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Conservation Leadership Corps in Action

Feb 22, 2008

I’m here today at the meeting of the Conservation Leadership Corps. It’s a group of high school and college students who work with the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM, whose meeting will begin tonight with an awards ceremony).

I asked the students, who range from high school juniors to college seniors, why they’re here. Reasons included everything from generally expanding their knowledge about conservation to gaining experience with the Missouri Conservation Department for a future job to learning how to develop legislation.

About 40 students are nominated each year to join in this three-year program. The goal is to give students a chance to engage in the politics of conservation so they’ll be prepared as adults to influence policy and action…to make a difference in keeping our resources healthy.

What they do at this meeting is look at conservation issues and develop resolutions. The resolutions are then submitted to the CFM members. Successful resolutions from the students, along with those of CFM itself, are presented to state agencies or the Missouri General Assembly for potential action.

They met for hours and by 10 p.m. had worked in groups to create more than six resolutions covering global warming, biofuels, Leave No Child Inside legislation and more. One of their members, Mark Corio, was recognized in awards tonight from CFM in part for becoming one of their youngest board members. It’s great to see the next generation of conservationists in action and know that this program helps them succeed.

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