The Missouri Department of Conservation congratulates 15 new conservation agents upon their graduation from MDC’s 2021 Conservation Agent Training Academy. The agent class of 2021 took the Conservation Agent’s Oath during a special graduation ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 12 at Richardson Fine Arts Center on the Lincoln University campus in Jefferson City.
MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley encouraged agents to remember their role in caring for Missouri’s natural resources and serving its citizens.
“You’re really connecting people with nature — with every program, with every conversation, with every relationship. You’re connecting people to nature and maintaining that public trust,” said Pauley.
MDC Protection Branch Chief Randy Doman urged agents to look towards the future of conservation while still honoring its past.
“We sit here today on the shoulders of those conservation professionals who came before us – reaping the benefits of their labor,” said Doman. “Whether it was Proposition 4 in 1936 which ultimately created the Conservation Commission or Design for Conservation in 1976 that provides a dedicated sales tax so crucial for effective conservation today. We are a part of a storied conservation history in Missouri.”
The new agents spent the past six months housed at the Highway Patrol Academy in Jefferson City. They received over 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, the 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.
These 15 new agents joining the 166 existing MDC agents in serving and protecting Missouri’s fish, forest, and wildlife include Christopher Barnes, Logan Brawley, Aaron Burnett, Jeremy Caddick, Payton Emery, Donald Fessler, Jessica Filla, Jacob Fisher, Nathan Ingle, Clarissa Lee, Jaycob O’Hara, Tex Rabenau, Ashton Reuter, Kristopher Smith, and Dustin Snead.
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 field agents for six months during which they will acquire vital field experience