John Behrer has retired from the Shaw Nature Reserve at Villa Ridge after a 39-year career there, 35 years as superintendent/director. The 2,400-acre Reserve made steady progress under his guidance.

A retirement barbecue was held Saturday evening at the Reserve. He was recognized for his leadership and hands-on work.

Among the many people there was Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, president of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the owner and operator of the Reserve. For many years it was known as the Shaw Arboretum.

Most of the additions and improvements at the Reserve came under the leadership of Behrer, who made the most of his budget, which at times could be called meager. He and officials at the Garden recruited a talented staff that not only assisted in advances in maintaining and adding to the plant and animal life, but provided educational programs for all ages.

The Reserve is a Franklin County gem that draws thousands of visitors annually. Behrer can look with pride on his and his staff’s accomplishments during the many years he was in charge.