Conservation's Sixth Director Retires

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Published on: Jun. 2, 2002

Last revision: Nov. 12, 2010

hundreds of small bluegills, I believe that's why they've always been my favorite fish.

"It will be nice to have the time to introduce my grandchildren and their friends to a variety of outdoor experiences, giving them memories as enduring as mine.

"It'll also be nice to have the luxury of waking up and deciding to go fishing."

Jerry said he won't miss the director's job, but he doesn't intend to abandon conservation labor. He has outlined a book on conservation. "Not an academic one," he said, "but a clear and frank viewpoint from someone who's been in the middle of many important conservation issues, both as a field person and as an administrator.

"I'm going to enjoy watching through the years as the people I've trained or worked with move into leadership positions within the Department. "You get really close to people when you work in conservation. They're so professional and talented and dedicated that it almost makes you cry at times to see them working so hard to put their ideas and beliefs into practice."

Accumulated Wisdom

  • Never be afraid of change. Although change is good for its own sake, it's better to have a clear goal in mind so that you and others you work with can have a shared vision. Remember how inspired and energized you were when you first got out of school? That's the feeling and the dynamic that we seek to accomplish with change.
  • We have nature centers and outreach efforts, but we'll never be able to introduce everyone to the pleasures of the outdoors. If, however, we can maintain a solid core of outdoorspeople, they will spread a conservation message to their friends and neighbors.
  • We can't practice conservation by looking at next year; we have to look far into the future. Our Conservation Commission is not subject to political whims and can, therefore, provide us with the kind of stability we need to embark on long-term programs and research, like those in the 100-year Missouri Forest Ecosystem Project. Conservation agencies in other states do not have the stability for that kind of commitment.
  • "I've been to nearly every state and visited with their conservation people, and they're all watching us. We possess all the ingredients to succeed in conservation. If we fail, they know there is little hope for them, but when we succeed, they succeed."

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