Conservation Hall of Fame inducts legendary wetland biologist

News from the region
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JEFFERSON CITY – Duck hunters and birdwatchers owe a debt of gratitude to the newest member of Missouri’s Conservation Hall of Fame.

The Missouri Conservation Commission inducted the late Charles E. “Ted” Shanks into the hall of fame at a ceremony May 28 at Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City. His children, Suzi, David and Rick, attended the ceremony.

During his 21-year career with the Conservation Department, Shanks served as chief of the Game Division. He studied the giant Canada goose, contributing materially to the restoration of that species in Missouri. His studies of wetland ecology laid the theoretical groundwork for the Show-Me State’s wetland management program, and he was active on the Mississippi Flyway Council for many years.

Concrete evidence of Shanks’ work can be found at 22 state-owned managed waterfowl areas covering more than 80,000 acres in Missouri. He helped develop waterfowl hunting procedures at Missouri’s first public managed wetland, Fountain Grove Conservation Area (CA), and at Duck Creek CA and Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge. He was instrumental in developing Schell-Osage CA. One of Missouri’s earliest waterfowl areas, located on the Mississippi River south of Hannibal, is named for Shanks.

The areas spawned by his pioneering work are havens for migratory waterfowl, shorebirds, eagles and songbirds, not to mention hunters, birdwatchers, trappers, photographers and other nature enthusiasts.

Shanks is the Conservation Hall of Fame’s 33rd inductee. The Conservation Commission created the hall of fame in 1988 to honor deceased citizen conservationists, former employees of the Conservation Department and other conservation-related agencies that have made substantial contributions to fisheries, forestry and wildlife conservation in Missouri. Conservation commissioners and directors are not eligible for the award, since other avenues of recognition are available for them.

Captioned photographs of Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame members are on display at Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City.

Anyone can submit Conservation Hall of Fame nominations. A committee appointed by the Conservation Department director screens nominees. This committee consists of two current department employees, two retired department employees and the president and executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. The committee meets annually and sends recommendations for inductees to the Conservation Commission for approval. The last induction took place in 2007.

For further information or to request Conservation Hall of Fame nomination forms, write to Director, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, or see Related Information below.