Vantage Point

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From Missouri Conservationist: Sep 2004

Conservation Kin

William Shakespeare wrote, "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." I like to think of Missouri Department of Conservation employees as a large, extended family sharing a common vision for protecting and managing the fish, forests, and wildlife of Missouri.

Leading the Human Resources Division gives me the unique opportunity to learn about the backgrounds and experiences of nearly all new Conservation Department family members early in their careers. Their diversity and talent is amazing. They remind me how fortunate the Department is to attract such highly qualified individuals.

The Conservation Department maintains approximately 11,000 applications from people who want to work with us. It is not unusual for 100 or more people to apply for an open position. To succeed in the job competition here, applicants must demonstrate the competence and communication skills necessary to provide high quality service.

New employees are always proud to have been selected for their positions. Most of them are seeking more than a job. They are pursuing a career that will give them the opportunity to significantly affect Missouri's forest fish and wildlife resources.

Most new employees are enthusiastic about their jobs when they start, but at the Conservation Department this initial spark never fades. New employee pride deepens and matures into continuing loyalty and dedication to the Department's mission.

Long-term commitment is the norm among Conservation Department employees. Fewer than 5 percent of Conservation Department employees resign from their jobs. Most employees continue their conservation careers for decades. More than 13 percent of our employees have more than 25 years of Department service, and more than one-third have knowledge and experience gained from 15 or more years of service.

Thanks to this kind of employee dedication, future generations of Missourians can be assured that our fish, forest and wildlife will continue to receive the best possible care. It means that the 45 percent of our employees with fewer than 10 years of experience are preparing themselves--and are being prepared through their experiences--for a lifetime of work and leadership on behalf of conservation.

Terry Tempest Williams, Naturalist-in-Residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History wrote, "The enterprise of conservation is a revolution, an evolution of the spirit." I believe the commonly held spirit of conserving nature fosters a unity among our employees. All are keenly aware of their interdependent roles in meeting the mission of the Conservation Department. We work together as a family, valuing each other's contributions, promoting an environment of respect, courtesy and dignity. We support each other in the work we do and inspire each other to present an image of service of which we all are proud.

When it comes to conservation, we are all "kin." This unity of purpose helps provide a strong degree of public service, as well as the best protection and management possible for Missouri's forests, fish and wildlife.

Debbie Goff, Human Resources 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