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New name for Discovery Center honors Gorman’s conservation legacy

Anita B. Gorman, who joined the Conservation Commission in 1993 and served two six-year terms on the Conservation Department’s governing body, was honored in June with the renaming of the former Kansas City Discovery Center as the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center.

Mrs. Gorman was the first woman named to the Conservation Commission and served two terms. She chaired the Commission twice during her 12-year tenure.

Current Commission Chairman Lowell Mohler called Mrs. Gorman “the most deserving person to receive such an honor.” He noted her “tremendous ability and passion for taking conservation to the next level, especially urban conservation.” At the same time, he said, her farming background enabled her to understand the needs of rural Missouri.

“Her great smile and warm, genuine personality helped bring together people of different backgrounds on the Commission and around the state,” said Mohler. “Future generations will remember her as the First Lady of Conservation.”

Conservation Department Director John Hoskins said Mrs. Gorman’s vision for the Discovery Center challenged the agency to think of new ways to deliver conservation in an inner-city environment. She was the project’s tireless champion in fund-raising efforts and recruitment of project partners. He said the center that now bears her name surpassed all expectations because of her remarkable talents and dedication.

Hoskins said Mrs. Gorman maintained a statewide perspective despite her strong ties to Kansas City and pushed the Commission to think broadly, to be fair to all its constituencies and to be loyal to its staff.

Anita’s dedication to the long-term welfare of the Conservation Department is so legendary that we liken her to a mother bear protecting her cubs. She fiercely defended the Commission’s authority and its dedicated funding for conservation purposes. Many important projects were completed during her tenure, but her legacy will be the preservation of a national model for conservation.”

Columbia to host trails conference

The second annual Missouri Trail Summit is set for Oct. 27 through 29 at the Stoney Creek Inn, Columbia.

American Trails Executive Director Pam Gluck is the event’s keynote speaker. The summit is a statewide forum to learn about and promote trail development, management and use. Representatives from local, state and federal agencies and organizations will discuss issues with trail advocacy groups, planners and trail users.

Attendees can choose from sessions dealing with suburban/urban trails, woodland/natural surface trails, or universal/specialty trails. The International Mountain Bicycling Association will present a one-day, Trail Care Crew workshop on trail design and construction.

The Conservation Department cosponsors the event. For more information, contact Paula Diller, Missouri Park and Recreation Association, 2018 William St., Jefferson City, MO 65109, (573) 636-3828.

BOW program offered in September

YMCA of the Ozarks/Trout Lodge and Camp Lakewood in Potosi will hold a “Becoming an Outdoors-Woman” (BOW) program Sept. 16 through Sept. 18. BOW is a popular international program designed for women 18 and older who are interested in learning outdoor skills such as fishing, canoeing, rifle marksmanship, deer and turkey hunting, shotgun skills, kayaking, Dutch-oven cooking, wilderness survival, wildflower identification, orienteering, climbing and horsemanship. To receive a registration form, contact Mariah Hughes, (573) 438-2154, ext. 238, mhughes@ymcastlouis.org or Judy Gillam, (573) 438-2154, ext. 114, jgillam@ymcastlouis.org.

Fall RV Show Moves to St. Louis Mills

The St. Louis Fall RV Show is moving to the St. Louis Mills shopping mall in Hazelwood. This year’s event runs Sept. 9 through Sept. 11. Recreational vehicle dealers will display motor homes, travel trailers, fifth-wheel trailers, folding camping trailers, sport trailers, mini-motor homes, van campers and conversion vans. Admission and parking are free. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (314) 355-1236 or visit www.stlrv.com.

COMMISSION APPROVES 2005 DEER REGULATIONS

Missouri deer hunters will fi nd a few changes to this year’s hunting regulations, but season length and most other details are similar to last year. Deer season dates are:

  • Archery, Sept. 15-Nov. 11 and Nov. 23-Jan. 15.
  • Urban counties portion, Oct. 7-10 in selected counties.
  • Youth portion, Oct. 29-30 (a week earlier than last year).
  • November portion, Nov. 12-22.
  • Muzzleloader portion, Nov. 25-Dec. 4.
  • Antlerless portion, Dec. 10-18.

Availability of antlerless deer permits remains the same as last year, and antler restrictions instituted last year remain in effect in the same 29 counties. The Conservation Commission may consider expanding the antler restriction trial to additional counties in 2006.

