Master Naturalists explore the Missouri River to see
the meaning behind landscape conservation
By Ashley Spratt
More than 20 Missouri Master Naturalists and their families, ranging in age from two to over 70, joined U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and staff on a dusk boat exploration of the Missouri River, in October. The Missouri Master Naturalists volunteer with the Service throughout the year, providing support to fisheries, refuges and ecological services programs.
The Missouri Master Naturalists joined Service staff along the banks of the Missouri River to learn about the river's ecology, fish and wildlife, and commercial and navigational uses. Service communications coordinator Ashley Spratt also provided an overview of Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, conservation partnerships that bridge the gap between science and land management, while touring the river.
Tim Haller, Visitor Services manager from the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, coordinated the evening excursion, with the support of Service fisheries, refuge and external affairs staff. “This was a way to say thank you to the entire Missouri Master Naturalists community. They do so much to further the cause for conservation efforts, and are key partners in on-the-ground restoration and conservation activities,” Haller said. “We value their time, their passion for the outdoors, and their interest in natural resources issues.”
Missouri Master Naturalist is a community-based natural resource education and volunteer program. Its purpose is to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities for the state of Missouri.
For more information about the Master Naturalist program, visit http://extension.missouri.edu/masternaturalist.