Stockton Lake Outdoor Skills Campout
- Group featured: Missouri Department of Conservation in cooperation with the Joplin Association of the Blind and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
- Group mission: To provide conservation programs to a group that represents diversity, and create opportunities for families to learn about the outdoors.
- Group location: Missouri Department of Conservation Southwest Regional Office in Springfield.
“If you want to learn an outdoor skill, we’ll make it happen,” could be the motto of the Department of Conservation’s Southwest Regional staff. Using ingenuity and hard work, they created the Stockton Lake Outdoor Skills Campout, a workshop to introduce visually impaired youngsters to outdoor recreational activities.
The overnight outing included lessons in archery, fishing, pellet gun shooting and Dutch oven cooking. Agent Randy Doman, who helped conduct the event, said it just takes a few adjustments in your training techniques and equipment to make outdoor skills training easy and fun for a person with a disability.
“We did simple things, like using balloons as targets during the archery lesson,” said Doman. “The kids knew they hit the mark when a balloon popped. Folks with special needs shouldn’t avoid outdoor recreation. Contact us. We’ll create a program that works.”
Rural fire department grants aid Missouri communities.
Volunteer Fire Assistance grants are helping to improve fire protection services in rural Missouri. Grants of $500 to $3,000 in matching funds from the Department of Conservation and the U.S. Forest Service help fire departments purchase firefighting and personal protective equipment. VFA grants are available to fire departments in communities with populations of 10,000 or less. For more information on VFA grant eligibility requirements or to obtain a grant application, fire chiefs should call (573) 468-3335, ext. 225, by Dec. 31.
Managing grasslands for money and the environment.
Farmers, conservationists and others interested in protecting the nation’s grasslands should sign up now for the Heart of America & Mid Missouri Grazing Conference Jan. 7–8 at the Holiday Inn Select in Columbia. The conference is designed to help landowners manage grasslands in ways that are economical and environmentally friendly. A fence and water demonstration and sessions on grazing for ecological and economic stability and nitrogen fertilizer alternatives are among the conference offerings.
Forage management is vital for providing reliable sources of feed for livestock, food and shelter for wildlife and protecting water quality.
Conference registration forms can be downloaded from the Missouri Forage & Grassland Council Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Web site.