Jackson County conservation agent walking in father's MDC footsteps

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LOCKWOOD, Mo. – “Like father, like son” is a saying that has special meaning to Jeremy Edwards and his son, Jobe.

Enforcing the fish, forest, and wildlife regulations of Missouri is a family vocation for the Edwards family. One of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) newest conservation agents – Jobe Edwards in Jackson County – is following in the footsteps of his father, Cpl. Jeremy Edwards. The elder Edwards has been a conservation agent for eight years – the last seven in Dade County. Jobe’s conservation agent career is much shorter – he graduated from MDC’s Conservation Agent Academy in October, 2023.

“Having Jobe follow in my footsteps has made me very proud,” Jeremy said. “I raised him and my other children to respect and conserve nature.”

Jobe’s interest in the outdoors – which he admits has always had a focus on fishing – began at an early age. He began his college days wanting to become a marine biologist, but after a year on that path, he decided to switch his outdoors interest towards a career where he would be involved with many aspects of the outdoors.

“After hearing some stories about being an agent, I decided to get involved in the Conservation Agent volunteer program,” Jobe said, recalling his stint as an MDC Protection Branch volunteer from July, 2021 to August, 2022. “While volunteering, I was able to see being an agent wasn’t always about catching poachers but also, in some cases, sharing huge firsts with people and being part of that memory with them.”

From there, Jobe’s interest in the regulatory side of the outdoors grew until it culminated in a 2023 conservation agent graduation ceremony that had special symbolism for both father and son. At that ceremony, Jeremy had the honor of pinning the conservation agent badge on his son – replicating a special day in 2015 when 15-year-old Jobe pinned a conservation agent badge on his newly graduated father.

“That moment (Jobe’s graduation) was filled with emotions ranging from excitement to pride,” Jobe said. “It was a big deal for my dad and me both because, on that same stage was where I pinned his badge on him when he graduated from the academy. It only felt right that he be the one to pin it on me.”

The two are quick to point out each other’s strengths as a conservation agent.

“Jobe can carry on a conversation with anyone, so his communication skills are good,” said Jeremy. “He is also empathetic, so he is understanding of some mistakes.”

And what are Dad’s skills as a conservation agent?

“What makes my dad a good agent, in my eyes, is when it comes to the job, he is just smart about all aspects of the job,” said Jobe, who is a graduate of Lockwood High School and Central Methodist University. “Dad is also very patient, which is huge in our work.”

Jobe says he will never be too old to learn something about his job as a conservation agent, especially when some of the lessons are coming from his father.

“Having the same job as my father is exciting,” he said. “Having one family member being a conservation agent is one thing, but being able to say that you and your father are both agents is something else.”