These featured projects illustrate the importance of Foundation support to achieve conservation success. We invite you to check back often to learn about new projects. For a complete list of Foundation-supported projects, visit our Projects Database.
Black Bear Conservation
Your generous donation to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation will support research and education designed to better understand and manage Missouri’s black bears.
Do we have black bears in Missouri? The answer is yes, we have a small but possibly growing population. Black bears appear to be making a comeback in Missouri after being nearly eliminated from the landscape in the last century.
MCHF Works with Donors to Acquire Track Chairs
MCHF is working with donors to acquire several Trackchairs to enhance opportunities for participants in Missouri Department of Conservation (Department) programs and special hunting and fishing events who are dealing with mobility impairment.
MCHF Teams Up with Donors on Volunteer Training Funds
MCHF is happy to announce that the volunteer fund now has over $7,500 available for staff of MDC to use to cover volunteer training and travel statewide to continue to support programs that would not be possible without the volunteers.
Wetlands & Waterfowl Conservation Book
Persons interested in donating to this book project will be supporting wetland management in Missouri.
MCHF Funds New Blinds for Special Hunts near Smithville Lake
MCHF has provided financial support for the purchase of ten enclosed blinds for the Smithville Lake disabled and youth hunts, a project led by Conservation Agent Brian Bartlett. Brian is working with a number of partners, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, Clay County Parks, Safari Club, Boy Scout Troop 397, Cabela’s, Big Bucks Supply Company and the Smithville Kiwanis Club, to host hunts on 4,500 acres of public property near Smithville Lake. The 2013 hunt marked the 24th year for the disabled hunt, and participation by 75 hunters makes this perhaps the largest disabled hunt in the United States. Mobility-impaired hunters are assisted by volunteers in all aspects of the hunt. The addition of two youth-only hunts, a spring turkey hunt and a fall deer hunt, give young, inexperienced hunters an opportunity to participate and learn from volunteer mentors.
The enclosed blinds have become very popular with the hunters, allowing them more protection from the elements. The enhanced protection from the elements and greater comfort allow the hunters to stay afield longer and increase their chances of success.
The 24th annual managed deer hunt was held on the weekend of November 23-24, 2013. A total of 51 hunters participated on Saturday. The blinds were put to good use as hunters battled the bitter cold and harvested 42 deer. Eighteen hunters returned on Sunday to harvest 12 deer. The youth deer hunt was held on December 7-8, 2013. A total of 27 hunters participated over the two-day event, harvesting another 19 deer. Future hunts are planned, and the blinds will be an integral part of the effort.
Bennett Spring Platforms Project Complete
Opening day 2013 of Missouri trout season at Bennett Spring was highlighted with two newly constucted fishing and viewing platforms completed and ready for anglers to enjoy. Since summer of 2011 fundraising efforts and donations from many generous individuals, businesses and organizations across the state provided funding for the projects.
Native Prairie Appreciation Field Trip
In February 2012 the MCHF’s Grants Committee approved a grant to fund a Native Prairie Appreciation Workshop and Field Trip. The sense of apprhension and confusion was palpable as students in Montrose High School, Henry County, Missouri were introduced to the possibility of studying prairies in the spring semester. While most of the senior and sophomore students had a general idea of what lives in a prairie, many were surprised to find out that Montrose, MO used to be in the heart of prairie country. The experience included studying conditions best germination in eleven different prairie plant species provided by the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) seed collection effort. Students learned to identify parts of a germinating seed, to set up and maintain a controlled scientific study and to interpret the data they collected. They discussed the students’ disappointment when some of the species did not germinate after weeks of careful tending and observation. In the classroom, students learned that on the prairie, not every seed produces a seedling.
The seven prairie species that did germinate were transplanted into small containers in preparation for the creation of a prairie garden at the Montrose School. The layout of the plants in the garden was designed by one student who discovered a particular love of native plants. Students from all classes assisted with the establishment of the prairie garden by setting pavers for a walk way and planting almost 200 plants. The garden sits along Highway 52, the main road through Montrose, and will have a student-constructed sign crediting Montrose School, MCHF and MDC.
While the sophomores and seniors studied one component of the prairie plants in the classroom, all students at the Montrose High School (35 in total) spent a day exploring different facets of Taberville Prairie. Our Prairie Day was organized around four workshops led by MDC experts: Prairie Plants, Grassland Birds and Management, Aquatics and Radio Telemetry. One student explained he had driven by Taberville many times, but that it “didn’t look like much.” Other students expressed surprise at the complexity and uniqueness of the prairie ecosystem. Students were also able to see the variety of careers that people with a passion for conservation have at MDC. Students learned about land management practices that promote habitat for prairie-specific species such as the Greater Prairie Chicken and the Black-Nosed Shiner. Radio Telemetry was a big hit as students worked to use the equipment to find hidden radio collars in the vegetation. The students left Taberville with a different way of looking at and experiencing the prairie that, we hope, will last a life time.
Chicago Radio Station Helps Joplin Recovery
Radio station WBEZ in Chicago, a National Public Radio affiliate, recently offered its listeners a chance to help the City of Joplin to replace trees lost to the tragic tornado that struck last May. As part of its annual membership drive, WBEZ provided listeners an option to fund tree planting rather than to receive a beverage mug or tote bag. Over 400 listeners made that choice, raising more than $2,000 for the Joplin Tree Planting Fund within the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. The money will be used by the Missouri Department of Conservation and local volunteers to plant more than 500 trees in Joplin. The project will be coordinated with several other tree planting efforts for the city.
