Spring is a great time to enjoy the outdoors. It is easy to observe citizens of all ages engaged in activities including wildlife watching, canoeing and boating, target shooting, fishing, hunting or hiking.
Missourians are tied to the outdoors. Results from a 2009 survey document that 91 percent of adult Missourians indicate they are interested in our state’s forest, fish and wildlife resources.
An important point to note is that citizens continue to put their “interest” in forest, fish and wildlife resources into action. Annual requests seeking Department technical assistance for restoring or enhancing natural habitats continue to grow. Each year staff complete thousands of on-site contacts with private landowners related to restoration and habitat improvement projects ranging from grassland to woodland to aquatic systems and everything in between. In addition, habitat tours, workshops and educational events held across the state remain in high demand. As 93 percent of Missouri’s landscape is in private ownership, these facts are both encouraging and important for long-term conservation success.
Citizen volunteerism, focused on advancing conservation efforts, is another example of putting “interest” into action. Last year, thousands of dedicated citizen volunteers donated more than 250,000 hours to advance conservation. Citizen volunteer efforts are as diverse as Missouri’s landscape. Examples of volunteer activities include assisting at nature centers, teaching hunter education classes, Stream Team projects, forest health inventories, assisting with law enforcement efforts, completing maintenance at trails and boat ramps, and conducting educational workshops. Volunteers expose youngsters to the marvels of the outdoor world, clean up litter on Missouri’s rivers and streams, assist with operation and maintenance of shooting ranges, and regularly help citizens to enjoy a safer outdoor experience. The benefits from volunteer efforts are having positive, lasting impacts at the individual, community and state levels.
Volunteers are highlighted in this issue of the magazine through their waterfowl work and reporting black bear and Stream Team efforts. For years volunteers have helped the Department monitor quail populations and have assisted with monitoring wild turkeys. Citizens and the Department working together is a foundational stone in Missouri’s successful conservation program.
Missouri is blessed to have citizens dedicated to enhancing forest, fish and wildlife resources. Citizens’ continued commitment to improving our natural resources makes Missouri a national leader in conservation.
For habitat-related assistance or information regarding volunteer opportunities in your area, please contact a local Department regional office (see Page 3 for phone numbers). As always, I look forward to hearing from citizens. I hope you enjoy this month’s Reader’s Photograph of the two red foxes by Gary Marquart of Washington. Please keep sharing your conservation success stories and outdoor photographs. Together, citizens and the Department are advancing conservation.
Robert L. Ziehmer, director
Editor In Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair Terrill
Art Director - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler