Conservationist Pat Jones died Monday at age 93. Jones and her husband, Edward “Ted” Jones, donated $2.2 million to help create Katy Trail State Park.
The two donated their time, money and land over their lifetimes to establish Missouri state parks and conservation areas like Katy Trail State Park and Prairie Fork Conservation Area, according to a Missouri Department of Natural Resources news release.
“Without them, Katy Trail State Park would not have been possible,” Governor Mike Parson said in the release.
Missouri State Parks recognized the couple’s contributions to the state by naming Confluence Point State Park after the couple. Both the Pat Jones Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge in Jefferson City and a picnic shelter at the North Jefferson Trailhead pay tribute to Pat Jones.
“If you care about something a great deal, give it away to someone else that cares about it, too. Then it can go on forever,” Pat Jones is quoted as saying in the release.
In 1997, Jones — who graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in soil science in 1950 and received an honorary degree from MU in 2017 — donated 771 acres of land to the Missouri Department of Conservation for the development of what is now Prairie Fork Conservation Area, a space dedicated to children’s conservation education and water, soil and wildlife research. It forged a relationship between the department, the MU School of Natural Resources and the Missouri Prairie Foundation, according to the release.
“Pat loved to see all the kids and activities at Prairie Fork, which she got to see every day out her back door, because she witnessed the next generation getting excited about exploring the land just like she did as a kid,” Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri Department of Conservation, said in the release.
“She always greeted the kids with a loud ‘Learn, Get Dirty, and Have Fun’ which is engraved on the wall at Prairie Fork in honor of her incredible conservation legacy,” Pauley said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.