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Bass Pro conservation director to retire

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Bass Pro Shops Conservation Director Martin MacDonald is slated to retire at year’s end.

MacDonald, who’d also led media, public and community relations, corporate giving and outdoor skills education during his 25 years with Bass Pro, has a nearly 50-year career in conservation. In retirement, he plans to explore the Ozarks and spend more time with family, according to a news release.

“Martin’s tireless enthusiasm and passion for conservation has helped protect thousands of acres of habitat and introduce millions of kids to the outdoors,” Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris said in the release. “Beyond Martin’s excitement for conservation is his love for people from all walks of life. He brings a very big heart into everything he does, and we couldn’t be more grateful to him for sharing his passion with so many of us over the years.”

Bass Pro’s two other conservation directors, Bob Ziehmer and Rob Keck, will continue to lead the company’s conversation efforts in MacDonald’s stead, said company spokesman Jack Wlezien.

Among his achievements at Bass Pro, MacDonald is credited with founding Outdoor Days, through which in 2018 alone, more than 300,000 children and families participated in such activities as camping, canoeing, fishing, archery and rock climbing. He also co-founded the Wonders of the Outdoor World National Outdoor Recreation School, which hosts free events in the Midwest, and the Bass Pro Fitness Series, which includes the Conservation Marathon Weekend and the Dogwood Canyon Trail Run, according to the release.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last year awarded MacDonald a Lifetime Achievement Award for helping to establish the nation’s first Fish Habitat Initiative in partnership with Morris and the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council. The initiative has created 680 projects in 50 states, restoring more than 28,000 acres and 1,600 miles of rivers.

A member of Springfield Business Journal’s 2015 class of Men of the Year, MacDonald is a founding board member for the James River Basin Partnership and the Upper White River Watershed Basin Foundation, and he’s worked civically with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Prior to joining Bass Pro, MacDonald was director of development for the National 4-H Council in Washington, D.C., according to the release.

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