MDC congratulates Glenn Chambers on Master Conservationist Award

News from the region
Published Date

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates Glenn Chambers of Columbia on recently receiving the Department’s Master Conservationist Award for his four-plus decades of award-winning conservation work. The award was presented on March 10 in conjunction with the annual award ceremony of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) held in Jefferson City.

The MDC Master Conservationist Award honors living or deceased citizen conservationists, former MDC commissioners, and employees of conservation related agencies, universities, or organizations who have made substantial and lasting contributions to the fisheries, forestry, or wildlife resources of the state. Chambers is the 60th recipient of the award, which was first presented in 1942. For more information, visit

"The Missouri Conservation Commission is delighted to present the Master Conservationist Award to Glenn D. Chambers! His contributions are inspirational, tremendously varied, and of enduring value to all Missourians," said Commission Chair David W. Murphy.

MDC Director Sara Pauley added, “Glenn is one of those special individuals that once you meet him, you never forget him. His boundless energy, passion, and infectious positive attitude make a difference in all that he does. We are blessed that his commitment to the conservation of Missouri’s fish, forests, and wildlife benefits not only nature, but all Missourians as well.”

Chambers began his career with MDC as an area manager and research scientist before assuming the dual role of biologist/cinematographer. In 1974, he was promoted to motion picture specialist and produced a number of feature-length, award-winning motion pictures including Return of the Wild Turkey and Wild Chorus (the life history of Canada geese).

Chambers left MDC to work for Ducks Unlimited as a regional director and later as its corporate wildlife photographer before returning to MDC in 1989 to resume his role as a motion picture specialist until his retirement in 1995.

Upon retirement, Chambers continued to work with MDC to present live river otter programs to schools and other audiences around the state. For the next 13 years, he and his wife, Jeannie, traveled more than 800,000 miles with the otters and reached audiences numbering more than 1 million people. They retired the otters and discontinued the road trips in 2005.

Chambers’ cinematographic work garnered a long list of television and motion picture awards, including four television Emmy awards for an MDC video entitled Glenn and His Geese and his 1998 film Back to the Wild.  He also received numerous awards for his still photographs, including those from the prestigious Outdoor Writers of America Association. His work has appeared regularly in various magazines and other publications and is published in five languages. Photographic exhibits featuring his work have been displayed at the Department of Interior and were included in a traveling exhibit with the prestigious Smithsonian Institute.  Articles written by Chambers on a wide array of subjects have appeared in the Journal of Wildlife Management, Ducks Unlimited magazine, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bulletins, and a host of other state conservation agency magazines and bulletins. 

As president of CFM, Chambers recently accepted the highest honor awarded by the National Wildlife Federation -- the National Conservation Achievement Award. This came largely for the success of CFM’s Conservation Leadership Corps program. Under Chambers’ leadership, CFM fully engages high school and college students to help prepare and nurture them as tomorrow’s conservation leaders.

Chambers is also the first Missourian to receive the William T. Hornaday Gold Medal from the Boy Scouts of America. He received this lifetime achievement award for environmental conservation in 2014.