NEOSHO, Mo. —
The city of Neosho was recognized for its dedication to conservation of the town’s many natural resources during the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s summer meeting Sunday at the Neosho Civic Center.
Ronda Headland, community conservation planner for the Missouri Department of Conservation, presented the city with the Community Cooperation Award. She said in an interview Monday that Neosho was selected because of the willingness of the city staff to welcome and cooperate with the Southwest Community Conservation Team.
The team is a pilot project of the department that is intended to help residents focus on their community’s natural resources and ways they can be used for the community’s benefit. Headland said Neosho was selected to be the host for the team because of the city’s abundance of natural resources, including several springs, urban streams and the presence of the Ozark cavefish, a federally recognized endangered species.
The team has been operating in Neosho for the past year, and has led several projects to protect and increase public awareness of the town’s natural beauty. Headland said the team has worked on a habitat improvement project in Morse Park, an Ozark cavefish survey, a forestry stewardship plan for the city, a community workshop, an urban deer survey, and an urban stream publication.
Headland said her team invited the federation to stage its summer meeting in Neosho to highlight the town’s resources and her team’s work in the community. She said the weekend was “like a big field trip” for the representatives of the federation’s 80 clubs across the state.
Members toured Morse Park, the Neosho National Fish Hatchery and Big Spring Park. Headland said she gave a presentation on her team’s work in the town before presenting the community award to Mayor Pro Tem Steve Hart.
THE CONSERVATION FEDERATION OF MISSOURI was founded in 1935 and petitioned for the creation of the Missouri Department of Conservation — a nonpolitical agency that has served as a model for other states. In 1976, the foundation spearheaded the campaign that led to the conservation sales tax, creating broad-based funding for the state’s natural resources.