From the Missouri Conservationist Magazine
January 2003 Issue

Vantage Point

Nature's Caretakers

Winter is upon us with its early morning frosts, glistening crystal ice and soft, intricate snowflakes. Missouri's natural beauty changes through the seasons, but our mission at the Missouri Department of Conservation remains the same,

In all seasons, Conservation Department employees work "...to protect and manage the fish, forest, and wildlife resources of the state; to serve the public and facilitate their participation in resource management activities; and to provide opportunity for all citizens to use, enjoy, and learn about fish, forest, and wildlife resources."

Missouri Conservation Department employees have been caretakers of the state's fish, forests and wildlife since 1936. It now takes approximately 1,600 employees to perform the mission of the Conservation Department. Our employees serve in all of Missouri's 114 counties and the City of St. Louis.

These employees are as diverse as snowflakes. We have accountants, artists, biologists, maintenance crew members, carpenters, clerical support staff, computer specialists, conservation agents, engineers, foresters, heavy equipment operators, mechanics, media experts, photographers, pilots, scientists, surveyors, and many more specialists. Their education levels range from G.E.D.s, to PhDs.

Their work schedules can be irregular and require long hours. Although some of our positions are office jobs or a combination of office and outdoors, many of our employees work outdoors on nature's schedule.

Although each person who works for the Department is unique, we find that they have in common a strong work ethic, the ability to work as a team and an understanding of how principles of nature also apply to people.

Department employees come from all walks of life. We are your friends and neighbors. Many of us grew up in Missouri and proudly take care of the state that raised us. Others have relocated here to be part of the conservation team, enjoying and preserving the rich resources of the state. They are leaders, teachers, and learners, not just at work but in their communities. Several are scout leaders, some serve in civic organizations, several coach youth athletics, while others serve their families and communities through various acts of giving and kindness.

The Human Resources Division's mission at the Conservation Department is to attract employees of high quality and character and provide them with a work environment that gives them opportunities to make meaningful contributions. The Department operates under the philosophy that every employee is a leader and a teacher, as well as a learner. Thanks to a career long training program, the Academy for Leadership Excellence, which is coordinated by the Human Resources Division, employees participate in training courses taught by a statewide team of employees from all divisions. Department employees never stop learning, never stop improving.

One of the benefits of working for the Conservation Department is knowing that your work contributes to the larger whole of conserving Missouri's beautiful resources. It is a good feeling when you can align your personal mission with the mission of the organization for which you work. Our employees care about nature and serving others.

Wordsworth once said, "Nature never has betrayed the heart of those who loved her." Conservation Department employees have unique talents, energy and commitment, but running through all Conservation Department employees is a deep love of nature.

Debbie Goff, Human Resources Division Administrator

Also in this issue

Ancient Wood Uncovered

The log your canoe bumps in a stream may be much older than you might imagine 8 forests in a looking glass.

Missouri's Unsung Green Giant

Ernest J. Palmer unearthed and organized Missouri's botanical riches.

The Beginning Fly Tier

Create the baits that lure the fish that grace your table.

Forest in a Looking Glass

Compiling a century of data on our Ozark forests.

River Robber

The alligator gar is Missouri's largest and most fascinating fish.

Annual Report Fiscal Year 2001–2002

This summary of the Annual Report is a snapshot of the Conservation Department's financial transactions and year-long accomplishments from July 1, 2001, through June 30, 2002.

This Issue's Staff:

Editor - Tom Cwynar
Managing Editor - Bryan Hendricks
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Circulation - Laura Scheuler