Kansas Couple Gives Back to the Earth
Shirley & Jim Ruder
Jim and Shirley Ruder, owners of Bundleflower Plant and Wildlife Preserve in Wakeeney, Kansas, are making a difference.
The Ruder’s 160-acre preserve is a model of plantings, food plots, pond and waterfowl wetland, and an oak grove. It has become a haven for white-tail deer, pheasants, bluebirds, bobwhite quail, wild turkeys, mourning doves and a host of songbirds.
The Ruder Family’s ownership of the land traces to the late 1930’s when it was purchased by Jim’s grandfather. Jim’s parents used it as a wheat farm until passing it on to Jim. Jim and Shirley had a different vision for the land; they both agreed it was time to give back to the earth and have a place where the entire family could interact with the natural world.
“We began by planting black walnut trees and perennial food plants like bundleflowers that provide food and cover for animals. We created food plots and nesting areas and built a pond and wetland for migratory waterfowl,” said Jim. And not only would it be a great place for the family to enjoy, it would also provide education, serve as a venue for conservation seminars and be ideal for youth field days.
When the Ruders visited Arbor Day Farm, they discovered that the conservation demonstrations there were a large-scale version of the vision they had for their Bundleflower Preserve education for all ages and ideas for how to give back to the earth. “It has to start in everybody’s backyard,” says Jim. Because of the shared vision for a sustainable future they found at Arbor Day Farm, Jim and Shirley decided to include the Foundation in their estate plans. Jim modestly summed up this generosity saying, “It is just another way to ensure the earth is ready for future generations to enjoy.”