Rhoades Park Ribbon Cutting1_Craig Roy.jpg

NEWTON, Kan. – Dec. 11, 2023 – On Nov. 30, Ducks Unlimited (DU) joined the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) and other organizations supporting the construction of the R. Michael Rhoades Wetland Park at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Newton, Kansas, dedicating the facility and officially opening it to the public.
KAWS, a nonprofit whose mission is to connect the waters, lands, and people of Kansas, spearheaded the project using funds donated by DU, The R. Michael Rhoades Foundation, The Sunderland Foundation, The Evergy GreenTeam, Cargill, NextEra and local organizations.
Construction began in 2021. Now completed, the park occupies 7.4-acres inside a larger 19-acre park near the Newton Wastewater Treatment Plant, and features wetlands, walking paths, boardwalks, education signs, custom murals, plenty of areas to view waterfowl and over 150 other bird species and unique birding-by-ear elements for blind or park users with poor vision.
"This project is the culmination of work from not only organizations like KAWS and DU that are vested in improving wildlife habitat and protecting it for future generations, but also from so many volunteers who committed their time, energy, and resources to create something we think Mike Rhoades would be proud of. It's just one of the things that makes this park so special," said KAWS Executive Director Libby Albers.
Though the park required four years of planning, fundraising, volunteering and construction, the idea originated from trustees at the R. Michael Rhoades Foundation, an organization that awards grants to spotlight Harvey County, Kansas, residents who have made a lasting mark on the area's outdoor opportunities. Michael Rhoades, who treasured his time outside, died of cancer in 1992, and the foundation thought it only fitting to name the park in his honor.
"We are thrilled to partner with so many other great organizations and agencies on this project that will not only forever celebrate a man revered by his community, but also perpetually educate visitors on the importance of wetlands and wildlife in a fun and relaxing setting," said DU's Kansas Manager of Conservation Programs Matt Hough. "We hope countless visitors, both young and old, use the park for recreation and as a source of inspiration in the years to come."
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing wetlands, grasslands and other waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has restored or protected more than 16 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU's projects benefit waterfowl, wildlife and people in all 50 states. DU is growing its mission through a historic $3 billion Conservation For A Continent capital campaign. Learn more at www.ducks.org.

Media Contact:
Ben Romans
(208) 761-7775