I Am Conservation

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From Missouri Conservationist: Aug 2015

Bill T. Crawford, a retired employee of the Missouri Department of Conservation, poses outside of his Columbia home. Crawford, who turns 97 this month, has been involved in conservation since the beginning. He was present at the 1935 meeting that established Missouri’s apolitical conservation program. I am Conservation 08-2015“My dad was a hunter and fisherman and very much involved in conservation, and I just went with him everywhere,” Crawford said. He was a high school student when he accompanied his dad to the meeting that eventually resulted in the creation of the agency where he would begin working in 1941. “When the Department was created, there were very few facts about anything,” Crawford said. To learn more, the Department — and Crawford — embarked on widespread landmark studies to get better information about Missouri’s wildlife populations and the habitats on which they relied. “The Department had a big job on its hands to figure out what we had in Missouri and how it was being affected by land use and people,” Crawford said. Later, more species-specific studies grew out of those earlier studies. “In the 1950s, they finally decided to create a dedicated research staff,” Crawford said, who was put in charge of that unit, serving as wildlife research chief until his retirement in 1983. Crawford is credited with creating the Missouri natural areas program, and he cofounded the Missouri Prairie Foundation in 1966 as a citizen led organization dedicated to protecting grassland habitat and wildlife. Crawford was named Master Conservationist in 2011 for his lasting contributions to conservation.

—photograph by Noppadol Paothong

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler