top of page

Welcome to!  This is your virtual bulletin board – a place to share information and celebrate your events, your accomplishments, your projects as well as a place to find info about organizations of like-minded folks, cool places to go to experience the outdoors at its best, and resources offering data, information, expertise.  You are invited to share your news and enjoy the news of others! Got news? Report it to   Please note: we make every effort to ensure accuracy in our website; however, we cannot be responsible for info garnered from sites other than ours.
The mission of is to facilitate communication and to celebrate efforts and accomplishments among the environmental community of the Southwest Missouri Ozarks and to provide useful information to those who live in or visit the Region. Learn more...

Breaking News

EPA Releases Annual Air Report, Highlighting Trends through 2022

WASHINGTON (May 23, 2023) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual interactive report tracking America’s progress in controlling air pollution. “Our Nation’s Air: Trends Through 2022” offers readers an opportunity to learn about the health and environmental impacts of air pollution; track trends in air quality and emissions data, explore efforts to improve visibility in treasured national parks; and explore community-level health impacts of air toxics emissions reported for 2020.

“This report highlights the crucial role EPA’s work – coupled with the unrelenting efforts of our state, tribal, community and industry partners – have played in improving air quality across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Even as the economy grows, we continue to see dramatic long-term reductions in air emissions. This progress is encouraging, and we will continue to collaborate with our partners to protect public health and ensure clean air for all.”

EPA examines long-term trends to track the nation's progress toward clean air. The report released today shows that, between 1970 and 2022, the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 78%, while the U.S. economy remained strong — growing 304% over the same time.

In addition, national average concentrations of harmful air pollutants decreased considerably across our nation between 1990 and 2022: 

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) 8-Hour,81%

  • Lead (Pb) 3-Month Average,88% (from 2010)

  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Annual,60%

  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) 1-Hour,54%

  • Ozone (O3) 8-Hour,22%

  • Particulate Matter 10 microns (PM10) 24-Hour,34%

  • Particulate Matter 2.5 microns (PM2.5) Annual,42% (from 2000)

  • Particulate Matter 2.5 microns (PM2.5) 24-Hour,42% (from 2000)

  • Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) 1-Hour,90%

It is important to note that air quality concentrations can vary year to year, even as human-caused emissions continue to decline. In 2022, national average concentrations of lead and nitrogen dioxide increased slightly over 2021 levels. Variations in weather, and events such as dust storms and wildfires can have an impact on air quality in affected areas. Many environmental impacts associated with climate change can impact air quality particularly affecting the severity and timing of the wildfire season, including changes in temperature, precipitation, and drought.

The report spotlights the projects selected as part of EPA’s Enhanced Air Quality Monitoring Competitive Grants, providing information for each project as of November 2022 when selections were announced. These funds will enhance air quality monitoring in communities across the United States – particularly those that are underserved, historically marginalized, and overburdened by pollution.

The report includes interactive graphics that enable citizens, policymakers and stakeholders to view and download detailed information by pollutant, geographic location and year. 

Explore the report and download graphics and data


Missouri Brownfields Conference

The Brownfields track of the Missouri Waste Control Coalition Environmental Conference, referred to as the Missouri Brownfields Conference, is being hosted by the Brownfields/Voluntary Cleanup Program (BVCP) on Monday, July 10 at Margaritaville (Tan-Tar-A Resort) in Osage Beach.

The Brownfields Conference is a venue that allows attendees to meet state and federal brownfield staff, community members and other industry experts face-to-face. Here you will be able to discuss general information about Brownfields as well as environmental assessments, and get help with specific brownfield projects including those sites currently enrolled in the BVCP and sites that may be enrolled in the program in the future. BVCP staff will be available to provide information to interested parties on a one-on-one basis.

Community members are invited and encouraged to attend the Brownfields Conference. Scholarships may be available to eligible community members (city, municipal and county governments, regional planning commissions, non-profit organizations and community groups). 

The Brownfields Conference breakout sessions include:

  • Identifying Brownfields in your community

  • Assessing Brownfield Properties

  • Beyond Assessments – Brownfield and other redevelopment funding and assistance resources

  • Successful Brownfields Redevelopment Case Studies 

Many of our participants credit this training to professional development hours. 

Mark the date on your calendar: Monday, July 10, 2023. We hope to see you there!

Registration, along with scholarship information, is now available here: Scholarship Request Link Conference Information

Call 573-526-8913 or send an email to for more information.


Echo Bluff State Park offers classes for women


Join women for some fun-filled girls’ nights out! These hands-on outdoor classes are taught by women for women and are held on the second Thursday of the month in May, June and September.

