The Nature Conservancy announced today that Preston Mabry has been hired as the new Current River Project Manager in the Missouri Ozarks. Mabry will work to restore and preserve the health of natural communities in the Ozarks, including the Current River Watershed. By collaborating with private landowners, government agencies, producer groups, and other stakeholders, Mabry will develop and implement strategies for sustainable land management practices that promote biodiversity, preserve critical natural features, and prevent degradation of lands, rivers, and streams.
Mabry has deep roots in the Ozarks. He was born and raised in Van Buren and has lived along the Current River most of his life. “I remember camping, fishing, and enjoying spending time on the gravel bar with my dad when I was young. I look back and hope I can bring those same memories to my children,” Mabry said.
Mabry’s love for the Ozarks and his commitment to conservation led him down a protection-minded career path. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, he worked as a conservation agent and conservation aide for the Missouri Department of Conservation for eight years, and he holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biology from Southeast Missouri State University. When asked about his new position, Mabry states, “Being raised on the Current River has given me a great love and passion for the area and the communities that thrive on it. I look forward to my role at the Conservancy, where I’ll be able to use sound management strategies to help protect the Current River watershed’s majestic scenery and exceptional biodiversity.”
An ancient, unglaciated landscape, the Ozarks are geologically extraordinary and encompass an incredible variety of habitats including caves, canebreaks, cliffs, rivers, springs, oak woodlands, pine forests, specialized wetlands, savannas, and glades. The region provides critical breeding habitat for migratory birds and shelters 407 globally significant species, including the endangered 150-million-year-old Ozark hellbender salamander. The region is also home to rare orchids, wood frogs, dragonflies, crayfish, mussels, and fish.
With support from donors and partners, the Conservancy has protected more than 91,000 acres in the Ozarks by placing permanent conservation easements on key lands in the region. These easements maintain water and timber quality by requiring sustainable forestry practices, while at the same time maintaining economic viability for the forest trade industry.
The Conservancy manages three preserves in the Ozarks, all open to the public for hiking, bird-watching, and other low-impact recreational activities. For more information, visit www.nature.org/missouri and click on “Places We Protect.”
The Ozarks have been a top conservation priority for the Conservancy since 1992.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.
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