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Boots on the Ground | Shoal Creek Woodlands for Wildlife

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Rachel Hopkins uses the word “heartburn” to describe moments when she and her dad, Steve Yokom, size up new conservation practices for their Missouri farm. Both have a keen eye for business, but change can demand a deep swallow.

Rachel credits local landowners and conservation managers who had a conversation in 2008 for making it easier. “There wasn’t much trust in the room that day,” she says, “but we needed to hear what was bugging everyone and figure out what we could do together.”

The group became Shoal Creek Woodlands for Wildlife, a bottom-up, self-organized farmer-led committee. Fisheries biologist Rob Pulliam, who helped get things started, says, “Everyone participated in scoping our challenge, identifying needs, setting goals and implementing practices.”

In this conversation, meet Rachel, Rob and Abigail Lambert, Ozark Land Trust river stewardship manager. Hear how their flexible collaborative gets things done.