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2008 WETLANDS FOR KIDS DAY A HUGE SUCCESS!!!

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Monsanto Fund Supports Outdoor Adventures for Tenth Year in a Row

ST. LOUIS, Mo., April 5, 2008 – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and Ducks Unlimited (DU) hosted the 10th Annual Wetlands for Kids Day event at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area on Saturday April 5. Nearly 4,000 children and adults attended to learn more about wildlife and wetlands. In a stellar show of continued support, the Monsanto Fund provided complete financial backing for the event.

“This was a record year for attendance,” said Dan Crigler, Private Land Conservationist for the MDC. “It is fantastic to see these children enjoying outdoor activities and learning about wetlands and wildlife.”

All children who registered at the event received a free goodie bag and a complimentary DU Greenwing membership all courtesy of the Monsanto Fund. Several Missouri outdoor organizations participated and helped introduce children to various aspects of the natural world.

“This was a record year for the Wetlands for Kids Day,” said DU Missouri State Chairwoman Jane Bell. “We registered 1,700 Greenwing youth members and had over 20 demonstration and activity stations. It takes extraordinary dedication and cooperation from multiple groups to make an event like this possible.”

“This event is a great way to spark the curiosity and inspire children to explore nature, and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Deborah Patterson, President of Monsanto Fund.

The MDC hosted several activities including a duck wing maze that led participants through a path to help them identify ducks using only the wing. An artificial beaver lodge built by MDC staff was set up for children to crawl inside to learn about the importance of beavers to wetlands.

A live-animal exhibit of fish, reptiles and amphibians gave visitors a close look at wetland-dependent wildlife. They had on hand a variety of animal pelts for kids to touch and compare the textures of different animal furs. MDC staff also helped the kids practice target shooting with air rifles and bows and arrows.

DU brought a collection of waterfowl mounts, so visitors could test their waterfowl identification skills and compare dabbling ducks like the mallard to diving ducks like the canvasback. DU also provided greenwing temporary tattoos that children sported on their cheeks and hands.

The Mississippi Valley Duck Hunters Association sponsored a coloring contest where the winners received a $10 gift certificate to Bass Pro Shops. Volunteers from the World Bird Sanctuary brought a great-horned owl, red-tailed hawk, peregrine falcon and turkey vulture to give attendees the opportunity to see these large birds up close. Representatives from the St. Louis Audubon Society showcased birds found at backyard birdfeeders and educated visitors about different foods birds eat based on beak shape.

Other big hits included members of the Ozark Fly Fishers Association who demonstrated the art of fly tying and Sorenson Kennels showcasing retriever training with several of their best Labrador retrievers.

Before they left the event, children who visited all the activity stations were given a tree to plant at home courtesy of the MDC and the George O. White Nursery.

The Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company. Incorporated in 1964, the Fund’s primary objective is to improve the lives of people by bridging the gap between their needs and their resources. The Monsanto Fund is focused on grant-making in four main areas: nutritional well-being through agriculture; science education, primarily on professional development for teachers; the environment, which includes conservation, protection of biodiversity, clean water and restoration of wildlife habitat; and improving the quality of life in communities where Monsanto employees live and work.

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.

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Andi Cooper           601-206-5463           acooper@ducks.org


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