Letters

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Accessible Mo.

I read with great interest your “Note to Our Readers” in the January Conservationist, titled The Value of Missouri Traditions. The article reminded me of the traditions we have on our farms north of Norborne in Carroll County. The “home place” has been in our family since 1877. We cherish our heritage, the memories we have of family members, and also the anticipation of protecting and preserving our heritage to pass on to future generations.

We have another farm four miles from the home place that belonged to my brother, Gary, who was a polio victim and passed away nine years ago. Although polio took its toll on him with numerous surgeries and hospital stays throughout his life, he was able to persevere with braces and other assisting devices to engage in farming his 160-acre farm. Since his passing we have worked with the Department of Conservation staff on a wildlife restoration project in his memory.

We also have a 13-year-old granddaughter who has, for the past two and a half years, faced the challenges of leukemia. Remembering the challenges faced by my brother and with what our granddaughter has gone through, we decided to develop Gary’s farm into a disabled-accessible project for disabled children and their families. We are building disabled-accessible docks around the ponds and developing camping areas and other appropriate facilities to accommodate others who have unique challenges and want to participate in a variety of outdoor activities.

We have been able to work on this dream with the assistance of numerous conservation specialists. Greg Pritchford, Department of Conservation fisheries specialist, has been very helpful in giving us the appropriate advice and counsel about aquatic life in our ponds in order to maintain an active fishing opportunity for visitors. Mike McClure, biologist, has been helpful in establishing a Ducks Unlimited project and also a wetlands project on our home place. Many individuals with the Conservation Department have been eager to help with our efforts to be good stewards of the land, and I am indebted to each of them for the help we have received.

Since we began, Lee Metcalf, private land conservationist, has been with us every step of the way. He has been a tremendous resource and his level of expertise and knowledge are evident in your Key Quail Habitat 2009 Calendar that he coauthored. This document has provided endless information as we continue to improve upon “the value of Missouri traditions” and share these traditions with others.

We are probably two to three years from completion of our project. This spring and summer my wife, children and grandchildren, and our partners with the Conservation Department, have an aggressive schedule planned to move us closer to completion of this project.

Best regards for continued progressive leadership of the Missouri Department of Conservation, and thanks to all of those associated with the Department for their help and support.

Richard Phillips, Lake Tapawingo

Editors’ note: The Conservation Department is committed to making its programs, services and outdoor resources accessible to everyone. To learn more about disabled-accessible conservation areas and facilities, check out Disabled-Accessible Outdoors online link listed below, or request this free publication by e-mailing pubstaff@mdc.mo.gov or mailing your request for publication HR0062 to Publications, Missouri Department of Conservation, PO Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180.

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