get involved in conservation and have served as models for other states.
Like the 100 sportsmen who came together back in 1935 to define conservation, today’s Federation members are average citizens. Yet, they have the satisfaction of making conservation history.
Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation
Even with the work done by the Conservation Department, the Conservation Federation of Missouri and many other groups, the opportunities to conserve fish, forests and wildlife are never-ending. The resources needed to meet those challenges, however, are not. Conservation takes funding, and funding is always a challenge. That’s where the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation steps in—to help fund many conservation and conservation-related outdoor recreation projects that might not happen otherwise.
“The conservation community in Missouri is well coordinated. This allows the most habitat and species to benefit from their work,” says Rick Thom, executive vice president of the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, “and allows the conservation community to leverage the relatively small amount of funds available to conserve nature in Missouri.”
The Foundation is separate from MDC, but supports its mission. “By working with MDC staff who have identified areas of greatest conservation priority, we fund projects that address immediate conservation and outdoor-recreation needs,” Thom says.
“Missourians are fortunate to have the conservation sales tax to help fund worthy projects and activities,” says Thom, “but sales tax revenues cannot always keep pace with needs. This is why the Foundation was created— to provide an additional stream of revenue for conservation, and to provide donors with an easy way to contribute to conservation projects and initiatives that are important to them.”
One of the Foundation’s first projects was to raise $3.6 million to aid in the construction of the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center in Kansas City. Today, the nature center hosts more than 31,500 students and visitors annually.
The Foundation has partnered with other conservation groups to fund many other projects, as diverse as the outdoors. With the help of several sizeable donations and the Foundation’s Stream Stewardship Trust Fund, the Foundation helped invest more than $2 million to protect land in the 8,365-acre watershed of LaBarque Creek in Jefferson County. This remarkable stream supports an astonishing 44 fish species. In addition, the surrounding area provides outdoor recreation opportunities and wildlife habitat only a short distance from St. Louis.
In another project, the Foundation granted $55,500 to help The Nature Conservancy, the Central Hardwoods Joint Venture and MDC acquire 80 acres of important bird