More than 20 Missouri Master Naturalists and their families ranging in age from two to over 70 joined USFWS biologists and staff on an exploration of the Missouri River by boat at dusk this October. The Missouri Master Naturalists volunteer with USFWS throughout the year, providing support to fisheries, refuges and ecological services programs. The Missouri Master Naturalists joined USFWS staff along the banks of the Missouri River to learn about the river’s ecology, fish and wildlife and commercial and navigational uses. USFWS 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 by boat.

Tim Haller, USFWS visitor services manager from the Big Muddy National Fish and Wildlife Refuge, coordinated the evening excursion, with the support of USFWS fisheries, refuge and external affairs staff. “This was a way for USFWS 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.

Image courtesy Ashley Spratt/USFWS

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