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Governor's Natural Resources Award of Excellence

awards image Governor's Natural Resources Awards of Excellence winners - group photo

The future of Missouri's natural resources depends on the efforts of every community, business, organization, farmer and citizen. Many innovative Missourians are leading the way in the protection and enhancement of our natural resources. Their actions deserve the highest recognition.

Gov. Nixon and Director Sara Parker Pauley announced the very first Governor’s Natural Resources Awards of Excellence at the Governor’s Conference on Natural Resources: Exploring Our Legacy Charting Our Future held on Nov. 12-13, 2014 in Springfield. The awards were presented to a select few Missouri organizations, businesses and individuals who have excelled in one or more areas, demonstrating leadership, innovation and a comprehensive environmental ethic in effectively managing natural resources.

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And the Winners Are...

Six awards were presented, one each in the following Award Recipient Categories:

Photo of Green Circle Projects - Governor's Natural Resources Awards of Excellence winnerGreen Circle Projects

Award of Excellence for Small Business and Industry (up to 200 employees)

Green Circle Projects is a project management company owned and operated by Matt O’Reilly — a Springfield native. The company is actively engaged in promoting sustainable development in Springfield. Green Circle Projects recent successes include:

Farmers Park A 156,000 sf mixed use commercial development featuring office, retail, and residential space. The area features LEED®-certified build-ings, lots, and landscaping—all designed and constructed for low impact and long-term sustainability. Farmers Park serves the Ozarks region as a commu-nity-oriented center of activity where individuals and families can embrace healthy, happy lifestyles while supporting local farmers and businesses.

Farmers Market of the Ozarks (FMO) The market was founded in 2012 and hosts more than 100 vendors from across the Ozarks gathering to sell their handmade, raised, grown and harvested products to the local community. The market is board governed and serves as the central nonprofit partner organization to Farmers Park. Green Circle is the market’s business manager and founder.

TrailSpring / Two Rivers Mountain Bike Park A trail building nonprofit that exists for the purpose of building natural surface shared use trails in and around Springfield.

Two Rivers is the first offering in TrailSpring’s 30 in 3 initiative, which will bring 30 miles of professionally designed singletrack to the Springfield area within just three years. TrailSpring has funded area boy-scout projects, camp trail systems, and a regional trail assessment study. Like Two Rivers, additional trails built through 30 in 3 will attract visitors from all over the Midwest and beyond, boosting tourism and pumping cash into the regional economy. Congratulations and thank you to Green Circle Projects and Matt O'Reilly for your dedication and caring for Missouri's natural resources!

Photo of Watershed Committee of the Ozarks - Governor's Natural Resources Awards of Excellence winnerWatershed Committee
of the Ozarks

Award of Excellence for Service/Civic/Nonprofit Organization, or Individual (Kiwanis, Lions Club, Pheasants Forever, watershed group, etc.)

Watershed Committee of the Ozarks (WCO) is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 whose mission is to sustain and improve the water resources of Springfield and Greene County through education and effective management of the region’s watershed. The City of Springfield, Greene County, and City Utilities of Springfield have sponsored the Watershed Committee since 1984. This operational support enables the WCO to further leverage funds by creating partnerships, writing grants, and seeking private sup-port, resulting in a huge return on investment for the sponsors and for the citizens of the community.

The WCO strives to achieve comprehensive community participation to preserve and protect water resources in the region. They achieve this through connecting all age groups and education levels, from kindergarteners to engineers, with useful information on local resources to keep water clean and plentiful. Monthly public meetings provide a forum to discuss watershed issues and concerns. Student internships, stream and lake cleanups, adopt-a-spring programs, field trips, and training are just some of the methods WCO uses to foster involvement of the community. Additionally, the WCO created the Watershed Center at Valley Water Mill Park which is visited by hundreds of students on educational field trips each year. Congratulations and thank you to Watershed Committee of the Ozarks for your dedication and caring for Missouri's natural resources!

Photo of Kenny Brinker - Governor's Natural Resources Awards of Excellence winnerKenny Brinker - Harrison Creek Farm LLC

Award of Excellence for Agriculture (operation, farm, or other ag-related business or organization)

Harrison Creek Farm LLC is a 2,900 sow farrow-to-finish operation owned by three entities, including Brinker Farms Inc. The farm is approximately 3,500 acres in Callaway County and all hogs are processed in a member owned slaughter plant in St. Joseph.

The Brinker family continually looks for ways to improve their operations. Innovative barn design and the invention of a unique portable disinfection unit help ensure employee safety and productivity during cleaning and disinfection.

The Brinker’s have worked hard to improve the land for future generations. They have worked extensively with the local Soil and Water District to construct terraces and install waterways, including two ponds and an 8-acre lake to assist erosion control. In addition, they have implemented a no-till corn/soybean rotation and have utilized variable rate fertilization for many years, decreasing the risk for over application of nutrients.

Conservation of the land is not their only goal. They have also conducted a timber stand improvement program to allow tree species to thrive. Each year they plant wheat, clover, or grain crops to benefit local wildlife. They have increased quail and rabbit habitat on their property by planting beneficial grasses and other species along field edges. Congratulations and thank you to Kenny Brinker and Harrison Creek Farm LLC for your dedication and caring for Missouri's natural resources!