The following classes are scheduled:

  • Thursday, June 8 – Dutch Oven Cooking: Take Dutch oven cooking to the next level. Participants will make some old standards as well as some new and exciting dishes in this class. When registering, please note any special dietary needs.

  • Thursday, Sept. 15 – Survival Skills: Have you heard of the rule of three? Do you want to learn to build a fire without a lighter or match? Then this is the class for you. Fires will be started without a match and if it’s big enough, marshmallows will be roasted.

Classes are held at the bluff top from 6 to 8 p.m. All equipment is provided. Participation is limited to individuals 18 years or older and registration is required. To register, contact Connie at 573-751-1224 or

Echo Bluff State Park is located at 35244 Echo Bluff Drive in Eminence. For more information, call 573-751-5211.


L-A-D Foundation Annual Report, 2022
The L-A-D Foundation recently released its Annual Report for 2022. The report reflects the four aspects of our Strategic Plan, which are maintaining a healthy forest, demonstrating stewardship, increasing L-A-D Foundation’s collaboration in the Ozarks, and sustaining our organizational mission in perpetuity.

A PDF of the report is attached 2022 L-A-D Annual Report.pdf.

The 2022 Annual Report and all past Annual Reports can also be found on L-A-D Foundation website.

We welcome questions and feedback. Email us at or visit our website at for more information.


Missouri State Parks selected as a National Gold Medal finalist


The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, has selected Missouri State Parks as a finalist for the 2023 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

“We are thrilled to be selected as a National Gold Medal finalist,” said Dru Buntin, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “It is an honor for Missouri State Parks to be nationally recognized for ongoing efforts to address the needs of park and site visitors by providing safe and equitable spaces, high level customer service and innovative programming.”

Missouri is one of a handful of states that does not charge entrance fees to its state parks, thanks in part to the Parks, Soil and Water Sales Tax.

“The citizen support for our parks is outstanding,” said Buntin. “The last time the sales tax renewed, it passed by 80% of the voters across Missouri. The sales tax helps give every Missourian the opportunity to enjoy nature and outdoor recreation while exploring Missouri’s history.”

Missouri State Parks is competing against three other state park systems for the top award: Ohio State Parks and Watercraft; Texas State Parks; and Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails. The National Recreation and Park Association will announce the winner at its annual conference in October in Dallas.

“This recognition can be attributed to an outstanding and dedicated group of professional team members caring for our 92 state parks and historic sites,” said David Kelly, director of Missouri State Parks. “We are very proud of our team and the work they do each and every day to provide a quality experience for our visitors.”

For more information concerning the Gold Medal Award program, visit

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.


Region 7 BIL and IRA Grants Information click here

Ozark Riverways Foundation

Native Plant Sales in our Area
May 27 @ 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm CDT

Springfield Native Plant Sale – Mother’s Brewing Co.

Mother's Brewing Company 215 S Grant Ave, Springfield, MO

MPF will hold a native plant sale on Saturday, May 27 at Mother's Brewing Company (215 S. Grant Ave., Springfield, MO 65806) from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Native plants beautify landscapes and help support songbirds and other cherished wildlife. Buy native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, vines, sedges, and native seed from Grow Native! professional

OZARK SOUL is pleased to announce several opportunities to purchase our regional native plants in Springfield, Missouri this spring! All events will offer on-site shopping as well as pre-order pick-up.

The following is a list of scheduled spring 2023 sale events in Springfield:

See a complete list of our Spring 2023 Sale Events Spring 2023

Please visit PRE-ORDER for ordering information and pre-order pick-up protocol.

View our current AVAILABILITY
Availability will be updated weekly. We will have a greater selection as we approach the month of May.

To place an order, email us (PREFERRED) at or call (816)809-4062 or (636)448-7946. Please include name, email address, telephone number, and sale event pick-up location/date in all correspondence.

Thank you for your past support of Ozark Soul and your continued interest in native plants!

David and Jenny Middleton



Third Annual Trailblazer Challenge


May 15 – Sept 15| Third Annual Trailblazer Challenge


The Trailblazer Trail Challenge is designed to get you outside, solo or with your friends and family, to explore our wonderful local trails.


Ozark Greenways staff installs 15 temporary special signs throughout the regional trail system. While the signs are up, we invite everyone to visit the trails and find the signs. Along the way, we hope you have a chance to see new places and see places you’ve never seen before.


Make sure to find 10 of the 15 signs, share your photos on social media, and complete the form on our website by September 30.

