Wednesday, January 28, 2009

View Bald Eagles at Missouri Department of Conservation Eagle Days

In a general conservation opinion survey, over 93 percent of Missourians said they were interested in viewing a bald eagle in the outdoors.

When my wife and I were dating nearly 30 years ago, we drove to Swan Lake in north Missouri to watch dozens of eagles perch in trees on the waterfowl refuge. It was a great way to spend the day together. Today, there are even more eagles in Missouri. And most Missourians won't have to travel very far to see bald eagles, especially in the winter.

You can attend an Eagle Days event sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Or read about the many places where eagles gather in the winter and plan your own trip to see both eagles and more of the great outdoors in Missouri.

More information on eagles and hawks is available online and a great article on eagles, hawks, falcons, and vultures is in the January, 2009 issue of the Missouri Conservationist magazine.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Greetings from the Missouri Department of Conservation

Here is a short video as a holiday greeting card from the Missouri Department of Conservation:

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Permit Changes Follow Public Comments by a Citizen-Led and Citizen-Driven Missouri Conservation Department

The Missouri Conservation Commission met December 18 and 19 at the Department of Conservation headquarters in Jefferson City.

The Commission received an update on communications received during the public comment period regarding proposed permit changes and then approved the following recommendations made by Director John Hoskins:
  • End advancement of proposed increase in resident landowner acreage requirement for no-cost deer and turkey permits from 5 to 80 acres.

  • End advancement of proposed elimination of land-lessee no-cost deer and turkey permits privileges.

  • End advancement of proposed resident permit price increases.

  • End advancement of proposed senior “forever” permit.

  • Delay implementation from Fall 2009 to Spring 2010 of proposed recommendation regarding verification of land ownership when seeking no-cost deer and turkey permits.

  • Continue support for consistent Hunter Education and age requirements for all mentors.

  • Continue support of standard minimum age of six years for deer and turkey permits.

  • Continue support of recommendations to simplify youth permits and discount costs of youth deer, turkey and trout permits by 50%.
An additional news release is available on the Department's Web page.

The news release includes:

"Public input, according to the Commission, has again proven to be an essential component of regulation development. Following the recent public comment period on proposed permit changes, several recommendations included in the original package have been sidelined or modified. 'We have a rich history of being a citizen-led and citizen-driven Conservation Department,' said Commission Chairman Chip McGeehan. 'Citizen involvement and trust are essential parts of conservation success in our state, and we thank the many Missourians who have shared their opinions on the proposed permit changes. We will continue to seek points of view from all of our stakeholders, listen, and respond in ways that best protect Missouri’s resources and serve all Missourians.'"

Need more information on hunting or outdoor activities in Missouri? You can find lots more about hunting in Missouri on the Department of Conservation Web pages.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deer Harvest Map for 2008 from the Missouri Department of Conservation

An online map for the fall deer harvest in Missouri is available from the Missouri Department of Conservation. A widget is also available. The map is updated several times an hour from the automated telecheck system.

More information about deer hunting in Missouri is also available.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thinking Halloween? Look at Critter Rock "Hairy, Not Scary" Music Video About Bats from the Missouri Department of Conservation

Thinking about the halloween spirit? Or just the great fall weather in Missouri, with crisp cool temperatures, a remarkably clear sky with stars, and a few amazing flying mammals, like bats? Here is a cool music video that's "hairy, not scary" about bats from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

You can buy a CD of the music from the Missouri Department of Conservation Nature Shop, your own copy of the video on a DVD, or more music from Wild Heart, which is songwriter Jan Syrigos and her husband George Syrigos.

Bats are definitely hairy, not scary! You can learn more about bats from the Missouri Department of Conservation Web pages.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Conservation Agent Training Class for the Missouri Department of Conservation

The Missouri Department of Conservation is accepting applications to fill up to a 20 member class for Conservation Agent trainees. The class is scheduled to begin March 1, 2009.

The online announcement is available on the Department of Conservation Web site.

I've had the opportunity to speak to the last two training classes of Conservation Agents and they have asked some thought-provoking questions. It's also the only group I speak to, outside of college classes, that are verbally tested over the information immediately after it is presented.

I've always thought the job description is much like that of a super hero. The job announcement lists education and physical fitness requirements, then, a long list of competencies and abilities.

Some of the abilities include:

"keep focused on understanding, anticipating and responding to the needs of customers;"

"take a long-term view of the Department’s or Unit’s direction and articulate a vision which integrates key program goals, priorities, values and other factors;"

"analyze data and apply relevant wildlife, fisheries and forest management principles to the solution of problems;"

"express oneself clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing;"

"establish and maintain an effective working relationship with elected officials, members of the press, educators, community leaders, courts, representatives from related agencies and the general public;"

"make independent decisions and act quickly and decisively on the determined course of action;"

and "create public awareness of and involvement in fish, forest and wildlife programs and to provide leadership to the public in this activity."

There are more items in the list. Conservation Agents are important members of the conservation "team" in Missouri.

A short video is on YouTube about the job of a Conservation Agent:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Working to Produce Conservation Information that is Useful

As part of my job for the Missouri Department of Conservation, I gather and interpret a wide variety of information and work to make that information useful for conservation decisions. Sometimes it takes many hours and much effort to make that information useful.

Like today. I'm working to take many facts about the Department of Conservation and put that information into a short video introducing the Department.

My day today actually started yesterday, when I packed a van with props and materials to assist a film crew. My role is to make sure the content and facts we want to communicate are correctly presented in the sound and images of the video. Most of this has already been completed, since we have been working on the script and thinking about the images over the last several months.

For today, I started the day before 7:00 a.m., driving to the Kansas City Discovery Center. The video's producer, John Baker from St. Louis, and the film crew, Tom Newcomb, a videographer from Technisonic and Tim Donsbach, a freelance sound specialist, were already at the location scouting the right spots to film. We filmed what we needed in two places in the Center, after waiting until noon to get just the right combination of staff and student activity in the hallway.

Then we drove to Holts Summit in the afternoon to get images of the volunteer Holts Summit Fire Protection District station and their equipment. The Department of Conservation helps over 600 fire departments with training and access to equipment to control and contain wildfires.

Then we just made it to the Runge Nature Center at 5:00 p.m. to get some images of a hunter buying a hunting permit. The Nature Center staff stayed a little later than normal so we could get the filming finished. It was very nice that they extended their day to help us.

Then we went outside the center, and set up at two more locations to get the evening light around two separate speaking parts of the video.

After the filming with people was completed outside, about 8:00 p.m., the videographer set up to film the fire tower to have some background images of the tower which will help illustrate the historic role of fire protection in improving the forest of Missouri.

Finally, we briefly discussed the schedule for the filming tomorrow, which will be similar but a slightly shorter day and mostly inside images.

I left the Nature Center and picked up more props to load into the van, finishing that task by 9:30 p.m. I'm ready for supper after over 14 hours of work. Not an unusual day, but not a typical day. I think it's going to be a great video and useful for the staff of the Department. That makes it worth the extra effort.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Census of Agriculture Still Accepting Responses

The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years and "is the only source of consistent and comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation."

A news release from the United States Department of Agriculture indicates that over two million forms have already been received and they are still accepting responses.

This current effort is the first Census of Agriculture where producers and farmers could respond using an online form.

Data collection for the current effort, the 2007 Census, began December 28th, 2007. Results are expected to be available beginning in February 2009.

I use this information frequently, to understand the economic impacts of both farm production and conservation activities in Missouri.

Previous information from the 2002 Census of Agriculture is available in a wide variety of reports and formats.