Community Conservation

Taking Action

St. Francois County Wild Bunch

Group Featured: St. Francois County Wild Bunch 4-H Group

Group Mission: The focus of all 4-H programs is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible and productive citizens. In the National 4-H Shooting Sports Program, youth learn marksmanship, safe and responsible use of firearms, principles of hunting and archery, and more. The activities of the program and the support of caring adult leaders provide opportunities to develop life skills, self-worth and conservation ethics.

Learn More About the National 4-H Shooting Sports Program: Visit online or call (202) 720-3566

Conservation Agent Grant Gelly had worked with the Wild Bunch before, assisting them with programs on hunting regulations, hunting safety and trapping. In turn, he says, they showed him a thing or two on the shooting range. This time, the group was looking for a community project that would benefit conservation. “We decided that building wood duck boxes would be the perfect fit at Bismarck Lake CA,” says Gelly.

The group participated in every step of the project, including grant writing and soliciting funds, gathering materials, and measuring, cutting, drilling and finally assembling 15 houses. After building the boxes, the group learned about their importance for the ducks and how nest boxes had brought the species back from the brink of extinction. They also talked about wood duck feeding and habitat needs, clutch size, predators, how the ducklings leave the box, and why Bismarck Lake, in particular, is a great place for wood ducks. “The project was a great success,” says Gelly. “There may be partnerships with MDC in the future.”

Collect Those April Showers

Rain barrels cut costs, benefit plants & conserve resources.

Spring’s showers can bring you much more than May flowers (though they’ll be perkier, too) if you install a rain barrel. Inexpensive and easy to use, rain barrels collect water from your home’s downspout for use in landscaping, gardening and a variety of other indoor and outdoor uses.

Rain barrels can reduce pressure on aquifers, treatment plants and wells; lower home water and energy costs; and divert water that might otherwise contribute to urban runoff, erosion and pressure on sewage systems. The soft, chlorine-, lime- and calcium-free water has less sediments and salt than municipal water and is ideal for plants and cleaning uses.

A number of conservation and civic groups, as well as some city governments throughout Missouri, have rain barrel programs and workshops. For more information on making your own rain barrel, or purchasing a ready-made barrel, check with your local municipality or contact one of these great sources: Missouri River Communities Network, Columbia, (573) 256-2602; Bridging The Gap, Kansas City, (816) 561-1087; 10,000 Rain Gardens, Kansas City, (this Web site has a searchable “Where to Buy” database); the James River Basin Partnership, Springfield, (888) 924-WATER; or the River des Peres Watershed Coalition, St. Louis, (314) 725-8314.