St. Joseph outdoor writer to be inducted into Conservation Hall of Fame

News from the region
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St. Joseph, Mo. – William “Bill” Bennett, a longtime outdoor editor for the St. Joseph News-Press newspaper, will be inducted into the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame. Bennett, who died in 1999, championed conservation and the outdoors.

The ceremony honoring him will be at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 7, at the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Northwest Regional Office, 701 James McCarthy Drive. The office is on the campus of Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

“Bill really brought conservation to the people,” said MDC Deputy Director Tim Ripperger. “He would cover major national or statewide conservation stories, and then he would write about local issues. He made conservation real for people.”

The Missouri Conservation Commission established the Hall of Fame to honor individuals who during their lifetimes made significant contributions to conservation.

Bennett loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing. As a journalist, he was a fine writer and photographer, and he also produced an outdoors television show for a time.

“Bill was a wonderful guy and a consummate professional,” said Ripperger, who worked in St. Joseph for many years as a supervisor for conservation agents in northwest Missouri. “He always made the extra trip or phone call to do his research and get the story right.”

Joel Vance, a noted outdoor writer and former MDC news services coordinator, spent hours afield with Bennett.

“Bill was the ideal outdoor writer in my opinion,” Vance said. “He had a deep appreciation for conservation and for the department, but he never hesitated to criticize us when he thought we needed it.”