Agent's Training Class
conservation agent training, similar to the one he had at Ft. Leonard Wood, but soon discovered he would be treated as a student rather than as a recruit. "Our instructors keep our spirits up," Sowers says.
"I really liked hunting and fishing when I was growing up in Arkansas," he adds. "I also saw people hunting and fishing illegally there and thought I would like a job to help conserve wildlife." Sower's search for increasing job responsibility, and its attendant awards, brought him to conservation agent training.
Like Lamb, Sowers also enjoyed his introduction to waterfowl at Fountain Grove. He also likes weekend assignments with working agents and traveling to several sections of the state. "You can see the difference in visualizing this work in the classroom and then going out and actually doing it," he says. "I like working outdoors and working with the people we encounter in the field."
Jeff Scott, 27, is from Benton, south of Cape Girardeau. He is a graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, where he majored in law enforcement but also studied wildlife biology and agriculture. He is married and says one of the toughest aspects of the training was being away from his wife, a junior high school teacher.
"I knew at an early age that this is what I wanted to do," Scott says. "I began working summers on a wildlife management area for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission as a junior in high school." Since then he has spent each of the past ten summers working for either the Missouri Department of Conservation or the Arkansas Fish and Game Commission in wildlife management, in fish hatcheries or in fisheries research.
Scott enjoys firearms training and the field work at the waterfowl school at Fountain Grove Conservation Area. He says the classroom work is vital, but he loves getting outside. He has a lot of hunting experience with firearms, but training with a handgun was new. He says he looks forward to being able to work lakes or streams or in the woods.
"Through this work," Scott says, "I want to protect our natural resources. I recall hunting or fishing with my dad. It sounds kind of corny, but I want my kids to have that same opportunity... I want these resources to be there when my kids are old enough to enjoy them.
"As a conservation agent, I think I can make a difference," Scott says. "It's not just punching a clock and going home at the end of the day and not thinking about it until tomorrow. It's rewarding, and you can see differences you are making ... I think that's the important thing about this job."