Champions of Conservation Recognized at National Lewis & Clark Conservation Awards
Honorees include Adam Wainwright (invited), St. Louis Cardinals pitcher; Rudi Roeslein, Chairman and CEO of Roeslein Alternative Energy and Roeslein & Associates, Inc.; Barry Orscheln, Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Commissioner and Chairman and CEO of Orscheln Industries; Rick and Lotsie Holton, lifelong conservationists and philanthropists; and Missouri Prairie Foundation, a nonprofit protecting our state’s prairies and habitats.
Jefferson City, Mo. – October 26, 2021 – With its sixth annual National Lewis & Clark Conservation Awards ceremony Thursday, November 4, 2021, the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) will recognize individuals and organizations that lead the charge for the appreciation and conservation of our natural resources in Missouri and beyond. The celebration will take place at The Millbottom in Jefferson City, Mo. at 5:30 p.m.
“We are proud to host this event as a way to recognize national and state conservation leaders and organizations that go above and beyond to support our conservation legacy,” says Stephen L. Mowry, president of the MCHF board. “It is our mission to support the goals and objectives of the Missouri Department of Conservation and this fundraising event enables us to back a wide variety of conservation projects.”
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher, will be honored with the Corps of Discovery National Conservation Award. It is the top award given by MCHF for leadership in conservation at the national level. This award is given to an individual based upon exemplary service, inspiration, and commitment to benefit the conservation cause.
Wainwright is the founder and president of Big League Impact (BLI), a nonprofit that reflects the beliefs of family, friends, and supporters that are citizens of a global community who ought to care for one another. Big League Impact has a long-standing partnership with Water Mission, providing clean, safe water, sanitation and hygiene solutions in developing nations and disaster areas like Haiti. BLI has helped fund clean water solutions for more than 20,000 people in 7 communities.
A two-time World Series champion, three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glover, a Silver Slugger, and the 2020 Roberto Clemente Award winner, Wainwright’s accomplishments on the field are only rivaled by his heart off it. With his leadership and guidance, Big League Impact has grown from a local “Fantasy Football for Charity” concept into a lightning rod for partnerships across countless industries and philanthropic areas, raising over $5.8 million dollars in the process.
In addition to his charitable work, Wainwright loves to hunt and fish. He has been hunting since he was a child and if he can be outside, he’s happy. “After the baseball season is over, there’s no better way for me to unwind than to get in a hunting stand, up in a tree, where I can just watch nature. Even if you don’t see anything all day, which happens sometimes as a hunter, you still get to go out there and just be quite and be still,” says Wainwright.
Rudi Roeslein, Chairman and CEO of Roeslein Alternative Energy and Roeslein & Associates, Inc., will be honored with the Pat Jones/York Spirit of the Wilderness National Conservation Award. This award embodies the exploratory spirit of entrepreneurs and honors an individual who has dedicated their life to the promotion, protection and service of wilderness and natural resources throughout Missouri. The award is in honor of York, a pivotal contributor to the success of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, and in honor of Pat Jones, spouse of Edward “Ted” Jones Jr., for the dynamic role she has played in conservation in Missouri. Jones was the first recipient of the award in 2016 and her name was added to it in 2017.
Roeslein grew up in south St. Louis, after immigrating to the United States from Austria in 1956. He attended Saint Louis University where he jokes that he majored in soccer and minored in Engineering. Before founding Roeslein & Associates in 1990, Rudi started his career at Container Corporation of America, a composite can manufacturing company.
Led by his true passion for wildlife and prairie restoration, Rudi founded Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) in 2012. RAE is an operator and developer of renewable energy production facilities. These facilities convert agricultural and industrial wastes, along with renewable biomass feedstocks to renewable natural gas and sustainable co-products.
RAE has completed a $150 million Renewable Natural Gas project in North Missouri that converts the manure from two million hogs on eight farms into renewable natural gas. Its primary focus is to provide sustainable solutions for livestock production and renewable energy generation. The project has the potential to produce 800,000 MMBtu per year of renewable natural gas and reduce up to 500,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. The Renewable Natural Gas Coalition, American Biogas Council and BBI International have recognized RAE for its contributions to the biogas industry.
Rudi Roeslein was named 2012 Prairie Landowner of the Year by the Missouri Prairie Foundation, 2016 Air Conservationist of the Year by the Conservation Federation of Missouri, a St. Louis Character by the St. Louis Business Journal, and was awarded the Saint Louis University Alumni Merit Award in 2018. Roeslein was awarded a 2019 Energy Vision Leadership Award for his efforts in advancing farsighted policies and projects that address climate change, waste, and pollution.
Barry Orscheln, Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Commissioner and Chairman and CEO of Orscheln Industries, was hand selected by Missouri Governor Mike Parson to receive the Governor’s State of Missouri Conservation Award. This award goes to an individual who reflects the spirit of conservation, shows outstanding leadership, and has positively contributed to conservation principles and programs in Missouri.
Governor Parson selected Barry Orscheln, a Central Methodist College graduate with degrees in Business Administration and Economics, for this award because Orscheln is a devoted Missourian, committed conservationist, and trusted friend.
Orscheln serves as the chair of the Missouri Conservation Commission and has worked tirelessly to preserve Missouri’s diverse wildlife resources and natural heritage. As a businessman, Orscheln worked to support farmers, ranchers, and rural Missourians who are on the frontlines of conservation efforts and are vital stewards of Missouri’s land, water, and natural resources. Orscheln Industries, a privately-owned, third generation business headquartered in Moberly, Mo., employs more than 3,750 people in the U.S., Europe, and India.
As a lifelong hunter, fisher, and lover of the great outdoors, Orscheln works to ensure the next generations of Missourians have access to the same quality wildlife resources that we enjoy today. With Orscheln as a conservation leader, Missourians can be confident in a promised future of healthy plant and animal communities in the state of Missouri. Governor Parson honors him with this award for his commendable efforts, exceptional achievements, and faithful service to Missourians.
In addition to serving conservation, Orscheln also serves as a Director of Citizens Bank & Trust, and Director of Boone Health Systems. Previous board affiliations include: Chairman of the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission, Chairman of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of Moberly Regional Medical Center, and Board Director of U.S. Chamber of Commerce Food and Agriculture Committee, Midwest-US Japan Association, Missouri Hawthorne Foundation, ABC Laboratories, UMB Financial Corporation, Dura Automotive Systems, Inc., Great Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Moberly Area Community College, William Woods University, and University of Missouri Health Care Systems.
“I’m truly honored to receive the Governor’s State of Missouri Conservation Award from Governor Mike Parson and the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation,” says Orscheln. “Serving as a Commissioner on the Missouri Department of Conservation, considered by many to be the finest and most proactive state department of Conservation in the United States, is an experience and privilege that I will never forget.”
The Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF), a nonprofit protecting our state’s prairies and habitats, will be presented with the Sacagawea Community and Partnership Conservation Award. This award goes to an organization focused on exceptional community and partnership building resulting in progressive changes in conservation programs.
The Missouri Prairie Foundation protects and restores prairie and other native grassland communities through acquisition, management, education, and research. They also promote the use of native plants through its Grow Native! program and support the detection and control of invasive plants by administering the Missouri Invasive Plant Council.
Ecologists rank temperate grasslands as the least conserved, most threatened major terrestrial habitat type on earth. Prairie protection efforts in Missouri, therefore, are not only essential to preserving our state’s natural heritage but are also significant to national and even global conservation work. MPF’s land conservation efforts are dedicated exclusively to prairie and other native grasslands. MPF currently owns and manages more than 4,100 acres in 29 tracts of land, and with partners, helps protect thousands of additional acres.
MPF is 55 years old, begun in 1966 by citizens concerned with the rapid disappearance of prairie in Missouri. MPF is governed by a volunteer board of directors, has three staff members and an active fleet of volunteers.
“The Missouri Prairie Foundation is honored to receive the Sacagawea Community and Partnership Conservation Award and to be recognized for our community and partnership building that has led to positive changes in conservation, benefiting all Missourians,” says Carol Davit, Executive Director of MPF. The Missouri Prairie Foundation is itself a diverse community of supporters who are passionate about protecting original, unplowed prairie. We are pleased to in turn partner with many other individuals and groups who share our mission, which helps us all carry out even more lasting conservation work. Our prairie heritage belongs to everyone. We are honored to protect it.”
