I Am Conservation

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From Missouri Conservationist: Jul 2015

I Am Conservation

Gerald “Shag” Grossnickle poses for a photo near his home in Adair County, an area abundant with wild turkey due to his tireless efforts. At one time, the wild turkey population in Missouri was nearly eliminated, so in the 1960s, the Missouri Department of Conservation began a program to restore the bird in parts of the state.

It was believed wild turkey couldn’t survive in northern Missouri, where forest habitat was sparse, but Grossnickle was one of several strong advocates who convinced the Department to try an experimental restocking. The effort was a success, and many more turkey soon followed. Grossnickle, who celebrated his 100th birthday in June, was named a Master Conservationist in 2005 for his efforts. He has passed down a love of the outdoors and conservation to his three children, seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. While Grossnickle now mostly hunts turkey with a camera, he has remained a lover of the outdoors and can look back on a lifetime of successful and memorable hunting and fishing trips. He likes to point out that the Department’s wild turkey restoration efforts were so successful that Missouri turkey are now given to other states trying to restore their own populations, often in exchange for other species the Department is trying to restore. “I firmly believe that the Conservation Department of Missouri may be the finest in the nation,” said Grossnickle. “I believe all citizens should show their utmost support.”

—photograph by Noppadol Paothong

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
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