Outreach & Service


Here’s a brochure providing an overview of our dynamic chapter. The Springfield Plateau Chapter offers several classroom and educational presentations, known as our “trunk” shows, suitable for schools, Scouts and other youth groups, covering:

  • Bison - Learn how Native Americans used every bit of the bison to sustain themselves
  • Insects and spiders – Learn all about creeping, crawling or flying insects and spiders, how harmless most of them are and how we benefit from them
  • Birds – Birding isn’t just for adults: learn to identify some of our common species
  • Mammals – All about the wild critters in our forests, glades and prairies
  • Reptiles and amphibians – All about snakes and frogs, toads and salamanders and other reptiles and amphibians
  • Fur-bearing animals – Learn which animals are trapped for their furs in Missouri and how those furs are used
  • Rotten log – Learn the inhabitants of rotten logs in the forest

To book one of these presentations or one about the Master Naturalist program, contact one of the following:

General Information, info@springfieldmasternaturalist.com

Jay Barber, Missouri Department of Conservation’s conservation education consultant, 417-895-6881, ext. 269, jay.barber@mdc.mo.gov

Campbell Street Rain Garden

Seven Master Naturalists and interns joined with volunteers from other organizations to plant a rain garden along Campbell Street and Mt. Vernon just south of downtown Springfield. Our volunteers consisted of Bob Ranney, Jesse Haworth, Andy Hartigan and Michael Baird and newbies Amy Grisham, Patricia Tursi and John Maholovic.

Planters Campbell  Planters 3

Planters 4  Planters 2

A Round of Applause, Please!

Our November 2013 meeting recognized several members for their hours of service: Drew Albert – 250 hours;  Jesse Haworth, Linda Ellis and Gala Solari – 500 hours; Carl Haworth – 1,000 hours

250  500  1000

Trout Spawning

On Oct. 9, thanks to Dave Reynolds, Bob Ranney and Dave Shanholzer witnessed trout spawning at Shepherd of Hills Hatchery. Here are some pictures from that trip, including ones of eggs being harvested, milt being added to eggs and mixing milt and eggs in a saline solution before incubation.

Young Sprouts 2013

Once again Master Naturalists turned out to turn on children to gardening through the Young Sprouts program sponsored by Master Gardeners of Greene County. Marlyss Simmons is in the left photo and Drew Albert in the second photo from left.

Bull Creek Water Assessment 2013

April 29 found Bob and Barbara Kipfer and Jennifer Ailor with two non-members, Cynthia Andre and Liz Ballard, doing a Stream Team water assessment on a stretch of Bull Creek near Center Road.  It was sunny and windless, which was a good thing as Jennifer lost her footing and took a dunk, first of the season, in a cold, cold Bull Creek.

Lake Springfield Cleanup 2013

Several Master Naturalists showed up April 20 for the annual Lake Springfield cleanup, sponsored by James River Basin Partnership. Here are a few photos from Michael Baird showing Alane Roy, left, and Carl Haworth in the canoe.

Garden for ARC

Thanks to our own Mary McCarthy, Arc of the Ozarks, which works with developmentally disabled people of all ages, now has a small garden and some improvements to the habitat at one of its residential facilities in Springfield.

Janet Haworth, Amy Johnson and Mary met several times during the 2013 spring, then framed an existing bed with railroad ties and put in top soil donated by Wickman Gardens. The third photo shows Jessie Haworth assisting resident Katie Haverstick with the planting bed.

LAD Judging

Bob Ranney (not shown) recruited Master Naturalists to help with the annual LAD judging at Willard High School in March. Shown on the left side of the table, bottom to top, are Allan Keller, Gala Solari, Drew Albert and Bob Korpella. On the right side of the table are Debbie Lewis and Marlyss Simmons.


Stream Monitoring

Five Master Naturalists turned out April 6, 2013, to do some stream monitoring for the White River Basin Partnership: Tana Pulles, Bob Korpella, Stephanie Davidson and Bob Ranney.


Shrub Sorting

Thanks to, from left, Drew Albert, Mort Shurtz, Bob Ranney and Darrell and Pat Blech who packed 700 shrubs March 7, 2013, into containers to be delivered to Springfield schools for planting.


Joplin Trees

Here are photos from the long-awaited tree planting in Joplin Oct. 13, 2012. We presented our check for $1,000 to Ric Mayer for more trees and joined other Master Naturalists from around the state in planting more than 200 trees. The Springfield Plateau group consisted of Mary McCarthy, Steve Kittle, Bob Ranney, Marlyss Simmons and Jennifer Ailor.


Here are two photos of Mort Shurtz–and grandson Tyrus–in a presentation to first graders at Harrison Elementary School, Springfield, on fur bearers of Missouri.

And here are Rose Atchley, Gala Solari, Doris Ewing and Charles Stewart in other fur presentations.

Project and Activity Opportunities


Our fundraising effort to benefit Joplin topped $1,000, with half coming from individual members and the second half a match from the Plateau Chapter.  We will work with the Joplin chapter to determine the best use of the money. Tentative plans are for the Joplin Chert Glades Master Naturalist Chapter to develop a joint project for fall of 2012 in which we will plant trees in the denuded landscape left by the tornado of May 2011.