James River Basin Partnership



YMCA of the Rockies  |  Estes Park, Colorado  |  June 12-15, 2023


It's AmeriCorps Week!

Since 2019, Stream Teams United and partner Stream Team organizations throughout Missouri have together hosted

22 AmeriCorps members, all helping to expand watershed education and stewardship in their communities!


A huge THANK YOU to the 22 members who have served as AmeriCorps members with Missouri Stream Team organizations in the last 3 years!

Stream Teams United is excited to announce that we are again hosting 4 Summer Associate AmeriCorps positions!


The following summer only positions are available: (dates listed are proposed service dates, but there is possibility for flexible start dates)

Missouri River Relief: June 1 to August 2, 2023. Application deadline April 28.


Maramec Spring Park: June 5 to July 30, 2023. Application deadline May 8.


Watershed Committee of the Ozarks: June 5 to July 30, 2023. Application deadline May 7.


James River Basin Partnership: June 12 to August 6, 2023. Application deadline May 15.


Interested? Visit the following website and search to find the on-line application. 

To find the online application, go to:

Search by: 

Program Type: AmeriCorps VISTA

State: Missouri

Program Name: Stream Teams United

Looking for a way to jump start your career, serve your community, or do you know a graduating senior?

Check out all the opportunities here!

Please forward this to anyone you know who might be interested!

fish don't want your meds.jpg

"Fish Don't Want Your Meds" was created by the Missouri Product Stewardship Council (MOPSC), a coalition of governments, businesses, and other stakeholders, and the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI), a national policy advocate and consulting nonprofit.


“People with unused medications in their medicine cabinets shouldn’t have to wait for a twice-yearly DEA take-back day to safely dispose of them,” said Angie Snyder, Chair of the MOPSC. “This campaign will help protect people and the environment.” 


“Missouri’s new take-back campaign is a great way to educate consumers about pharmaceuticals responsibility,” said Scott Cassel, CEO and Founder of PSI. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Missouri Product Stewardship Council to make sure all residents connect with these valuable resources.”

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC)   MDC confirms first zoo-raised hellbender successfully reproducing in the wild.

Missouri hits significant milestone in endangered hellbender population recovery.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) announces a significant milestone in population recovery efforts of the endangered Ozark hellbender. A zoo-raised hellbender has successfully reproduced within the Current River.

“We are very excited to announce this news,” said Missouri State Herpetologist Jeff Briggler. “This is the first documented event of a zoo-raised animal fathering a clutch of eggs in the wild.”

Rivers in southern Missouri and adjacent northern Arkansas once supported up to 27,000 Ozark hellbenders. Today, fewer than 1,000 exist in the world – so few that the Ozark hellbender was added to the federal endangered species list in October 2011.


Hellbenders are large aquatic salamanders. Missouri is the only state that contains both recognized subspecies of North American hellbenders: the Ozark hellbender and eastern hellbender, both of which are listed as endangered both by the state of Missouri and by the federal government.

The primary threats are habitat alteration and degradation, over-collecting, disease, predation, and degraded water quality. Hellbenders are long-lived (with a 30-year lifespan), slow-to-mature amphibians that seldom venture far within the river.

Numerous wrinkly folds of skin along the hellbender’s sides provide increased surface area for respiration. Capillaries near the surface of the hellbender’s wrinkly skin absorb oxygen directly from the water. Because the species requires cool, well-oxygenated, clean running water to survive, hellbenders are a major indicator of overall health of a river or stream.

The adult hellbender is one of the largest species of salamanders in North America, with its closest relatives being the giant salamanders of China and Japan, which can reach 5-feet or more in length.


MDC partnered with the Ron and Karen Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation, a part of the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute, and other agencies in the early 2000s to breed the salamanders in captivity and rear eggs collected from the wild in order to combat drastic population declines. Once the captive-bred larvae reached between 3-8 years old, they were released in their native Ozark aquatic ecosystem. Biologists began releasing a few zoo-raised hellbenders in Missouri in 2008, later increasing the number of released animals to 1,000 or more per year beginning in 2012. Since the conception of the breeding and raising of this animal in captivity, more than 10,000 Ozark and eastern hellbenders raised at the Saint Louis Zoo and MDC hatchery have been released into their native rivers.

To help recover this species within the Ozark Highlands, biologists monitor the population status of both wild animals and released animals reared in captivity, as well as locate natural nests within rivers during the fall in order to collect eggs that can be reared and released in the future.

“The majority of the hellbenders existing in the wild and all 10,000-plus released animals have a small chip embedded under their skin with a unique number to allow us to identify the animals in future encounters,” Briggler explained.

