MDC welcomes 16 new conservation agents during 2023 graduation

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates 16 new conservation agents upon their graduation from MDC’s 2023 Conservation Agent Training Academy. The agent class of 2023 took the Conservation Agent’s Oath during a special graduation ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Runge Nature Center in Jefferson City.

MDC Deputy Director Jason Sumners reminded agents they’re the frontline ambassadors of conservation and have a critical role in maintaining the public’s trust.

“Humanity, transparency, capability, and reliability are all key when building relationships within your community and carrying out the Department’s mission,” Sumners stressed. “It’s all about those relationships – with your community, with one another, with staff and partners. And it only matters if you take care of yourselves and each other.”

The new agents spent the past six months housed at the Highway Patrol Academy in Jefferson City. They received more than 1,200 hours of intense instruction both in and out of the classroom throughout the state. Agents received training in criminal investigations, defensive tactics, firearms qualifications, and technical instruction in fish, forest, and wildlife management. Training also included courses in legal studies, communications and conducting education programs, and First Aid/First Responder and CPR certification.

Upon successful completion of this training, agents are issued a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) license from the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The conservation agent training program is also certified by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship.

The 16 new agents joining the 200 existing MDC agents in protecting Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife include: Luke Armentrout, Claire Burch, Brandon Cotter, Austin Davis, Kaitlyn Davis, Zachary Durbin, Jobe Edwards, Juvenal Escobar, Ty Garrison, Kelsey Gillenwater, Breeann Hamblin, Sierra Page, Justin Ralph, Jacob Sieve, Dakota Sweeney, and Gil Turk.

The new agents have been assigned their counties. However, they will be involved in field training operations and special assignments while under the supervision of veteran agents for a six-week period during which they will acquire vital field experience.

For more information on MDC careers, visit

Left to Right: Austin Davis, Jacob Sieve, Claire Burch, Kaitlyn Davis, Jobe Edwards, Gil Turk, Luke Armentrout, Breeann Hamblin, Kelsey Gillenwater, Sierra Page, Dakota Sweeney, Zachary Durbin, Brandon Cotter, Justin Ralph, Juvenal Escobar, and Ty Garrison