landowners. The staff of 82 employees provided on-site assistance to 6,330 individual landowners, impacting over 300,000 acres of land. Private land conservationists, urban watershed conservationists and other specialists provided a full range of natural resource conservation assistance. Effective conservation partnerships have also been formed with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Water Districts, Quail Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Audubon-Missouri, Missouri Conservation Foundation, and others.
Initiated the Grow Native! Program to increase the interest and availability of native plants, including native wildflowers, trees, and shrubs. Grow Native! is increasing the number of areas that are appropriately recreated using native grasses and forbs, development of high-visibility native display gardens throughout the state. The program also encourages increased participation of private land agricultural enterprises demonstrating improved agricultural practices resulting in increased wildlife and water quality.
The George O. White State Forest Nursery distributed more than 5.8 million seedlings to nearly 13,600 individual landowners. This was an increase of more than 1 million seedlings from 2000, a 20-percent increase. The tree seedlings were offered for reforestation, wildlife food and cover, riparian corridor restoration, windbreaks and many other uses.
Added nearly 2,000 acres to the Natural Areas system. The Natural Areas system now contains 177 areas totaling 56,000 acres protecting the best examples of Missouri's terrestrial and aquatic natural communities. Missouri natural areas are biological communities or geological sites that preserve and are managed to perpetuate the natural character, diversity and ecological processes of Missouri's native landscapes. They are permanently protected and managed for the purpose of preserving their natural qualities. Highlights include the addition of privately-owned Morris Prairie Natural Area in Sullivan county (47 acres). This area contains dry-mesic and mesic prairie and is the only known location in the state for the rare prairie lily (Lilium philadelphicum). An addition to Danville Glades Natural Area in Montgomery County increased natural area system acreage by 313 acres. Principal features protected here are the state's largest known limestone glades, limestone and sandstone woodlands and the rare prairie dandelion (Microseris cuspidata).
Expanded markets for Conservation On Call Radio Program. "Conservation on Call," the Department's weekly radio program, was broadcast by eight different radio stations in seven different markets.
Posted a Record Spring Turkey Harvest. Including birds taken during the inaugural Youth-Only Season, hunters harvested 57,832 turkeys, an increase of 991 over the 2000 season. It was the third consecutive spring turkey harvest record.