Antler restrictions will be strictly enforced this year. Conservation agents gave hunters some latitude last year because of the newness of the requirement.

Instead of being required to take deer and turkey to physical check stations, hunters will check deer electronically, either by telephone or with a computer over the Internet. The new rules require hunters to:

  • Write the Telecheck confi rmation number on the main portion of a deer or turkey hunting permit and attach it to the animal.
  • Check deer and turkey by 10 p.m. the day they are taken.
  • Check deer or turkeys before leaving the state.

Details of deer and turkey hunting regulations are available at www.missouriconservation.org/hunt/deer/deertuk/ or in the 2005 Fall Deer and Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet.

3rd Annual MoBCI Conference

The 3rd Annual Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MoBCI) Conference will be Friday evening and Saturday, August 26-27, 2005, at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia. The conference’s theme is “Planning for the Future.” It will include presentations on Missouri’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy and use of land data for conservation planning. The keynote speaker will be Robert Abernethy, director of agency programs, of the National Wild Turkey Federation. The common ground and strength that partnerships provide will be emphasized. The Conference also will feature sessions where 2004 MoBCI Grant project managers summarize the progress of their MoBCI-funded projects and provide opportunities for group discussion. MoBCI is a partnership of more than 30 organizations dedicated to the delivery of bird habitat conservation in Missouri.

State Fair exhibit to focus on landscaping for wildlife

Visitors to the Conservation Department exhibit at the 2005 Missouri State Fair will find a wealth of information about creating wildlife-friendly landscapes. Plantings around the grounds, photographic displays and children’s programs will convey the importance of creating wildife habitat. As always, the Conservation Department’s area at the south end of the fairgrounds will off er aquariums with native fish, turtles and amphibians, plus displays of live snakes. Youngsters can spend time in the hands-on Discovery Room. The room also is a hit with adults who attend naturalist programs there in air-conditioned comfort. A new offering this year is the Operation Game Thief trailer and its displays of trophies and other items confiscated from poachers, along with information about how to stop poaching close to home.

Work now to create winter escape habitat

An hour’s time and a chainsaw are all that’s needed to help quail and other upland game survive through the coming winter. Brushy field edges are great for quail, but tree sprouts soon grow big enough to shade out low, shrubby plants that provide escape cover. Felling a few trees at intervals along fencerows and woodland edges lets sunlight in to spur new growth. Leaving trees where they fall creates instant escape cover.

Connected to Conservation: Field trip grants put kids in touch with nature

The reviews of the Conservation Department’s field trip grant program are in, and they are glowing. Teachers, students and parents across the state say the program is making a positive difference in young Missourians’ quality of learning and quality of life.

Comments from students included: “I will remember this forever because it helps me understand the ecosystem in my backyard! How cool is that?” and, “It will take me all night to tell my mom what I did here today.”

The comments from teachers included: “For many of my urban children, this was the first time they had ever walked on a trail in the woods.“ and, “For our children in the special education department, this was a very special trip. None had ever been to the zoo, and the excitement on their faces was indescribable. This field trip would not have been possible without the assistance of the Missouri Department of Conservation.”

The Conservation Department launched the program during the 2004-2005 school year to help cash-strapped schools provide educational enrichment. In all, schools in 84 counties received $88,776 to help students learn first-hand about how people and nature interact. Eighty-eight percent of the money went to public schools. The remainder helped private and parochial schools get classes to conservation areas and other teaching locations.

Conservation Field Trip Grants are available for the 2005/06 school year. Details will be sent to elementary and secondary school principals in September.

Women anglers make a splash at Maramec Spring

It’s 5 a.m., the sky is beginning to brighten, fog rises from the lake, and a group of women eagerly prepare to make their first casts of the day. They are part of a new organization, called Show-Me Women Fish!, that is helping women all over the state learn the joys of fishing. The nonprofit group promotes networking among women anglers and emphasizes mentorship of novices.

Show-Me Women Fish! seminars offer instruction by experts in all fishing styles in a non-intimidating setting. It also offers at least one major fishing get-together annually where participants explore new fishing areas. Between outings, members can share fishing experiences on the group’s online forum, “Reel Women Fish Tails.”

For more information, contact Sarah Holleran, 300 Florine, St. James, MO 65559, (573) 261-0045, sholleran@showmewomenfish.com.

