(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