I Am Conservation

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From Missouri Conservationist: Dec 2015

David and Melissa Sanford acquired Brush Creek Farm in 2009, and they have worked the past five years converting the land from overgrown fields of rank fescue, sericea lespedeza, and cedars to fields of abundant wildflowers, native warm-season grasses, and a 10-acre restored prairie. “We wanted a place to train our English springer field spaniels, to enjoy nature, and to learn about native plants,” said Melissa Sanford. “We moved from a golf course community in Springfield and had no idea how to run a farm. We soon learned that land needs care and commitment.” The couple contacted the Department’s Private Land Services staff for assistance. The Department helped them develop a plan and assisted with restoring over 80 acres to native grasses and forbs. “It takes at least three years to reestablish warm-season grasses,” said Melissa Sanford, “The first few years we had drought and lost them all. But we replanted, and now we have beautiful big bluestem, Indian grass, switch grass, and others. This year, some of it was 9 feet tall.” The couple said they hope the land will serve as a legacy to their family and to fellow spaniel enthusiasts. “Upland bird hunting is a passion for many, and passing this on to our son and our grandchildren is so important to us both,” said Melissa Sanford. “We are expecting our first grandchild in February, and he will be raised knowing the importance of upland bird hunting.”

I am Conservation 12-2015
—photograph by Noppadol Paothong

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler