Vantage Point

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From Missouri Conservationist: May 2004

Thank You, Partners!

Partnerships are mutually beneficial relationships between groups and individuals with common interests and concerns.

In the conservation world partnerships are the norm, and in Missouri they have been an essential way of business for decades. For example, the Conservation Department partnered with landowners in the restoration of white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and other important wildlife species. We continue to partner with landowners as a way to improve habitats and wildlife populations.

Partners can achieve more than could ever be accomplished if each worked alone. For example, the pooled resources of the Department of Conservation, federal agencies, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Missouri Prairie Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Quail Unlimited, Ruffed Grouse Society, Missouri Waterfowl Association, private citizens, corporations, foundations, and many others have protected and restored thousands of acres of habitat, improved the status of Missouri's wildlife and yielded great places for Missourians to watch birds, hike, hunt, fish and view nature.

Partnerships create understanding. Former Wildlife Research Superintendent Bill Crawford often said, "folks tend to be down on the things they're not up on."

Partnerships require communication. They ensure we're "up on" the perspectives of our partners. A good example of fruitful partnering is the unique relationship of the Audubon Society of Missouri and Ruffed Grouse Society in promoting habitats for forest birds. Another example is The Grassland Coalition, which brings together Quail Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, the Missouri Prairie Foundation and others to protect and restore the native grasslands that once covered much of our state.

Partnerships create a strength of unity. A partnership of conservation interests established the modern Department of Conservation in 1936. Yet another, in 1976, added the one-eighth of one percent conservation sales tax to fund conservation work.

Partnerships exist in the internal architecture of strong organizations. They are clearly an expectation of Missouri Conservation Commission and our agency's leadership. We call them teams in the Department of Conservation, and they exist at all levels. These internal partnerships enhance effectiveness and promote understanding.

Partnerships are a vital part of conservation in Missouri. Not all states or federal agencies have them. Though we rely on them so often, we never fail to recognize the contributions that partnerships make to the conservation effort. The Conservation Department relies on and values the the work and support of other agencies, outdoor clubs and organizations, user groups, private landowners and the people of Missouri.

Thank you partners!

Dave Erickson, Wildlife Division Administrator

This Issue's Staff

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