News and Almanac

WILDLIFE PROGRAM CELEBRATES 60 YEARS

The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, which is being called America's most successful conservation program, will celebrate its 60th birthday in 1997.

The program, known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, was initiated by sportsmen and conservationists concerned about the nation's rapid decline in wildlife and wildlife habitat.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation, which places an 11 percent excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment and a 10 percent excise tax on handguns.

Since its inception, the program has provided over $3 billion to wildlife restoration projects around the country. Missouri has collected nearly $80 million from the program.

WORKSHOPS FOCUS ON FOREST PRODUCTS

Five workshops in north Missouri and southern Iowa will teach landowners how to reap income from forest products.

Workshop attendees will learn about hundreds of forest products and services that can generate business and income.

The first of these workshops will be Oct. 7 at Hannibal's Ramada Inn. Other workshops follow in 1997 in Kirksville and St. Joseph and in Lamoni and Ft. Madison, Iowa.

For an information and registration packet contact Green Hills RC&D Office, 905 Main, Trenton, 64683, (816) 359-2253.

REPORT COMMENDS ADA COMPLIANCE

A report issued from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service credits the Missouri Conservation Department for its commitment to meeting Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The Conservation Department annually spends over $15 million building or renovating outdoor facilities and consults with an eight-member Disabled Accessible Advisory Council for ways to make facilities more accessible.

CONSERVATION HAS NEW DIRECTOR

Jerry Conley, a native Missourian who directed the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for 16 years, has been named by the Conservation Commission to head the Missouri Conservation Department.

Conley, 54, succeeds Jerry J. Presley, who will retire at the end of the year.

Conley grew up in Cape Girardeau and earned a bachelor's degree in fish and wildlife management and a masters in fisheries management from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

"It will be good to return home to Missouri,"

Conley said. "As a student in grade school, I grew up watching educational films produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation."

Before becoming director of the Idaho Fish and Game Department in 1980, Conley was director of the Kansas Fish and Game Department for three years.

Conley will become the sixth director in the Conservation Department's 59-year history. He will oversee a statewide staff of about 1,750 and an annual budget of $141 million.

WILDLIFE REFUGE WEEK IN OCTOBER

Visit one of the nation's 508 national wildlife refuges between Oct. 5 and 13 in honor of National Wildlife Refuge Week.

Special activities are planned during that week at each of the five national refuges in Missouri, including a special auto tour route at Swan Lake, south of Chillicothe.

In addition, the Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Mound City will conduct an open house, environmental education programs and birdwatching at a celebration Oct. 14 commemorating the refuge system's 93rd anniversary.

Other state refuges include Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge near Annada, Mingo National Wildlife Refuge near Puxico, and the new Big Muddy National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses wetlands along the Missouri River.

Nearly 30 million people visit national refuges annually to observe wildlife, hunt, fish, study the outdoors or just enjoy nature.

For more information about national wildlife refuges in the Midwest, call 612/725-3563.

ROCKWOODS HOSTS DAY IN THE FOREST

Learn about mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and the resources essential to forests during "A Day in the Forest" at Rockwoods Reservation Oct. 20.

Take a guided nature walk or explore trails on your own. See demonstrations about forest products and processes. Native Americans and Smokey Bear also will be on hand.

"A Day in the Forest" runs from 12:30 p.m to 4:30 p.m. at Rockwoods. No reservations are required. For more information about the event, call (314) 458-2236.

PARKS-SOILS TAX TO BE ON BALLOT

The initiative petition to extend the 1/10th of a cent sales tax for state parks and soil erosion control garnered enough signatures to be placed on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

The funds generated by the tax are divided equally between the Soil and Water Conservation Program and State Parks. When last voted on in 1987, the measure passed by a 2:1 margin, the widest margin ever for a statewide issue.

Each October, hundreds of thousands of migrating ducks return to Missouri's wetlands. As many as 20 species regularly pass through the state, bringing enjoyment and recreation to birders and hunters alike. Large flights of mallards, like these at Otter Slough Conservation Area near Dexter, create some of the best waterfowl hunting during late October and early November. - Jim Rather