A new year is upon us. As I look out the front window, the sun is just beginning to brighten the horizon. I have elected to start the day at an old farm house in Moniteau County, often used as my hunting cabin, gathering place or remote work location. The morning air, still and crisp, allows the cackles from a flock of wild turkeys to stimulate my thoughts. While considered a common species today, not all that long ago, wild turkeys were absent from many parts of our state. What opportunities will unfold for Missouri conservation in the future?
I find myself both humbled and excited to serve as your next director of the Conservation Department. Missouri’s citizen-led conservation program is something special— something citizens should feel good about and value. For more than 73 years, the Department has responded to the concerns of rural and urban citizens, increased wildlife abundance, ensured forest health, protected at-risk ecosystems and taught conservation ethics to thousands of citizens. These successes are not by accident or chance. Generations of Missourians have demonstrated a passion for the outdoors, recognizing the many values forest, fish and wildlife resources provide at the individual, family, community and state levels.
Many Missourians have labored to establish and protect a management system that provides the Conservation Commission authority to make science-based resource decisions, focused on fulfilling citizens’ expectations for healthy and sustainable resources. In addition, Missouri’s conservation efforts have a broad management base, supported with dedicated funding, giving consideration to forests, fish and all species of wildlife. These facts are the foundation of Missouri’s conservation system of governance—a system held up as the model by people around the world.
As we head into the future, our state’s conservation success depends on continued citizen support—the cornerstone of Missouri’s conservation experience. I find comfort in the fact that the Department and citizens, working as a team, will continue building on past successes and advance Missouri as a national leader in forest, fish and wildlife management. I have much confidence in Missouri’s citizens and the Department’s quality staff.
Today’s changing natural resource needs, technological advancements, economic conditions, and desires/needs of citizens require that we continue to review and refine existing processes and strategies while standing firm on conservation principles. Our mandate and responsibility to manage forest, fish and wildlife resources remains important and consistent.
An openness to adaptive learning and creative thinking will be essential as we build on conservation education, research and management, citizen input and partnerships, and solid staff— four pillars or areas of key importance. Focusing on these areas will help encourage, create and expand a conservation commitment and vision among individuals across the state that will guide future generations.
I look forward to hearing from citizens—you are a critically important part of the team. As we look to the future, a continued commitment to quality service, accountability and positive results for forest, fish and wildlife resources will guide your Missouri Department of Conservation.
Robert L. Ziehmer, director
Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/Editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler