Last year I posted from the Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) gathering as part of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM). This year was even more inspiring in that there were about 65 high school and college students from all over the state and they created at least 19 resolutions to bring before the various of the Federation’s committees (related to archery, parks, fishing, wildlife, hunting, conservation education, etc.). Their passion for keeping Missouri’s rich outdoor life healthy bubbled up in topics as diverse as supporting forest resource assessment, suggesting listing of Sericea lespedeza as a noxious weed and promoting the Discover Nature Schools program to get kids out of the classroom.
As with so many nature-related organizations these days, when you look over the crowd gathered at CFM meetings, you see a lot of gray hair…or no hair. Getting a new generation to turn their own ideas into actions on the landscape is critical. This year, the CLC included quite a few students who’ve been coming back for several years. One of them, Mark Corio, also now serves on the CFM board. Another is one of the committee chairs. This may sound like so much bureaucracy, but it’s not—it’s individuals working together to make good things happen for nature in Missouri and for Missourians’ quality of life overall. The wonderful fish, forests and wildlife that we have in this state didn’t just happen. It was individual citizens who took the time to put their heads together to push for positive change.
Several Missourians (the CLC youth, private citizens, state agency folks) received awards at this year’s meeting for their own efforts to make good things happen here over the past years. You won’t see them in the front-page headlines, but the great things they do are truly good news. If you want to join in the action, joining the Conservation Federation of Missouri is a good place to start.