In a recent opinion survey conducted with adults across Missouri by the University of Missouri, almost all Missourians told us they are interested in Missouri’s forests, fish, and wildlife. In fact, 95 percent of Missouri adults reported they are somewhat or very interested. This high level of interest has been consistent for over 20 years, when compared to results from previous surveys.
Missourians also told us about their participation in outdoor activities, their expectations for the Department of Conservation, and their ideas about conservation issues in our state. The 2013 Conservation Opinion Survey was mailed to over 16,000 households to learn about citizens’ interests and expectations about the Missouri Department of Conservation.
The 2013 survey is only one example of how Department staff listen to the ideas of Missourians. Last year, there were 124 activities where 86,427 individuals provided input. The activities included surveys, focus groups, open houses, comment opportunities on regulations, area plans, and specific issues, and questions for the Department’s ombudsman. Examples of specific efforts included a statewide survey of anglers, a Black River Walleye survey, focus groups to help the “Trees Work” communication effort, focus groups with loggers, nine open houses on white-tailed deer management, nine open houses on white-tailed deer health, an Upper Mississippi River waterfowl blind hunter survey, 47 comment opportunities on Department area plans, and visitor surveys at conservation areas that included Rockwoods Reservation, the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center, and Twin Pines Conservation Education Center. Missourians also emailed, called, and wrote to our ombudsman with questions and ideas. Many of you contacted our Missouri Conservationist magazine staff with a wide variety of questions and comments throughout the year or asked questions on the Department’s Facebook page.
There are many other ongoing, regular activities where citizens can share ideas with the Department of Conservation. Throughout the year, the Conservation Commission meeting is open to the public and anyone may send comments or request to speak. The Department has eight regional service centers throughout the state where staff are available to assist Missourians with conservation requests and an extensive website, mdc.mo.gov, with conservation information and online comment forms. You can subscribe on our website to receive news updates by email or text message. The Department’s Facebook page has over 110,000 likes. The Department also uses other social media sites such as Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Flickr to communicate with citizens.
Through all of the ways we listen, we receive important ideas and feedback about conservation efforts. We use those ideas to make conservation decisions that improve the quality and health of Missouri’s forests, fish, and wildlife. Your ideas count, since your ideas and continued feedback are the foundation of great conservation in Missouri.
The ideas of Missouri citizens established the Missouri Department of Conservation in 1936. More ideas established consistent conservation funding in the statewide vote of 1976. And the ideas and support for conservation in Missouri that we receive from you is what continues to enhance our economy and quality of life for all of us today. Help ensure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy a quality outdoors in the future, tell us about your ideas for conservation. Your ideas count!
Robert L. Ziehmer, director
Editor In Chief - Nichole LeClair Terrill
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Staff Writer - Jim Low
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