MONTROSE, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and Ducks Unlimited (DU) held a 75-year anniversary celebration on Sept. 29 at MDC's Montrose Conservation Area. Attendees also dedicated a major renovation for water-control structures that will keep wetlands healthy. The project was made possible by private donors and cooperation between MDC, DU and other conservation partners.
Both MDC and DU are celebrating 75 years serving people and conservation. The two entities often cooperate on wetland habitat projects.
Private donations play a major role, as does the support for conservation by landowners and citizens interested in plants, forests, fish and wildlife.
“With the help of citizens, the Department of Conservation has been able to restore important habitat on both private and public lands,” said Aaron Jeffries, assistant to MDC Director Bob Ziehmer.
The Montrose Conservation Area has a long history of partnerships serving outdoor enthusiasts. Kansas City Power & Light Company purchased land along Deepwater Creek in the early 1950s for a coal-fired electrical generating plant and built a 1,600-acre lake to provide cooling water. In 1957, KCP&L began leasing land to MDC for public use and the area became a popular hunting and fishing destination.
The Wetland Fun Day anniversary event included demonstrations and educational booths such as wingshooting tips, live snakes and turtles, and information about wetlands and waterfowl hunting. Activities, such as a scavenger hunt, were oriented toward families and youths. About 130 people attended.
“I want to thank you for bringing your kids out here today,” said Jeffries, who noted that his own children were attending. “They are the future of conservation.”
Jeffries presented a certificate of appreciation and congratulations to Missouri DU officials for 75 years of serving the outdoors and wetland conservation. He said the cooperation has included millions of dollars invested in improving Missouri wetlands and protecting important waterfowl breeding habitat in Canada.
Missouri DU State Campaign Chairman George Thomlinson of Sedalia presented a certificate of appreciation to MDC. Thomlinson also recognized the financial contributions made by DU members toward wetland renovations at the Montrose Conservation Area. He noted that 80 youths gave $200 each and are recognized on a plaque as Missouri Ducks Unlimited Legacy Greenwing Members.
“This will have a powerful effect on their views of wetlands for the rest of their lives,” Thomlinson said. “It’s important to them because it’s important to you.”
DU Director for Western Missouri Mark Jackson of Nevada said he was inspired by a member’s observation that wetland conservation boosts far more than waterfowl, many other types of wildlife as well.
“Ducks Unlimited has been a part of wetland conservation for many years, and we plan to continue,” Jackson said. “There are few places in the world that have the heart and passion for conservation that we have in Missouri.”