Photo of Missouri State University - Governor's Natural Resources Awards of Excellence winnerMissouri State University

Award of Excellence for Institution/Public Sector Facility or Educator (school, hospital, college, teacher, etc.)

Missouri State University (MSU) is a comprehensive public university system with a public affairs mission and a focus on ethical leadership, cultural com-petence and community engagement. Through education and community outreach, MSU provides students with the knowledge and skills to be environmentally responsible citizens who consider the global ramifications of their actions.

Officials at the University are committed to living those values by minimizing the University’s environmental impact in several ways. In 1996, MSU implemented an Energy Management System, which has resulted in significant reductions in emissions, including over 241,000 tons of CO2 emissions. In addition, they are implementing space scheduling - consolidating weekend and evening classes into fewer buildings, reducing energy demands in the now unoccupied buildings.

Finally, the campus recently celebrated October 2014 as Energy Awareness Month, a campus-wide challenge to reduce energy use and raise awareness of energy consumption.

These programs are the result of strong collaboration among many campus entities, including student organizations. Congratulations and thank you to Missouri State University for your dedication and caring for Missouri's natural resources!

Photo of Missouri American Water - Governor's Natural Resources Awards of Excellence winnerMissouri American Water

Award of Excellence for Large Business and Industry (more than 200 employees)

Missouri American Water serves approximately 1.5 million people in more than 100 communities in Missouri. A significant portion of this water supply comes from the Missouri River, where Missouri American Water operates four drinking water treatment facilities. To maintain that valuable source of water supply Missouri American Water has adopted a special responsibility for river stewardship and partnered with several organizations to raise awareness and work to preserve the river.

Missouri American Water has partnered with Missouri River Relief, Great Rivers Greenway, and Missouri Stream Team for more than a decade to sponsor and participate in annual river clean-up events along the Missouri River. In addition, two-thirds of the company’s employees have volunteered for a river-related project during the past five years. This history of volunteerism and support for rivers was recognized in 2012 with the Stream Team’s Benefactor Award.

Missouri American Water also works to foster understanding of watershed issues in their service communities. More than one million Missouri residents have received watershed protection brochures with information about sustainable landscaping, rain gardens and simple household steps for watershed protection. Congratulations and thank you to Missouri American Water for your dedication and caring for Missouri's natural resources!

Photo of Mid-America Regional Council - Governor's Natural Resources Awards of Excellence winnerMid-America Regional Council

Award of Excellence for Community/Local Government

The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) is the regional planning organization for the nine county, bi-state Kansas City area. MARC provides a venue for collaboration among local, state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and community leaders, to collectively identify environmental protection strategies that contribute to community and economic development. MARC works to maximize stakeholder participation and community engagement, and it’s eight environmental committees include more than 150 stakeholders. MARC’s achievements include:

Water Quality - As a result of a partnership with the American Public Works Association, MARC developed new engineering standards for stormwater management and erosion control, as well as a Manual of Best Practices to Protect Water Quality.

Transportation Corridors - MARC has constructed nearly 300 miles of corridors for alternative transportation, and developed plans for an additional 1,144 miles of corridors. This resulted from development of a regional green infrastructure plan spurred by the MetroGreen and Linking Conservation and Transportation planning committees.

Education and Training - In 2008, MARC formed the Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC). ASC has hosted 385 workshops and training programs for more than 15,000 participants on topics such as stormwater management and sustainable land use planning.

Air Quality - MARC developed a comprehensive, community-based, voluntary strategy for reducing ozone pollution in the Kansas City Region. They also developed the Clean Air Action Plan, and published a children’s book to raise awareness about ozone. Congratulations and thank you to Mid-America Regional Council for your dedication and caring for Missouri's natural resources!

Photo of Vannessa Frazier -  Governor's Natural Resources Awards of Excellence winnerVannessa Frazier

Governor's Natural Resources Champion Award

Vannessa Frazier has worked and volunteered in the Missouri Bootheel for more than 35 years. Vannessa is the Executive Director of Howardville Community Betterment, a Red Cross Instructor, and Community Mental Health Counselor. Additionally, she serves on the board of Directors for the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition and is the coordinator of the Association of Stream Teams in Southeast Missouri.

Vannessa continually works with local and county officials in the Missouri Bootheel and with numerous partners and agencies through grants and presentations. She recently wrote an EPA Brownfield Cleanup grant for the City of Howardville to cleanup asbestos and lead-based paint from an unused school building. The restored building is a historic site and will serve as a community center to hold community events, a job training center and an emergency shelter. The job training center’s first class began on July 7, 2014 and 15 trainees graduated on October 11, 2014. The training will be offered to citizens of five counties in the Missouri Bootheel.

As a member of Stream Team 1617, Vannessa has organized many river clean-up events. In 2013, after New Madrid County discontinued a tire cleanup pro-gram, Stream Team 1617 stepped in and continued the program with Stream Team partner Bridgestone. The event properly disposed of 850 tires. The 2014 Father’s Day tire roundup netted 2,086 tires that will no longer pose a threat to the health and safety of bootheel residents.

Vannessa’s qualifications, determination and dedication to her community are truly emblematic of a Natural Resources Champion. Congratulations and thank you to Vannessa Frazier for your dedication and caring for Missouri's natural resources!

gallery images of Missouri's outstanding natural resources.

2014 Governor's Conference on Natural Resources