One of your feature articles, Close Memorial Park by Francis Skalicky [April, Page 26], I enjoyed very much. It was well written and explained the value of an arboretum to a community and the role it plays in the education of its residents.
I am a member of Friends of the Garden, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose focus is to financially support the development and maintenance of the existing and future Botanical Gardens at Close Memorial Park and to help raise funds to build the new Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center to be located at Nathanael Greene-Close Memorial Parks in Southwest Springfield.
This park complex is already one of southwest Missouri’s true hidden jewels, and once the Botanical Center is complete the location will be on the must-see list for everyone, not just the residents of southwest Missouri.
George B. Deatz, vice president
Friends of the Garden, Inc., Springfield
A friend and I hauled our camera gear to the Dunn Ranch blind for the first time a few years ago. Noppadol Paothong’s pictures [Spirit of the Prairie, March] remind us of similar pictures we have of harriers, prairie chickens and the sights of early spring storms in the distance. A male prairie chicken using the blind as a booming post was certainly a thrill of a lifetime, and the sights and sounds of the prairie are etched in our souls.
We were very taken with the contagious joy of Betty, the volunteer that led the 1/2-mile walk to the blind and answered all questions with care and patience. I understand she led trips almost daily for several seasons. Being at the ranch hours before daylight, in all kinds of early spring weather, to meet with those who signed up for the trip and answering the same questions daily/several times a day, takes a special commitment!
The next year I was anxious to share the experience with my wife. We were pleased to see Betty again and during the time in the blind we discovered that Betty is Betty Chmielniak Grace. How typical of her.
When the letter asking “Who is Chmielniak?” appeared in the February edition [“Letters,” Page 2] I felt it was important that people know that she is so much more than the cartoonist that has brought joy to millions; she touches lives in many ways that relate to the outdoors and seems typical of those I have come in contact with that work for the MDC. Whether it has been a stringer check when fishing, a license check while hunting or advice on where I can observe yellow-headed blackbirds, I have found that same respect and love for what they do in the people of the MDC.
Steve Dumortier, Lee’s Summit
Are you conservation?
I just wanted to comment on how much I enjoy the pictures and information you now provide on the back of the magazine. This month the caption is “I am Conservation” and shows Ron Tuttle, the responsible logger who was named the Missouri Logger of the Year for 2007.
Whoever is responsible for the change should certainly be commended. The pictures were great, but this type of information is wonderful along with a picture and a name.
Anne Beaver, Diamond