Monday, February 25, 2008

Improving Leadership Skills of Conservation Professionals or Be a Better Conservation Leader on Your Own

The Wildlife Society (TWS) is accepting applications for its Leadership Institute. Applications are due by March 7, 2008. More information is available on The Wildlife Society Web pages.

From the Web page about the Institute:
"From May through September, the ten members participate in a variety of distance learning and hands-on projects, which include reading and interpreting leadership materials, presenting to peer groups, working collaboratively with each other, leading discussions, and developing summary documents regarding professional leadership."

Another opportunity is the National Conservation Leadership Institute. Applications are due by May 31, 2008. A promotional video is available about the program. Their Web page describes the purpose of the National Institute as:
"We are facing a crisis in conservation! The significant loss of baby boomers who provide leadership in the organizations which manage the conservation of our nation’s natural Resources requires immediate and careful attention. Research studies confirm this reality: Between 2004 and 2015, more than 77% of state fish and wildlife senior leadership will retire! More than one-half of Senior Executive Service employees of federal natural resource agencies will retire by 2007! And this alarming trend mirrors that of NGOs and corporate sectors."

Don't think you can't improve your skills if you can't participate in these opportunities. Leadership skills can be learned and require effort and practice. You can improve your leadership skills or do great works for nature even if you are not focused on a conservation career. One way to start is by learning more about leadership by reading the articles in the Leader to Leader Journal, many of which are available online. You can browse through the catalog of authors to find leadership articles that interest you.

Or, simply practice leadership by doing something for fish, forests, and wildlife. You can learn about how to help nature through the opportunities on the Web pages of the Missouri Department of Conservation. There is also information about how you can provide education to young people about conservation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Census Atlas of the United States Has Insights for Conservation in Missouri

The U.S. Census Bureau has recently published the Census Atlas of the United States, which is a collection of maps and information about population and housing.

The individual chapters are large files to download, but contain useful insights for fish, forest, and wildlife management in Missouri.

In Chapter 2, the population distribution chapter, I was interested to see the trend for Missouri of increasing population in the major cities and southern part of the state. This is also confirmed in Chapter 14, about housing, in that the dates of housing construction are most recent in the same areas. The northern part of the state has a trend of declining population.

Increasing areas of construction in the past has generally indicated more impacts on habitat and water quality, which can alter the health of fish, forests, and wildlife.

You can read more about what you can do in your neighborhood and community to support fish, forests, and wildlife on the Web pages of the Missouri Department of Conservation and in the community conservation items in the strategic plan of the Department.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Census of Agriculture for Missouri Farmers and Ranchers

The Census of Agriculture is being conducted now. Completed forms are due by February 4, 2008. The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years and is a complete count of the nation's farms, ranches, and the people who operate them.

For the first time, producers have the option of completing the Census forms online.

I use the information from the Census all the time to better understand what is happening in Missouri for land use and ownership trends, economics of agriculture, and the characteristics and production practices of farmers and agricultural operations.

The Census is the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every county in Missouri.

If you have an agricultural activity or operation, you can participate in the Census by signing up on the Census of Agriculture Web pages.

A summary for Missouri from the 2002 Census is available and you can look up summaries for each county in Missouri.