Conservation Federation names 2012 Conservationists of the Year

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JEFFERSON CITY–The Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) has named eight Missourians as its 2012 Conservationists of the Year. Each is living proof of how deeply Missourians care about conservation.

Conservationist of the Year Dave Pace, Salem, is chairman of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and a former RMEF regional director. In presenting the award, CFM President Mike Schallon noted Pace’s tireless efforts to promote Missouri’s elk-restoration program among landowners, legislators and communities around the elk-restoration zone and with conservation and agriculture groups statewide.

Keith Hannaman, Blue Springs, received the Conservation Educator of the Year Award for his work establishing an outdoor classroom for Blue Springs South School and for his involvement in state, national and international conservation education efforts.

Freelance writer Steve Jones, Sullivan, received the Conservation Communicator of the Year Award for three decades of courageously fighting for conservation causes.

Private landowner Frank Oberle, Novinger, received the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year Award for his contributions to prairie conservation. He was instrumental in bringing the North American Prairie Conference to Kirksville in 2000 and helped strengthen the Grow Native! Program.

Wayne Lovelace, Elsberry, received the Forest Conservationist of the Year Award. Lovelace is president and CEO of Forrest-Keeling Nursery. He has led several forestry organizations, and his development of the root-production method for growing tree seedlings has contributed significantly to restoration of bottomland hardwood forests.

Missouri State Senator Kevin Engler, Farmington, and State Representative Steven Tilley, Perryville, shared the Conservation Legislator of the Year Award. Both were cited for their commitment to enhancing and protecting natural resources and Missouri’s unique system of conservation governance.

Professional Conservationist of the Year Elsa Gallagher, Excello, began her career with the Missouri Department of Conservation, where she specialized in quail management, working tirelessly to promote early-successional habitat with private landowners and government agencies. She currently is a regional biologist for Quail Forever and is active in numerous youth and women’s hunting events.

CFM is a broad-based citizen conservation group representing more than 100,000 individuals and 80 affiliate groups from hunters and anglers to birdwatchers. Anyone can nominate candidates for a Conservationist of the Year Award. For more information, call 573-634-2322 or visit

-Jim Low-