Skip Navigation

Conservation on the Ground ... Sowing Habitat | WHIP Success Story

Conservation on the Ground ... Sowing Habitat

Schultzes make room for wildlife at their farm

Wayne Schultz of Marquette, KansasAs a child, Wayne Schultz doesn't remember many trees on the rolling landscape near Kanopolis Reservoir.

As an adult Schultz is doing his best to make sure other generations don't experience the same loss of nature.

"I'd just as soon leave this place in a little better shape than I found it," he said. Schultz and his wife of 44 years, Doris, are this year's recipients of the wildlife habitat award presented by the Ellsworth County Conservation District.

The award isn't a first for the couple, who started dating as students at Marquette High School. Over the years, they have been recognized for their conservation practices and wildlife work.

Schultz, who raises cattle, alfalfa and grain, lives on Kansas 141 - 1/2-mile north of Kansas Highway 4.

This year's award follows a project — his biggest yet — on land owned by J. Richard Johnson, a retired McPherson physician.

With the blessing of Johnson and the help of representatives from Pheasants Forever and conservation agencies, Schultz planted evergreens and other trees — 900 in all — and returned 17 acres of farm ground to native grass.

"It wasn't just me," he said. "It was a combination of landowner, and the conservation people up here have been outstanding - anything I want to do, they were ready to help."

Schultz, 65, said nearby Kanopolis Reservoir was started before World War II, and dedicated in 1948, when he was 8 years old.

The area is much different than he remembers from those early years. "There was not a tree on Kanopolis Reservoir. That's hard to believe, but the lake was just a mud hole then," he said.

Schultz, who now farms the places where he and his wife grew up, has added terraces, waterways, buffer strips, shelter belts and other conservation structures.

On the Johnson land, the effort has paid off in more quail and pheasants. "These are little refuge areas that don't pay to farm. It doesn't take much with wildlife—as long as they have a place to nest," Schultz said. Schultz doesn't plan to stop his conservation work anytime soon.

The next project will be on his homeplace. He doesn't have a plan yet, but he expects to plant another 200 to 250 trees and return more ground to native grass.

Schultz said his son-in-law, Jeff Cunningham, also enjoys planting trees. Jeff and Dorine Cunningham live south of her parents. Wayne and Mary Schultz also have a son, Wade of Marquette.

Conservation At A Glance
Natural Resource Concern ... Partners and Financial Assistance Provided by ...
Upland game birds habitat

How Addressed:

  • Number of Acres: 8 acres
  • Planted 5 acres of cropland native grass and forbs
  • Planted 3 acres to a combination of trees and shrubs: eastern red cedar, golden currant, sand hill plum, and peking cotoneaster
  • 900 trees/shrubs planted
  • 6,200 feet weed barrier used
Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • Technical Assistance
  • Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)

Ellsworth County Conservation District

Quail Unlimited

Pheasants Forever

Story by Linda Mower Denning, Ellsworth County (Kansas) Independent-Reporter. Photo by Ellsworth Independent-Reporter.
used by permission

This story is also available for download and requires Acrobat Reader.

Conservation on the Ground ... Sowing Habitat (PDF; 157 KB)