In 2007, Howard and Joyce Wood made the largest gift in the history of the Conservancy in Missouri, a $2 million challenge gift that will help conserve approximately 16,000 acres in the Current River watershed in the Missouri Ozarks. With this gift, the Conservancy is working directly with private landowners to ensure sustainable forest management.
In critical areas, the Conservancy will implement a conservation buyer program to acquire targeted lands when they come on the market and create permanent conservation easements on the land to sustain water quality, timber quality and critical natural features. The lands will then be publicly marketed to provide both conservation benefits and sustainably managed forests.
The program will generate multiple benefits, including retaining land in private ownership and supporting communities by keeping the land in the local tax base. In addition, it will sustain the water quality for globally unique and irreplaceable plants and animals as well as ensure the long-term survival of the vast woodlands in the Ozarks.
"Nowhere are ecology and economy more closely linked than in southeastern Missouri Ozarks in the watersheds of the Current, Eleven Point and Jack's Fork rivers," said Howard Wood. "Joyce and I wanted to take a leadership role to achieve this large-scale project with the Conservancy."
"Our gift will encourage other private contributions from major donors by matching gifts dollar for dollar," Wood added.
Howard and Joyce Wood are motivated by the belief that both the biological and economic health of the region can be preserved through implementation of thoughtful strategies involving appropriate development and sustainable land management practices. By using these best management practices, the forest product industry can sustainably and successfully harvest the timber.
The Woods have fond memories of growing up in the Ozarks. Joyce Wood wants to make sure that her grandchildren and their children will continue to experience the beauty of the Ozarks like she did for so many years. The Woods believe that only through sound economics in the Ozarks will future generations have that opportunity. Through their generous matching gift to the Campaign for Conservation, the Woods have made an investment in the Ozarks and the future.December 27, 2010