Conservation Connection: The “Showboat” & Rockwoods 75th Anniversary

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(KPLR) - The Missouri Department of Conservation recently marked its 75th year milestone and they have a historic piece of its past in the St. Louis area.  Naturalist Matt Ormsby joined John Fuller to talk about the “Showboat”, and gave him a heads up about another 75th anniversary celebration coming up Thursday.

Q.  What was the “Showboat”?

  • A 1946 Chevy truck purchased by the MDC as a public relations tool
  • It was outfitted with educational materials and a generator with a 16mm movie projector


Q. What purpose did it serve?

  • MDC staff used it to travel the Ozarks in the 1940s and 1950s to educate the public about forest fire prevention
  • Frequent wildfires set by people in rural areas were a real challenge to efforts to re-establish the Ozark forests, which had been cut over decades before
  • The Showboat (as it became known) went from town to town, showing Conservation movies, often using generator power in places that didn’t yet have electricity
  • The education efforts eventually paid off and were a big help in bringing back the forests we have today
  • This is also the time Smokey Bear was created by the U.S. Forest Service to help spread the same message


Q.  Where is the Showboat usually on display?

  • MDC’s Twin Pines Conservation Center near Winona
  • But it will make an appearance at a special event Thursday


Q. What’s the event?

  • Rockwoods Reservation 75th Anniversary Celebration
  • Rockwoods was the first property purchased by the Conservation Department back in 1938
  • We’re commemorating the anniversary with a special event Thursday from 1:00p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
  • Free and open to the public


Q.  Tell us what you’ve got planned.

  • Special programs about Rockwoods history from 1:00-5:00pm
  • Family picnic from 5:00-7:00pm
  • Live Ozark music concert from 7:00-9:00pm


Q. Where is Rockwoods Reservation?

  • Off Highway 109 in Wildwood, between Highway 100 and I-44


Q.  How can we find out more?

For information and free tickets, call 636-458-2236

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