri forests

The Conservation Department has added its forest holdings to a pool of more than 56 million acres enrolled in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Program (SFI). If other major Show-Me State forest landowners follow the Department's lead, environment-conscious consumers could find it easier to buy wood products produced with sustainable forestry practices.

The SFI Program is a voluntary program devised by the American Forest and Paper Association to encourage its members to use forest management techniques that minimize soil erosion, protect streams and maintain biological diversity.

Missouri forest product suppliers already receive requests for wood products from sustainably managed lands. But with little acreage enrolled in SFI, suppliers can't guarantee that their goods are all from sustainably managed land. By enrolling its 534,000 timbered acres in SFI, the Conservation Department has created a large, sustainably managed supply base. The existence of a supplier for "green" products will encourage other large forest landowners to join SFI to be competitive. SFI policy goals include:

  • Increasing forest growth, quality and productivity.
  • Promoting ecosystem management on public lands.
  • Reducing wildfire. Promoting integrated pest management.
  • Protecting private landowners' ability to manage their forest sustainably.
  • Reforesting harvested areas promptly.
  • Minimizing the visual impact of timber harvests.
  • Protecting sites of special ecological, geological and historic interest.
  • Protecting water quality and wildlife habitat values.
  • SFI participants agree to let independent inspectors check their compliance with program standards. Failure to meet those standards can result in expulsion.

To learn more about SFI, contact Forestry Field Programs Supervisor Lynn Barnickol, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180. Phone (573) 751-4115, ext. 114, . E-mail: Lynn.Barnickol@mdc.mo.gov.

Bronzebacks and Bushytails are Legal May 27

Hunters who are itching to get back into the woods and anglers who relish frying up a mess of smallmouth bass should mark May 27 on their calendars. That's opening day for squirrel season statewide and for keeping black bass on streams in most of southern Missouri.

The daily limit for squirrels is six fox and gray squirrels in the aggregate, and the possession limit is 12. The daily limit on black bass is six smallmouth, largemouth or spotted bass in the aggregate in most waters. However, some lakes and streams have special length or creel limits. For information about the waters you plan to fish, check the 2000 fishing regulations summary, available wherever fishing permits are sold.

Pesky Pigs are Fair Game on Conservation Areas

More feral hogs have been sighted on public lands. A half-dozen hogs have been sighted at Smokey Waters Conservation Area (CA) in Cole County. The Conservation Department has evidence that the wild pigs also are living on public lands surrounding Stockton Lake, Schell-Osage CA, Niawatha Prairie CA, Providence Prairie CA and White Ranch CA. Some of the hogs may have escaped confinement; others probably were released by people to create a population for hunting.

Pigs gone native can carry diseases that affect domestic stock and people. Foraging wild hogs damage crops and natural habitats and devastate ground-nesting wildlife. Wild hogs are even known to attack humans. People who encounter wild hogs are encouraged to kill them.

Bass Tourney is a Dream Come True

Compete in the Lost Creek Bass Club's Eighth Annual Take a Kid Fishing Tournament May 13 at Table Rock Lake and you could win $1,000 or a brand new boat and motor. Just as important, you're guaranteed to help the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which makes terminally ill children's wishes come true.

Teams in the tournament must include a youth in grade K through 12 and one person over age 18. Each youngster who competes will receive a prize. For details, call (800) 833-5551, (417) 887-1640, 767-4131 or 546-2808.

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