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Archive for Monday, April 13, 1992

LAND LOVER

April 13, 1992

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Charlie Stough is no stranger to working on behalf of the environment.

At age 77, he's put in more years of lobbying and activism on behalf of the land in Kansas than most people.

Stough, a local attorney with Stough and Catt law firm, recently was named to the board of directors of KANSAS WILDSCAPE Foundation, a non-profit group that raises funds and solicits land donations to help conserve wildlife resources and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities in the state.

The agency maintains a primary office at 1611 St. Andrews Dr. in Lawrence and a satellite office in Wichita.

Fred DeVictor, director of the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, also is on the board, along with other Kansans from across the state.

Stough said he might have been asked to join the group because of his own environmental work in the state, which began in the 1940s.

"I've been involved in environmental activities about as long as I can remember," he said. "Raymond Hall, who was professor of mammology and systematics at KU, got me interested in preserving the land.

"AT THAT TIME, it was some land that was to become some of the last of the tall grass prairies. Before I knew it, I was really hooked."

Stough's efforts include preservation of the Baker Wetlands south of Lawrence in the 1950s, and ongoing work on the establishment of a national park or monument in the Flint Hills.

"I'd say every little bit helps" in strategic environmental planning, he said. "The most encouraging sign is the proliferation of organizations involved in the environment."

In addition to his work as a private attorney and environmental activist, he served on Lawrence city council from 1939 to 1942, as city attorney for Lawrence from 1947 to 1968, and city attorney for Eudora from 1936 to 1987.

STOUGH ALSO represented Douglas County in the Kansas Legislature from 1947 to 1955, serving as majority leader in 1951 and speaker of the house in 1953.

He said good political leadership is needed today to preserve land and other natural resources.

"Probably, numerically, the electorate interested in the environment is greater than it has ever been," he said.

Stough said that during the years, significant effort had gone into preservation of the Baker Wetlands and attempts to establish a tall grass prairie national park in Kansas.

He added, though, that setbacks and disappointments were not uncommon for environmentalists.

"WE WERE ALL disappointed when the Elkins Prairie was plowed," he said, referring to an area of virgin prairie west of Lawrence that was plowed by its owner in November 1990.

"I was disappointed, but when you have as many disappointments as I've had, you get used to them."

Stough said it is important to instill a sense of environmental awareness in children.

"You can just see, with the passage of time, all these (environmentally sensitive) areas shrinking," he said. "I would like to see an area nearby where they could go" and learn about natural plants and wildlife.

In addition to his membership on the KANSAS WILDSCAPE board, Stough is active with several other organizations. Among them are Douglas County and Kansas State Historical Societies, Lawrence Arts Center, Kansas University's Museum of Natural History and Museum of Anthropology, Friends of the University Libraries, KU Law Society and KU Endowment Association's board of trustees.

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