Barbara Lucks,  Sustainability Officer for the City of Springfield – Department of Environmental Services, was chosen the 2014 recipient of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Outreach & Education Partnership Award


Barbara has been with the city for more than 20 years and has been involved with the Springfield Conservation Nature Center for that length of time. Barbara is a strong proponent for the Department and goes to great lengths to promote MDC programs and activities. She manages the Environmental Resource Center, a facility that acts as a clearing house for all things associated with the environment. Their resource area is open to the public and is covered with many programs and informational publications. Barbara ensures that the facility promotes all nature center and Department programs by having newsletters, flyers, and rack cards on display. In addition, she is involved with many environmental groups in the area and takes our materials to the various meetings of those groups.


But Barbara doesn’t just promote MDC programs, she also participates! Each year she assists with the Native Plant event at the nature center by hosing a variety of displays and presenting workshops. She has donated her time and money to bring Richard Louv, John C. Robinson and Doug Tallemy, all noted nature related book authors to the nature center for public programs. Barbara doesn’t care about receiving credit for the work she does behind the scenes to further conservation education in the Springfield area. The important thing for her is that we all work together, rather than competing, to further conservation and environmental education to the public of Springfield. This teamwork can be directly attributed to Barbara’s leadership, she is a phenomenal spokesperson for all of us.


Marlyss Simmons Receives Choose Environemntal Excellence Award


The Fifteenth Annual Springfield/Greene County Choose Environmental Excellence awards were presented Friday, April 17, 2015, at a luncheon held at the White River Conference Center in Springfield, Missouri, as a part of Springfield’s Earth Day/Earth Month festivities


Springfield Plateau Chapter Missouri Master Naturalists recognized the outstanding contributions of Marlyss Simmons toward conservation of the natural environment.


Springfield Plateau Chapter President, Bob Korpella, presented the award. Marlyss is truly deserving of this year’s Choose Environmental Excellence Award.


A 2009 Missouri Master Naturalist graduate, she served as a chapter officer for three consecutive years. Marlyss has participated in the Barry County Watershed Festival, works on the team that is cataloging Valley Water Mill flora, and monitors water quality at two sites on Flat Creek as part of the Ozarks Water Watch Program. Marlyss also participates each year in events held by our chapter partners such as the Butterfly Festival and Young Sprouts.


She often presents programs as diverse as native plants, furs, and stream monitoring to audiences from children through adults. This year, the Springfield Chapter Missouri Master Naturalist awarded its very first scholarship to college bound, graduating high school seniors. Marlyss was part of our Scholarship Committee from its inception and also helped select this year’s scholarship recipient. I


In addition to being a Missouri Master Naturalist, Marlyss is also a member of the Missouri Native Plant Society.

A Long Friendship Results In An Unusual Journey For Missouri Eastern Redbud Seeds


Eastern Redbud is a common small tree found in the Missouri Ozarks and is well known 

for their showy early spring flowers . Popular as an ornamental tree, seedlings an saplings are made available from the Missouri Department of Conservation’s George O. White 

State Forest Nursery located near Licking, Missouri. 


Most seeds that come from the nursery eventually are shipped directly to planting projectsaround Missouri. But some seeds took an interesting and long journey via the 

InternationalSpace Station. Astronaut and U.S. Air Force Colonel Michael Hopkins, a 

Missouri native who grew up on a farm near Richland, is a long time family friend to 

Missouri Master Naturalist Bob Ranney. 


Ranney tells the story: “Mike Hopkins folks and I were good friends in the 80s.  Mike and I connected kind of like I was his uncle or big brother, and we've maintained contact 

throughout his career.  When he got the nod to go to the space station he asked if I 

wanted him to carry anything up. I thought of the seeds and the (Springfield Master 

Naturalist) chapter voted at a membership meeting to send them up so we would have 

them to propagate and use for civic projects. We obtained them from the George White nursery and sent them to Mike.” 


Hopkins took another item up to the space station as well: A bird point arrowhead that Bobfound along Walnut Creek near Stockton Lake back in 1973. “It pleases me no end to see 

that point, which went from the hands of an Osage brave to my hands and now to outer 

space, when I think of what that brave would make of such journey...” Ranney said. 


Dogwood seeds from the nursery also made the journey. 


Colonel Hopkins made his first spaceflight as a Flight Engineer on Soyuz TMA-10M/Expedition 37/Expedition 38 from September 2013 until March 2014 and spent 166 days in space completing 2656 orbits of the Earth and traveled more than 70 million miles. 


Hopkins returned the seeds to Ranney after the long journey. The seeds will eventually 

fulfill their 70 million mile mission by going to various civic projects around the state of 


Missouri Redbud seeds in the window of the International Space Station.

An arrowhead made many hundreds of years ago by Osage Indians meets 21st century technology. 

Astronaut Colonel Michael S. Hopkins, U.S. Air Force


Randy Sarver from the Department of Natural Resources presented the Stream Team Ambassador Award to Bob Korpella, for his past and continued work with Cooperative Stream Investigation. Bob has been monitoring streams in the Mt. Vernon area, gathering samples and data important in e-coli monitoring.

Randy stated, “Those who can…DO; those who can do MORE…volunteer!” He said this was a perfect description of Bob!