The tree planting idea came from a station staff member with close ties to Joplin. Breeze Richardson, Director ofStrategic Partnerships at WBEZ, traveled to Joplin with her husband, a Joplin native, and two small boys immediately after the tornado to be with extended family. She contacted the Department of Conservation and the Foundation with her idea, wanting to give Chicagoans an opportunity to help with the rebuilding effort before “the spotlight disappeared.”
“My family and I arrived in Joplin just days after the tornado hit. The devastation was incredible to witness firsthand. Immediately my husband and I were thinking about our own networks and what we might do to help. Chicago Public Media (WBEZ-Chicago) had done a tree planting effort once before which was very well received, and I knew as my employer the station was connected in a unique way and would want to help in any way it could. Thanks to my colleague Andrew Arganbright, WBEZ’s Director of Individual Giving, and the willingness of MCHF and Jeff Cantrell in the MDC Joplin office to work with us in this capacity, the Joplin Tree Planting Fund was established. In public media we talk about building community every day, but this effort by my fellow Chicagoans to support the rebuilding of Joplin will stay with me forever. Now I’m looking forward to a trip back to Joplin in the Spring to help Jeff and the Master Naturalists with planting.” The special fund was created at the request of WBEZ.
Turtle Sculpture Honors Nature Center Volunteers
On April 16, 2011, staff at Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City dedicated a bronze sculpture of a three-toed box turtle. The sculpture recognizes the commitment of the center’s volunteers who donate 7,500 hours annually to support conservation education in Jefferson City. Seven hundred people attended the event.
“April is volunteer appreciation month, so what better time to dedicate this wonderful sculpture to our volunteers who are our backbone, our heart and our soul,” stated Kathy Cavender, Nature Center Manager. “Our mission is to connect people to nature. Building strong connections to Missouri’s outdoors is imperative for a high quality of life and wise stewardship of our resources. This sculpture will help us accomplish our mission.”
A grant from the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, and many private donations, funded the sculpture. About half of those donations came from MDC staff and nature center volunteers. Tom Schulte, a nationally recognized artist, donated most of his time and energy to this project. Tom’s art graces private collections, universities and state Capitols. Schulte has personal connections to the nature center; three of his children have served as volunteers there.
Foundation a Partner in the Grand River Grasslands
In 2008, the Foundation contributed $10,000—capstone funding for the $100,000 John McPheeters Challenge to The Nature Conservancy for prairie management and restoration in the 70,000-acre Grand River Grasslands Conservation Opportunity Area.
Ozark Trail Storm Damage Clearing
On May 8, 2009, a severe storm devastated trees along more than 40 miles of the Ozark Trail in Missouri’s Mark Twain National Forest and Ketcherside Mountain Conservation Area. With both straight-line winds and several tornadoes, the windstorm delivered the worst damage from one weather event in the 30-year history of the Ozark Trail, a multi-use hiking, cycling and equestrian trail. Acting quickly to assess the work needed to clear and re-open the trail, the late John Roth, founder of the Ozark Trail Association, (pictured at right) contacted the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation. On a quick turnaround and working with both the Ozark Trail Association and Missouri Department of Conservation, the Foundation supported a June clean-up project on five miles of the Ozark Trail through the Ketcherside Mountain Conservation Area. “Without the support of the Foundation, it would not have been possible to get the Taum Sauk section through Ketcherside Mountain cleared as quickly as it occurred. MDC and Foundation assistance of $3,150 was greatly appreciated by the OTA,” said Steve Coates, OTA president.
Missouri Tropical Bird Account
The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation supports efforts to protect Missouri birds year-round. To that end, donations to this account fund bird habitat protection activities in the region between eastern Mexico and Panama, where 95% of Missouri’s tropical migrant bird species overwinter. The Foundation is a partner of ACA—the Avian Conservation Alliance— which includes seven Missouri Audubon chapters and the Missouri Department of Conservation. Other partners are the American Bird Conservancy, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), individual Central American and Mexican conservationists, and environmental education and conservation organizations like Enchanted Wings Nature Center in Copan Ruinas, Honduras, and Guaruma, a conservation education organization, at the edge of Pico Bonito National Park, Honduras. Current projects focus on habitat protection, restoration and bird monitoring at El Cielo Biosphere Reserve, Mexico, and land acquisition in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula near Cancun. The account also supports staff training, capacity building, education, public outreach, publications and ecotourism in and around critical conservation lands. Donations may be made on-line to the Missouri Tropical Bird Account.
LaBarque Creek Watershed, Jefferson County, Missouri
The Foundation has invested more than $1 million to protect land in the 8,365-acre watershed of LaBarque Creek. This remarkable stream—which supports an astonishing 44 fish species—flows within only one-half hour’s drive from St. Louis.
Kayaks for Conservation
Foundation dollars don’t have to be a lot to make a difference—a 2008 Foundation grant of $2,320 purchased two kayaks to help wildlife law enforcement and education.
Habitat for Humanity Community Rain Gardens, Native Landscaping
A $5,000 Foundation grant in 2008 provided funding for the construction of rain gardens at the Legacy Trails Habitat for Humanity Community in Springfield, Missouri.
Cerulean Warbler and Riparian Habitat
In 2008, the Foundation allocated $55,500 to help The Nature Conservancy and the Missouri Department of Conservation acquire 80 acres containing important riparian habitat in the watershed of the Current River, one of North America’s most biologically diverse streams. Although small in acreage, this key parcel links federal and state protected lands and provides breeding habitat for the cerulean warbler, whose population is declining in parts of its range. Photo courtesy www.billhubick.com