For starters, though, Matt Boehner, Carl and Janet Haworth, Marlyss Simmons, Mary McCarthy and Jennifer Ailor joined 14 other volunteers from Joplin April 7, 2012, to plant four of eight rain gardens. The project, developed by Matt and the Chert Glades Audubon Nature Center’s Chris Pistole, tapped into the Joplin Master Naturalist Chapter for some of those volunteers. An educational presentation on planting rain gardens preceded the planting.

Volunteers will gather again May 5 to plant the remaining rain gardens. Matt is gathering bids on purchasing several trees for the Boys and Girls Club site in Joplin. Some of our $1,000 may go for that purchase.

Here are pictures of the Haworths, Mary and Matt during the Joplin event, as well as links to published information  about the project.



Images of Master Naturalists at Work


Master Naturalists pitched in to help with cleanup of the lake at Valley Water Mill Park July 19. Here are some images of our ever-enthusiastic Mary McCarthy, class of 2011, hard at it.

For the third year, Bob Ranney worked with the City of Battlefield to organize a native tree and shrub give-away day. On a rainy April 14, 2012, nearly a dozen Master Naturalists gathered at City Hall to hand out the trees. (Some had met the night before to organize the pre-orders). The rain kept some citizens away, but the Parks Department director was confident the trees would be claimed next week.

Here are Bob Ranney handing a tree bundle to a happy customer; Debbie Due and Marlyss Simmons locating a tree bundle; and Mort Shurtz, Darrell Blech, Doris Ewing and Karolyn Holdren working the walk-in table. Not shown: Allan Keller, Ann Morris and Jennifer Ailor.


Christian County Watershed Festival 2012

Since 2004 The James River Basin Partnership (JRBP) has partnered with other organizations to offer Watershed Education Festivals to 5th grade students in counties within the James River Basin. Master Naturalists Bob Ranney (pictured left), Mort Shurtz, and a friend, J.D. Slaughter, seined crayfish just below the Valley Water Mill Dam for the Christian County Watershed Festival held in Nixa on February 8th-9th and 14th-16th.

Ann Morris (left) is shown here teaching some 9-year-olds at a Buffalo elementary school about insects and spiders.  She and  Jennifer Ailor did the lesson June 6.







GLADE 2012

The Green Leadership Academy for Diverse Ecosystems (GLADE) is an innovative conservation leadership project  developed by the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society and the Missouri State University Biology Department. The Springfield Plateau Chapter of the Missouri Master Naturalists participated again this year.

Founded in 2009, GLADE selects sixteen outstanding, conservation-oriented young people to participate in a variety of hands-on ecology activities that include bird banding, water quality monitoring, habitat restoration, leadership development, and community improvement. The seven day in residence conservation academy took place from June 17-23, 2012, at the Bulls Shoals Field Station in the Drury-Mincy Conservation Area (Taney County). Pictures of our chapter members at GLADE are below:


On a cool September morning in 2011 that soon warmed up, Master Naturalists Charley Burwick and Jennifer Ailor joined with Audubon members Dave Catlin and Lisa Berger to supervise a team of Missouri State University students at the Watershed Committee of the Ozarks’ new facility at Valley Water Mill Park.

Over the course of about three hours, the group planted and mulched several dozen trees and shrubs in front of the entrance to the building. Others took a break from the shovels and picks to load up gravel from the lake and spread it along the trail linking the connecting bridges over the marsh. Others dug two deep holes and placed poles for bird feeders.  It was a productive morning!

A tiny snake found amongst the roots of one of the trees to be planted provided some unexpected entertainment…

A few days later, Master Naturalists Charley Burwick and Dan Crain moved a large boulder into place at the site to serve as a bubbler for birds.

Watch for other opportunities to volunteer and accumulate service hours at Valley Water Mill Park.

On Thursday, June 23, 2011, seven Master Naturalists shared their personal accounts of connecting with nature with students participating in the Green Leadership Academy for a Diverse Ecosystem (GLADE) program at Drury-Mincy Conservation Area.  In the images below, troubador Bob Ranney entertains the students and leaders. As a bonus, the group spotted as many as six wild elk on the property!

GLADE is a program for area teenagers developed by Missouri State University’s Biology Department and the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society. Teens spend seven days on site at Bull Shoals Field Station helping restore habitat and learning about environmental issues and projects. The program’s mission is to develop future environmental leaders.

Here are some images from a riparian bank planting on Bull Creek in April 2011 in which Master Naturalists and property owners in the Bull Creek Association worked to stabilize an eroding bank.


Here are images from a Swan Creek Stream Team.

Here’s a sampling of the butterflies we helped nurture at the Butterfly House at Close Memorial Park last summer for the Butterfly Festival:


Here are photos of some of the Master Naturalists involved with shrub plantings and rain gardens.



Keep up to date with Springfield Plateau Chapter volunteer opportunities, monthly programs, field trips and more at our calendar.

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