The Missouri Legacy Conservation Award will be presented to Rick and Lotsie Holton, lifelong conservationists and philanthropists. This award recognizes the Holton’s exemplary leadership, commitment, and service to the conservation cause in Missouri.
Rick Holton was born in Saint Louis, Mo. As a child, he spent time on his grandparents’ farm in St. Clair, MO (near the Meramec River) playing in the clear, artesian fed creeks on the property. This experience sparked his passion for conservation and for creating and maintaining clean rivers.
Rick has dedicated much of his time and business expertise to working with nonprofits. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation and American Rivers in Washington, D.C. Rick is Committee Chair for Ladue Creeks, the founder of Deer Creek Watershed Alliance, a project spanning twenty-one Missouri municipalities, and co-founder of Great Rivers Habitat Alliance.
Over the years, Rick has taken on several personal endeavors in conservation, including a partnership with Ducks Unlimited to create an establishment of perpetual easement at his family farm – Over and Under – which borders the Mississippi river in Saint Charles County. His current projects include cultivating a rain garden in collaboration with the Missouri Botanical Garden. Nationally, he is restoring an entire watershed of the Maple River in Northern Michigan with the Conservation Resource Alliance.
Lotsie Hermann Holton is a native St. Louisan who has followed family tradition of involvement in business, civic and social communities. A seventh-generation descendant of Captain William Clark, she is a world traveler who lends her time, talent, and energy to charitable activities across the globe.
She has held philanthropic positions with the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Science Center, Chanel 9 Television (PBS), and Trailnet, promoting bike trails in St. Louis. Most notably, Lotsie is a conservationist; and because of her environmental preservation activities, joined the Board of Directors of American Rivers in Washington, D.C. and is actively involved with the St. Louis Chapter of the Explorers Club as past President and is a member of the St. Louis Garden Club.
With a heart for adventure and appreciation for nature, Lotsie has hiked the Dolomites, safaried in the Serengeti and Masai Mara, and sailed the South Pacific, West Indies, and Greece. Her climbing expeditions include summitting Mount Kilimanjaro and trekking to Everest Base Camp. She filmed these expeditions and speaks at schools for the specific purpose of exciting youth in the fields of science, exploration and conservation.
In addition to the National Lewis & Clark Conservation Awards, MCHF and MDC will be presenting Conservation Partner Awards to honor partnerships and collaborations in conservation that make a lasting difference. The awardees were announced during the Missouri Conservation Partners Roundtable on Oct. 13 but the awards will be presented at this celebration.
The Conservation Impact Award will be presented to the Atchison County Levee District and The Nature Conservancy for demonstrating a commitment and ongoing positive impact to the health of Missouri’s land, water and forests, and the sustainability of all fish and wildlife.
The Conservation Intersection Award will be presented to Deep Roots KC for best demonstrating a commitment to providing that critical conservation intersection where Missourians have places to go to enjoy nature and understand the value of nature in their lives.
The Conservation Innovation Award will be presented to Schillers Audio Visual for best demonstrating a commitment to innovation, including improving the “business of conservation” through support of customer service, continuous improvement and/or employee development initiatives.
The National Lewis & Clark Conservation Award Celebration will take place at The Millbottom in Jefferson City, Mo. (400 W Main St., Jefferson City, MO 65101). The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. with appetizers and refreshments. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. with the awards presentation following. Tickets are $200 per person or $1,600 for a table of eight and may be purchased by November 1 at mochf.org or by calling 800.227.1488.
This celebration is made possible by the generosity of the following supporters: Rick and Lotsie Holton, Edward Jones, Smithfield Foods, Public House Brewing Company, and St. James Winery.
The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization funded in 1997 to advance conservation and appreciation of Missouri’s natural resources, including fish, forest and wildlife. MCHF works with donors and other conservation partners to financially support the mission and priorities of the Missouri Department of Conservation at the statewide, national and international level. Having raised and invested more than $24 million in conservation programs, MCHF continues to invest in projects like migratory bird program, youth hunting and fishing events, and endangered species habitat protection. MCHF supports the state’s nature centers, as well as hiking and wildlife viewing activities – anything that allows Missourians to enjoy the outdoors in urban or rural areas.