Springfield, MO

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SPS superintendent named top conservation educator

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Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Norm Ridder was named Missouri Conservation Educator of the Year by the Conservation Federation of Missouri at its annual conference held Feb. 25.

The Conservation Federation of Missouri, based in Jefferson City, presents the award to an individual in recognition of education efforts directed toward the conservation of natural resources, according to an SPS news release.

The organization cited two conservation projects in which Ridder and SPS were involved - the Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility and the Nature Unleashed program.

SPS partners with Bass Pro Shops and the Wonders of Wildlife museum in the WOLF program, which teaches outdoor conservation science to 5th grade students. The classroom is at the Wonders of Wildlife Educational Center, 720 W. Sunshine St., according to the program's Web site.

More than 200 students apply for the program annually and 46 are randomly selected, the release said.

SPS partners with the Missouri Department of Conservation for the Nature Unleashed program. The initiative has trained 68 SPS teachers to use specialized curriculum to teach students about Missouri's fish, forest and wildlife resources.

Ridder also will be featured in the May issue of Missouri Wildlife magazine, according to the release.

The Conservation Federation of Missouri is the state's affiliate of the National Wildlife Federation, according to its Web site.
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