Rural Missouri - March 2013 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart Partners for wildlife A by Barry Hart bhart@amec.coop nyone who has lived in Missouri for any length of time knows the state is an outdoor paradise. No matter where you live or travel in our state, Missouri is a great place to hunt, fish or just enjoy the outdoors. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, money spent in Missouri on wildlife-related recreation totaled $2.76 billion in 2011. More than a million Missourians participate in hunting and fishing every year. You won’t find a bigger group of outdoors-oriented people than the folks who run your electric cooperative. It’s not unusual to see employees or directors sharing photos of the big buck or wild turkey they harvested when they attend one of our many training meetings. This love for the outdoors recently translated into a big honor for the state’s electric cooperatives. In February, the Conservation Federation of Missouri honored Missouri’s electric cooperatives as the Conservation Organization of the Year. The award is the result of a conscious effort by electric cooperatives to minimize our impact on nature. Obviously, generating electricity, along with building and maintaining power lines in rural areas, is going to have an effect on wildlife and the landscape. But the leaders of your electric coop want to do everything they can to protect the environment. They asked, is it possible to do what we do in a way that benefits wildlife? The answer to that — provided in part by the Conservation Federation — is yes. Our conservation efforts begin with an aggressive program to encourage energy conservation and the billions of dollars spent to install equipment that protects our environment here in Missouri. This cooperative philosophy not only is good for us but good for our state’s wildlife, too. Power supplier Associated Electric Cooperative has been honored for its work reclaiming a former coal mine, leav- ing the land in better shape than it was to begin with. Associated’s power plant locations have been used as nesting sites for peregrine falcon and osprey. It also was honored for its pioneering role in bringing wind power to Missouri. Missouri’s electric cooperatives work with a host of wildlife agencies to find solutions for protecting endangered species, in particular the Indiana bat. This ongoing effort is being recognized as a model of how utilities can find ways to improve both the delivery of electricity and the habitat for wildlife. Our most recent efforts include a pilot project that will look for new methods of clearing right of way so quail, turkey and deer can benefit. “Today, deer are plentiful, and everyone has access to electricity, no matter where they live.” Barry Hart Missouri’s electric co-ops have found a natural fit with the Conservation Federation, because in many cases we are the same people. Those involved in the conservation movement share the same humble rural beginnings as the electric co-ops. When the two organizations got started in the 1930s, there were few deer in the woods, and almost no farms had electricity. Today, deer are plentiful, and everyone has access to electricity, no matter where they live. That’s why we have been proud to support the efforts of the federation as it works to improve habitat for wildlife in our great state. We both realize that improving Missouri’s wildlife habitat also improves rural Missouri’s economy and rural communities. The $2.76 billion spent proves that. If you see me hiking on a trail, donating a deer to the Share the Harvest program, dressed in my wild turkey camo or landing a huge trout with my fly rod, I hope you’ll say hello and tell me you’re glad your cooperative is involved in wildlife conservation! If you send Rural Missouri a picture of your trophy deer, turkey or fish, tell the editor to share it with me — I’d like to see it! Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Guest Column Awfully young for colon cancer S by Danielle Ripley-Burgess info@ruralmissouri.coop ome people are told, “You have beautiful eyes!” or “What a pretty smile!” each time they meet someone new. But for the past 12 years when I got to know someone I would often hear, “Wow, you are awfully young for colon cancer!” Just a few weeks after my 17th birthday, I finally visited a doctor about recurring symptoms spotted for years. It started out as something innocent — a little blood in the stool. As an active volleyball-playing teenager, I thought nothing about the blood. A quick Web search convinced me I had hemorrhoids, which made sense for someone my age. The bleeding would come and go. But, then it got worse. My schedule got busier. I stopped eating red foods like catsup, tomatoes and licorice, ignorantly thinking a revised diet made blood go away. Sharp stomach pains appeared. Finally one day after I confided in my boyfriend about my “issues,” my parents caught wind of my problem and called a doctor. Over the phone, my general physician’s office knew it was bad. They immediately referred me to a gastroenterologist, Dr. Marc Taormina, who scheduled a colonoscopy within days. Nobody, including the doctor, expected a colon tumor to appear in the scope. I was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer (there are only four stages). Surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation consumed the following eight months. In between treatments, I studied from home and shopped for a prom dress. I insisted on attending the dance even if I lost my hair. (Fortunately, I did not.) I began my senior year of high school just weeks after my last chemotherapy treatment. In January 2013, I celebrated the 12th anniversary of my colon cancer diagnosis. A second recurrence four years ago reminded me of my fight. Today, my passion for health and early colon screening is amplified. When people hear my story, eyes light up in shock. Yes, I am an odd case. Most occurrences of colon cancer do not appear until “Take every action possible to prevent a cancer story. Let people focus on eyes and smile instead.” Danielle Ripley-Burgess MARCH 2013 later in life, although the number of young colon cancer patients continues to grow. But, despite my uniqueness, I am also a poster child for early cancer screening. I could have avoided stage III colon cancer by getting an earlier colonoscopy. When I urge others to get screened either because of their symptoms, family history or age (everyone over age 50 needs screened), many roll eyes and shy away. Trust me, I understand why the line for a colonoscopy is short. But, my story goes to prove regular physician visits and cancer screening is critical . . . and life-saving. I encourage everyone — young and old — to be proactive about health. See a doctor if any concerns or symptoms appear. Get a colonoscopy starting at age 50, or earlier if there is a family history of colon cancer. Do not use the Internet to determine a diagnosis. Take every action possible to prevent a cancer story. Let people focus on eyes and smile instead. Burgess, a lifelong Lee’s Summit resident, is a 12-year cancer survivor and serves on the board of directors for The Colon Club. She turns 30 this year. 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - March 2013

Rural Missouri - March 2013
Table of Contents
Comments
Columns
Musings in mud
The lure of tying flies
Outdoors
Out of the Way Eats
Living history
Queens of the court
Homegrown music
Hearth and Home
All about mulch
Around Missouri
Marketplace
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - March 2013

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