A Strategy for Conservation Success
does urbanization gobble up habitat, but the people who live in urban areas have fewer opportunities to experience and understand natural environments.
Conservation for an urban resident often means something radically different from what conservation means to a rancher or a farmer. To better serve the people who live in St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield and other densely populated areas, the Conservation Department intends to step up its urban outreach programs.
The coming years will see an increase in conservation programs at nature centers and at conservation areas near urban centers. You can also expect to see an increase in outdoor education programs that teach women, children and families the kinds of skills, such as hunting, shooting, canoeing and camping, they require to enjoy the outdoors.
The success of the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program proves the need for more skills training programs. All 14 workshops held since 1994 have been filled. In some cases, women who have spent their entire lives in an urban setting were "turned on" to skeet shooting, fly tying and kayaking. In every case, the participants claimed the program opened up a new vistas for them.
Conservation Department youth hunting programs and youth fishing fairs are having the same effect. They give city youths a chance to choose an outdoor lifestyle.
If people have to travel long distances to enjoy outdoor experiences, their interest in the outdoors will likely wane. That's why we need more outdoor resources close to urban areas. Today, for example, nearly 1 million anglers that live in the St. Louis region have only about 1,200 acres of ponds and lakes in which they can fish. The strategic plan calls for increasing the numbers and acreage of public fishing lakes in the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas and constructing new big river and stream accesses so urban anglers can take advantage of these often overlooked resources.
The Department is also deeply concerned about the effect urban sprawl is having on our natural resources. We all want a state in which environmentally sound, planned urban growth is the norm. The Conservation Department will increase its efforts to have more open space included in urban areas in the form of public lands and greenways.
Effective Conservation Partnerships
Partnering with other resource agencies allows the Conservation Department to multiply the benefits of the work we can do on behalf of wildlife and natural communities. Sharing resources and creativity also creates positive