Monday, December 31, 2007

Planning for Conservation Success in Missouri

Recently, I paid my 2008 dues for several conservation organizations. I pay to support these organizations because of their plans for conservation and for the success they hope to achieve. I believe one of the greatest conservation benefits of these organizations is how communication is enhanced between members and with others. You can help conservation in Missouri and throughout the world by supporting one or more of the many groups that do conservation work.

For example, some groups that I support include:

The Conservation Federation of Missouri
The Missouri Chapter of The Wildlife Society
The Wildlife Society
Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society
The International Association for Society and Natural Resources

Many more organizations that do conservation work are listed on the pages of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the many groups listed as affiliates of the Conservation Federation of Missouri.

You can also support conservation in Missouri through the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation or the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Vision for Conservation in Missouri

Recently, a University of Missouri class asked some questions about the vision statement of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

In answering their questions, I was reminded of two statements from John F. Kennedy. Kennedy spoke at Rice University in Texas on September 12, 1962 about landing a man on the moon. In the speech, Kennedy stated, referring to his vision of landing a man on the moon:

"...because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win..."

and later in the speech,

"But if I were to say, my fellow citizens, that we shall send to the moon, 240,000 miles away from the control station in Houston, a giant rocket more than 300 feet tall, the length of this football field, made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented, capable of standing heat and stresses several times more than have ever been experienced, fitted together with a precision better than the finest watch, carrying all the equipment needed for propulsion, guidance, control, communications, food and survival, on an untried mission, to an unknown celestial body, and then return it safely to earth, re-entering the atmosphere at speeds of over 25,000 miles per hour, causing heat about half that of the temperature of the sun--almost as hot as it is here today--and do all this, and do it right, and do it first before this decade is out--then we must be bold."

The words of Kennedy help define for me how a vision statement can be useful. I particularly like the phrase "that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills..." because I believe that was the intent of the Missouri citizens in 1936 when they crafted the language in the Missouri Constitution that is the basis for the Missouri Department of Conservation vision statement. The Department of Conservation vision provides a picture of the desired outcome and the ideal to be used to measure accomplishments.

In addition, Kennedy reinforced the role of a vision to focus and align efforts when he said "made of new metal alloys, some of which have not yet been invented..." Although the Department's vision statement is a picture of future success, it takes work, and thought, and innovation to achieve that success. Particularly innovation, since the challenges of both the current and future landscape in Missouri are not entirely known. Expertise and knowledge help to reduce uncertainty in the work to achieve a vision, but there are still unknown and unexpected events.

The vision statement of the Missouri Department of Conservation is:

"To have healthy, sustainable plant and animal communities throughout the state of Missouri for future generations to use and enjoy, and to have fish, forest and wildlife resources in appreciably better condition tomorrow than they are today.

To have all Missourians understand the relationship and value of plant and animal communities to our social and economic well-being.

To have citizens and government agencies work together to protect, sustain, enhance, restore or create sustainable plant and animal communities of local, state and national significance."

You can find more information on the Department of Conservation Web pages about the vision and mission statements of the Department of Conservation, the strategic plan The Next Generation of Conservation, and the Department's value statements "What We Believe."