I Am Conservation

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From Missouri Conservationist: Feb 2015

Steve Schnarr is program manager and Melanie Cheney is assistant program manager at Missouri River Relief, a nonprofit organization with a mission to connect people to the Missouri River. “We mainly do this through river cleanups, education events, and stewardship activities,” said Cheney. “Our main goal is to introduce people to the river — to physically get them out there on it — and experience it for themselves, while doing something positive for the environment.” Both Schnarr and Cheney got involved with the program by volunteering for cleanups. Their volunteer work turned into full-time jobs with the organization. i am conservation 02 2015“The Missouri River needs more friends and allies,” said Schnarr. “Since 2001, we’ve organized 133 river cleanups, helped other organizations on 75 cleanups, and engaged with 21,005 volunteers to remove 801 tons of junk from the Missouri River banks and floodplains in 26 different communities in seven states.” Both Schnarr and Cheney have spent most of their lives in Missouri and feel a strong connection to the Missouri River. “The Missouri River is the longest river in North America and serves as the drinking water source for more than 40 percent of Missouri citizens, said Schnarr. “When you fall in love with a place, it’s hard not to care for it,” said Cheney. “I think people naturally just gain more of a sense of appreciation and respect for the river after getting to personally experience it, and feel empowered by the physical results of cleaning it up.”

—photograph by Noppadol Paothong

This Issue's Staff

Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer/Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler