The 80th Conservation Federation of Missouri’s (CFM) Annual Convention was the weekend of March 18 in Jefferson City. Susan Williams, MHHF Executive Director, and I attended and participated. The highlight was the Annual Awards Ceremony where Missouri Governor Jay and First Lady Georganne Nixon were on hand to receive the Conservationists of the Year Award. In presenting the award, CFM highlighted several accomplishments of the Governor and First Lady, some of which have goals in common with MHHF including the Governor’s Youth Turkey and Deer Hunts and the First Lady’s Children in Nature Challenge.
With more than 80 affiliate organizations (including MHHF) and 85,000 members, CFM is the largest and most representative conservation group in Missouri. And though “Come Home to Conservation” was the official theme of this year’s conference, I heard another theme throughout the breakout sessions and general addresses extolling the value of getting things done through collaboration as opposed to mitigation of litigation.
I’ve been attending this conference since 2003 and am always amazed to see the diverse range of volunteer organizations represented. While our specific interests may be different, we share a common goal – enthusiasm for and appreciation of all things outdoors.
At the conference I had the chance to network with chapters of the Audubon Society, anglers and archers, foresters, farmers, multiple foundations and federations, taxidermists, trappers and land trusts. There were rabid environmentalists and avid hunters. Bridges were built here and from that come the partnerships that are able to advocate policies and projects like the state conservation sales tax which assures protection and management of our natural resources.
I attended two of the 14 Resource Committees; Waterfowl and Wetlands and Sportsman’s Rights, Firearms and Hunter Safety. From those committees came 21 resolutions placed before the General Assembly the following morning. A very few examples of the resolutions…
· Strongly urge the MDC to resist efforts to consider air powered, dart firing equipment as “archery” and not allow for use during archery hunting season.
· Request MDC to ban felt or porous-soled shoes from warm waterways in that they contribute to the spread of invasive species.
· Request CFM and affiliate members to defend Missouri state parks. Five current bills in the state house and senate reduce funding and restrict acquisition of land by the state for public parks and vigorous support is requested for renewal of the Parks, Soil and Water Sales Tax.
All resolutions will be published on the CFM website www.confedmo.org
One specific quote from Wildlife Conservationist of the Year award recipient Travis Moore, a Fisheries Management Biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation summed up the spirit of the meeting, “Citizen-led conservation is alive and well in the state of Missouri.”
I hope you will consider joining Susan and me next year.