Agent's Training Class
also consider their desire."
The candidates for conservation agent training come from all over. Melany Lamb, 30, is from the Chicago area. She was in the work force for several years after high school before starting college at Purdue University, where she received a bachelor of science degree in wildlife management. She then went to Oregon State University and completed a master's degree in forestry.
Lamb's passionate interest in animals led her to Purdue and Oregon State. Her curiosity about conservation was sparked by reading about the illegal trade in endangered birds, and she worked in the veterinary school while at Purdue. She also worked as a teaching and research assistant.
After graduating from Oregon State, she filled a variety of wildlife-related jobs for the Conservation Department at the August A. Busch Memorial Wildlife Area near St. Charles; many involved working with visitors to the area.
Lamb was not the oldest person in the class - there were men 39 and 34. "The youngest was 23, and he was real hard to keep up with when we jogged," Lamb says with a smile.
Her eyes light up when she talks about wildlife. "At one time I was interested in the federal enforcement of wildlife regulations," she says. "I enjoyed my work in the wildlife field, but when I saw the conservation agent training class come open, it reminded me of my original interest."
Lamb says she likes the hands-on training in the class, which includes role-playing, where the trainees are introduced to situations with wildlife law violators, going to the shooting range and a one-week waterfowl school at the Conservation Department's Fountain Grove Conservation Area near Chillicothe. "I was surprised at how much I could learn in such a short time," she says. "Waterfowl school was fun, and valuable, too." She looks forward to the contact with people she will have in the community where she is assigned.
Ken Sowers, 28, is from St. Louis. Sowers went to Arkansas State College in Jonesboro, majored in communications and graduated in 1992. He has worked for United Parcel System, was a merchandiser for a soft drink company and also worked as an installer for a cable television company.
Sowers was a combat engineer with the Army National Guard, and is now a telephone specialist with an Air National Guard unit in St. Louis. He braced himself for another boot-camp type experience in