Note To Our Readers

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From Missouri Conservationist: Mar 2013

Listening to Missourians

As long as I can recall, the outdoors has been an important part of my life. Growing up, I saw how local staff of the Missouri Conservation Department shared their understanding of and enthusiasm for the outdoors with others. Their commitment to a conservation ethic helped shape my interests and choice of career.

Department employees have a combination of motivation, expertise, compassion, and dedication that both amazes me and gives me a sense of pride. They work to deliver more than is expected. Individuals, communities, schools, organizations, and businesses all work together with Department staff to ensure that healthy forests, fish, and wildlife are available today and for future generations.

To accomplish the vision of the Conservation Department, we work with Missourians seek your ideas and opinions. The interest of Missourians is the foundation of the Department’s work. We strive to deliver satisfaction and to establish and maintain a high level of trust.

For more than 30 years, the Department has conducted attitude, opinion, satisfaction, and participation surveys and focus groups to determine the opinions and attitudes of Missourians about conservation and the Department. This information helps guide decisions about regulations and forest, fish, and wildlife management.

Last year, we conducted numerous activities to gauge the opinions and attitudes of Missourians that involved tens of thousands of citizens, including hunters, anglers, landowners, city officials, businesses, conservation partners, visitors to our nature centers, and others. Efforts included surveys, focus groups, open houses, comments and presentations to the Regulations Committee, and contacts with the Department’s Ombudsman.

This year, the Department is conducting the Conservation Opinion Survey. Developed with the assistance of a team of experts at the University of Missouri-Columbia, the survey will include questions about Missourians’ participation in outdoor activities, their satisfaction with conservation efforts, and how Department staff can best meet their expectations. The survey has been sent to a random sample of citizens that were selected across rural, suburban, and urban areas of Missouri. This large-scale survey effort has been conducted about once every 10 years.

Gathering public input on proposed regulations is an ongoing effort for the Department. Citizens are invited to share their opinions about regulations through a variety of venues including the Department’s regulation comment page at Department regulations are formed and discussed in a public setting where citizens are invited to attend. To find upcoming meeting dates and tentative agendas, please visit, or contact the Department headquarters at 573-751-4115.

Answering citizens’ questions and suggestions is the priority role of the Department’s Ombudsman.

Missourians care about conserving forests, fish, and wildlife. Most Missourians (91 percent) report they are interested in Missouri’s forests, fish, and wildlife. Most Missourians (85 percent) agree that the Missouri Conservation Department “is a name I can trust.” The Conservation Department believes that all Missouri citizens are important and we want to listen and act to earn their trust. Our job is to listen, understand, and deliver programs and services in a manner that benefits all Missourians and the forest, fish, and wildlife resources in Missouri.

If you get a Conservation Opinion Survey, I encourage you to complete it so we can further improve our efforts.

Robert L. Ziehmer, director

This Issue's Staff

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