The Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) honored leading citizen conservationists and national resource professionals with the 2016 Conservation Achievement Awards at a ceremony held in Jefferson City on March 10, 2017. Congratulations to all the award winners.
Conservationists of the Year: Bob and Barb Kipfer, Springfield
Bob and Barb Kipfer received the 2016 Conservationists of the Year. Bob and Barb are very deserving of recognition for all they have done for conservation and education in Missouri. They are excellent role models for other Missourians to do all they can to educate and conserve.
They utilize their 32 acre tract of land in Christian County as a certified State Tree Farm and for wildlife and native plant studies, invasive species control, stream protection, historic preservation, recreation, hunting, harvesting, and education.
Outstanding Lifetime Achievement: LeRoy Braungardt, Moscow Mills
LeRoy worked at Cuivre River Electric for 22 years. During these years he met Owen Turnbull who was instrumental in encouraging LeRoy to become very active in conservation work. LeRoy became past president of the Lincoln County Wildlife Club and Chairman of the Deer and Wild Turkey Natural Resource Committee for the Conservation Federation of Missouri.
LeRoy also played an instrumental role in the legislation process for the State Parks, Soil and Water Sales Tax. The conservation projects he led will continue to provide value to hunters and naturalists for many years to come.
Air Conservationist of the Year: Rudi Roeslein, Saint Louis
Rudi Roeslein is CEO of Roeslein and Associates and President and owner of Roeslein Alternative Energy. Roeslein Alternative Energy is currently taking hog manure from nine finishing farms and converting it to renewable compressed natural gas. He possesses a true conservationist mental attitude of excellence.
He has said, "I have been very successful in my manufacturing business, but more than
anything, I want my grand babies to think of me as someone who made a difference for our environment."
Conservation Communicator of the Year: John Neporadny, Lake Ozark
John Neporadny boasts a long litany of accomplishments making him stand out from the rest, including coordinating a four-year effort to have the Missouri Sate High School Activities Association place high school bass fishing on its annual ballot to be voted on as a state sanctioned activity. The proposal passed in spring 2013 and he has been actively involved since. He is a CFM Board member and 2016 inductee for the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in the communicators category.
Conservation Educator of the Year: Karen Richardson, Monett
Karen Richardson possesses a "we can do it attitude" because she not only embodies teamwork and support but most important the sharing and learning from fellow peers. She is a model teacher in the classroom and in the field and is involved with many organizations where she is involved with conservation education. She knows the value of making learning fun, exploring the creative processes of a conservation engaged audience.
Conservation Organization of the Year: Missouri Prairie Foundation
Missouri Prairie Foundation (MPF) is the only organization in Missouri whose land conservation efforts are devoted exclusively to prairies and other native grasslands. MPF also promotes the use of native plants through its GrowNative! program and supports the identification and control of invasive plant species through its Missouri Invasive Plant Task Force. MPF had numerous notable achievements for 2016 including dedicating its 20th acquisition, Carver Prairie.
Forest Conservationist of the Year: Brandon Kuhn, Licking
Brandon Kuhn is a professional and leader in the field of forestry. He is a forester, manager, teacher, prescribed fire team leader, and an expert in both oak and pine management. As Chief Forester for Pioneer Forest, he leads technicians, interns, and contractors, collaborating on all aspects of delivering excellence in forest management. His every field decision is both careful and thoughtful, always carrying out operations with a strong land stewardship ethic.
Hunter Education Instructor of the Year: Terry Pollard, Jefferson City
Terry Pollard has been a hunter education instructor since 2012. He is dedicated inside and outside of the classroom. He is always willing to give his time to teach others about conservation, hunting and the shooting sports. He loves to mentor new hunters in the outdoors. From the shooting range to the hunting blind, Terry shares his knowledge of hunting with the next generation.
Professional Conservationist of the Year: Ken McCarty, Fulton
Ken McCarty has made extraordinary contributions to the preservation and restoration of Missouri's natural heritage throughout his more than three decades with Missouri State Parks, but he outdid even himself in the year 2016 when he completed spadework for the successful addition of three new state parks and significant additions to existing state parks. Ken and his staff are already working on resource restoration and management plans for each park.
Soil Conservationist of the Year, John Hunter II, Essex
On his southeastern Missouri farm, John Hunter prioritizes soil health and diversification. He believes in continuous improvement and is a conservation-minded farmer, continually assessing his operation and his practices, and making improvements that seek a practical balance between increasing sustainability, better preserving his land for future generations. He leads by example and also makes time to serve and share with his peers through volunteer work, meetings and events.
Water Conservationists of the Year: Janet Fraley & Randy Maness
Together Janet Fraley and Randy Maness embarked upon a complicated and challenging campaign, overcoming numerous obstacles and high odds to permanently protect 188 acres along a remarkable stretch of the Current River. Conservation of this property will protect water quality, bottomland forest habitat for migratory birds, bats, and other animal and plant species, a variety of river-based recreation activities, and the scenic and natural beauty of the Current River.
Wildlife Conservationist of the Year: St. Louis Zoo WildCare Institute
The WildCare Institute is dedicated to creating a sustainable future for wildlife and for people across the globe. The Institute was established more than a decade ago and now supports 13 centers around the world and in Missouri. The five Missouri-focused centers have addressed natural resource problems ranging from educating citizens about the need to plant pollinator gardens to reintroducing endangered species.
Youth Conservationist of the Year: Paul O'Donnell, Winona
Paul O'Donnell is an articulate spokesperson and effective leader in a number of conservation and community health issues. He volunteers in his community and remains an active member of the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) and GLADE Alumni. He is energized by the challenges we face as a society and strives to be a responsible steward of both human and natural resources.
Corporate Conservationist of the Year: Pure Air Natives, Wentzville
Conservation and commerce have been integrally tied since the founding of modern conservation in Missouri. Pure Air Natives embodies this link by supporting the conservation community and incorporating conservation into the ethos of their business model. Pure Air Natives works to ensure prairie restorations grow to their potential by providing native seed for prairie restoration in Missouri and in surrounding states. Their knowledge of landscape ecology and wildlife biology has made a significant and positive impact on the landscape of Missouri.
If you know someone who has done something special to aid conservation in Missouri, we invite you to nominate them for a Conservation Achievement Award later this year. The nomination form can be found on our website by
The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2017.