Though many have been released to the wild, most hellbenders are only just now becoming mature enough to breed. Because very few nests with eggs are found each year, capturing the event of a male attending a clutch of eggs is a rare event.

“We’re lucky to find 20 nests in the wild a year and finding a tagged father that was raised at the Saint Louis Zoo was like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Briggler. “We have been patiently waiting for this significant achievement to occur.”

In October 2022, biologists found that needle when they came across a tagged male Ozark hellbender that was attending a clutch of healthy, well-developed eggs on the Current River. The animal was attending a clutch of 128 eggs. Upon a later return to the nest, the eggs were beginning the process of hatching with the father protecting them.

“Our ultimate goal was to see the successful reproduction of a zoo-reared animal in the wild,” explained Briggler. “And we’ve now accomplished that goal in our journey to save the unique Ozark salamander.”


This male Ozark hellbender was collected from a natural nest of eggs in the Current River in the fall of 2013 by MDC and National Park Service staff, then transported to the Saint Louis Zoo where the eggs were hatched and reared.

“We have a dedicated team of hellbender keepers, life-support systems technicians, and veterinary staff who work tirelessly to make sure these animals get the best care possible at the Saint Louis Zoo,” explained Justin Elden, Curator of Herpetology and Aquatics at the Saint Louis Zoo, and Director of the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Ron and Karen Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation.

The Saint Louis Zoo has nearly 20 years of experience and expertise in rearing hellbenders and has their care down to an exact science.

“This experience allowed for this animal to flourish for the six years it was reared at the zoo and prepare it for its release to the wild,” said Elden. “Caring for hellbenders through their lives, from tiny eggs to sub-adults, takes a tremendous amount of work, but it’s absolutely worth it knowing we’re aiding in the conservation of wild animals and wild places.”

The animal was released into the Current River in July 2019.

“At the time of release, the male weighed 5.6 ounces (160 grams) and measured 11.8 inches (30 cm),” said Elden. “At the time his nest was discovered in the fall of 2022, he weighed 8.9 ounces (252 grams) and measured 14.4 inches (36.6 cm).”

Based on the hellbender’s size, Briggler noted it was likely the animal’s first year reproducing.

“It was exciting to not only see the growth and healthy appearance of this father after living three years in the wild, but to also see such a healthy animal successfully reproduce,” said Briggler.

Eggs generally hatch in about 45 days, but it can take longer with colder water conditions. Upon hatching, the helpless larvae will slowly grow and develop limbs under the protection of the father for several months. In late winter or early spring, the larvae will venture outside the nesting chamber to disperse into the surrounding river habitat. Larvae will breathe with external gills for a few years before they finally absorb their gills and take on the wrinkly appearance of an adult.

“Finding a zoo-raised Ozark hellbender reproducing in the wild is one of the greatest accomplishments for our Zoo’s WildCare Institute conservation efforts and we are incredibly proud to be partnered with MDC on saving this species,” said Elden.

In addition to the Saint Louis Zoo, MDC partnered with the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission to enhance propagation efforts to ensure hellbenders remain a part of Missouri’s biodiversity.

“It is our hope that such wild breeding events by zoo-reared hellbenders will increasingly become more common as more released animals become mature,” noted Briggler.

To learn more about hellbenders, visit MDC’s online Field Guide at

Learn more about the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Institute Ron and Karen Goellner Center for Hellbender Conservation online at

  Find this and other MDC media releases in our MDC online Newsroom

Learn more
Screen Shot 2022-05-24 at 7.56.57 PM.png

The people of Southwest Missouri are known for their ability to work together to solve problems.  Communication is a critical component of those efforts. All advocacy work takes a toll on its warriors – we all need to celebrate our successes., created by Barbara Lucks, is a vehicle for both of these important components of a successful effort – communication and celebration.

Barbara Lucks grew up on a family owned and operated resort at the Lake of the Ozarks.  Her father built the resort in 1932, just as the Lake was filling. She grew up with a love and respect for everything outdoors and of nature.  Following graduation from Missouri State University, she stayed in Springfield and returned to a familiar pursuit – a career in corporate-level hotel management.  In 1994, she joined the City of Springfield as the Materials Recovery/Education Coordinator and was instrumental in positioning Springfield as a regional recycling hub.  She left the City in 2016, as the City’s first Sustainability Officer, to go into private consulting. She has an extensive resume – both professional and as a community volunteer leader.

Got news?  Let us know!


Subject Line: Ozarks Environment News

bottom of page