WHAT OTHERS SAY: Quietly, an Ozark land trust shows how to get things done

Friday, June 6, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

Quiet as an owl on the hunt, the Ozark Regional Land Trust goes about its work. There’s little fanfare and few headlines, but don’t let the group’s low profile fool you.

What began with $1,000 as a kitchen-table venture 30 years ago has grown into a can-do conservation organization that has protected more than 25,000 acres of Ozark and prairie habitat, some of it historic, some of it home to endangered species, all of it worth preserving for future generations.

The trust has helped preserve remnant prairie near Mount Vernon, old-growth Ozark forest, riparian corridors, urban green space, farmland and, most recently, part of a Civil War battlefield near Carthage.

If you’ve hiked on the trails near the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center, you can thank the land trust. It stepped in to protect land between the Redings Mill bridge and the nature center, allowing trails to be built.

Its work ranges from the 3,267-acre Alford Forest along Bryant Creek in Ozark County to a three-acre preserve in Sarcoxie with a cave and a spring that are home to the Ozark cavefish and the Arkansas darter.

Thousands more acres are protected via conservation easements that allow landowners to keep title to the land but protect it from future development.

You don’t have to be landowner to support the Ozark Regional Land Trust.

Nearly 1,000 people are members, joining for as little as $35, supporting the group with donations that allow it to work with landowners as well as manage trust-owned properties.

This is conservation at the local level, and we congratulate the Ozark Regional Land Trust for the good work it has done for 30 years and the work it will continue doing.

Copyright Joplin Globe. Reprinted with permission.

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