LEARN MUSKIE FISHING FROM A PRO

Missouri anglers who dream of hooking a big muskellunge should check into an opportunity offered by the Pomme de Terre Chapter of Muskies, Inc. “Guide for a Day” events Sept. 17 and Oct. 15 will initiate neophytes into the thrills of muskie fishing. The price is a $100 donation to Muskies, Inc.

Proceeds will benefit Missouri muskie management. The price includes a guide for the day, boat, fuel, instruction and dinner. The guides are some of the best muskie fishermen in Missouri. For more information, contact Dean Dowdall, (417) 852-4163, oldmusky@positech.net or Carl Marks, (417) 745-2381. Registration is limited to 30 persons per event.

TURNING CHECK STATIONS INTO “CHECK IT OUT!” STATIONS

The advantages of Missouri’s new Telecheck system for checking deer and turkeys are obvious. Making a phone call or going online is more convenient than driving miles to a physical check station, and the system will save taxpayers more than $500,000.

The change does have a downside, however. Hunters will miss seeing one another’s deer and trading stories.

That doesn’t have to happen, though. Hunters will still want to gather. Businesses that find ways to bridge the divide between the past and present can transform check stations into “check-it-out” stations.

Ideas for making this transformation include:

  • Provide a telephone or computer that hunters can use to Telecheck deer and turkeys.
  • Display photos of hunters with their game on a “wall of fame.”
  • Provide scales and rulers to weigh and measure game.
  • Set up a tent or other covered area with picnic tables where hunters can socialize.
  • Work with local news media to promote these services.

AmerenUE settles suit to get new license

Wildlife, farmers and recreationists are the big winners in a lawsuit settlement announced in May. AmerenUE agreed to pay $1.3 million for fish kills at its Osage Hydroelectric Power Plant at Bagnell Dam. The kills affected fish in the Osage River and Lake of the Ozarks.

To ensure it would get a new, 40-year operating license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the privately owned power company also agreed to spend millions of dollars to prevent or offset future wildlife and property damage.

Conservation has new commissioner

Gov. Matt Blunt named a former Conservation Department employee to serve on the Conservation Commission. William F. “Chip” McGeehan, 55, worked summers as a fisheries assistant while earning his bachelor of science degree in fisheries and wildlife management at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Although McGeehan’s career path led him away from the Conservation Department, he remains an avid bowhunter and angler. He also pursues his interest in wildlife management on a 1,000-acre ranch on the James River near Marshfield, where he runs 150 head of bison.

McGeehan, who lives in Marshfield, will be one of four Conservation Commissioners who have authority over the state’s forest, fish and wildlife resources. He replaces Anita B. Gorman, Kansas City, whose term expired. His term runs until June 30, 2011.

“Being chosen for this appointment is a lifelong dream come true,” McGeehan said.

Missourians walk, run for endangered species

Missourians concerned about endangered bats and other animals will gather—rain or shine—in North Jefferson City Oct. 8 to take part in the Conservation Department’s annual Endangered Species Walk/Run.

Race packets will be available starting at 8 a.m. at the North Jefferson City pavilion at the junction of highways 63 and 54. The race kicks off at 9 a.m. Participants may register for a 10K run, a 5K run or a 5K walk on a separate course.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation to fund habitat restoration, research and education projects for endangered animals and plants in Missouri. For more information, visit online.

AGENT NOTEBOOK

While checking anglers at Thomas Hill Lake, I came across a young boy and his father fishing. The child could not have been more than 4 years old. He had just caught his first fish. When I asked to see it, he proudly lifted the stringer from the water to reveal a 6-inch channel catfish.

The boy was so excited he could hardly contain himself. He told me all about the fish he caught and kept going back to look at his catch. His father also was beaming with pride. I bet that was the first of many quality fishing trips they will take together.

When taking children fishing, choose locations where they can run around safely when they need to let off a little steam. It’s also important to choose a place where the fish are pretty likely to bite. When the fishing is slow, children lose interest quickly. Eager, biting bluegill may be too small for the frying pan, but they are a blast for children to catch.

Do not plan on getting very much fishing done yourself. You will be too busy baiting hooks, untangling line, taking pictures and having fun. So what are you waiting for? Grab your fishing pole and take a child fishing.

Chris Decoske, Randolph County

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