CLC Gathered for a Day on the Water with Missouri River Relief

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The Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) is a program supported by the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) that allows students from high school and college to be involved and take action on conservation policy. It allows students to network and develop relationships with other like-minded members and conservation professionals statewide. Each year, members attend a fall workshop to build resolutions that they later present at the spring CFM annual convention held in Jefferson City. Throughout the year students volunteer with other CFM affiliates and develop relationships with each other during special CLC events.

CLC members attend an annual camping and floating trip in July. This year, 20 CLC students gathered for the float trip which was their first in-person event since March of 2020! Due to the effects of COVID-19, all CLC events were held virtually over the past 15 months. CLC spent the weekend at Sara Pauley’s, Director of Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), home and got out on the big river with Missouri River Relief.

Students arrived at the Pauley’s home Saturday evening to gather and chat with new and old CLC members. They were also introduced to various professionals who work for the state offices of the Dept. of Natural Resources, Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Conservation, and CFM. After a fantastic meal, students explored the Pauley’s native wildflower patch, set up tents, and played games.
The next morning members gathered for breakfast before they headed off to the Missouri River. They were fitted with life jackets and loaded onto Missouri River Relief boats to help clean up the river. Missouri River Relief is a program that engages the community and educates the public on the restoration and importance of the Missouri River.

As the CLC students picked up trash, they experienced firsthand the importance of keeping our rivers clean and how it impacts the community around them. After working hard and enjoying a quick lunch, they were back on the river for an official tour. They learned about the river’s former structure of wide and meandering water and how the Corps of Engineers used levees and dikes to alter the river for navigational uses. Students saw boating signs along the banks and were taught about their navigational purposes and discussed other recreational opportunities that the river provides.

After the many changes and challenges of COVID that CFM and CLC members had to push through, CLC is happy to soon be celebrating its 20th Anniversary in 2022. There is no better way to near our 20th year than to be surrounded by conservation professionals, spending time outside, and helping the community. Conservation Leadership Corps is looking forward to another amazing year with increased membership and passionate young adults who will be a voice for the outdoors.

Ashley Hrdina
CLC President

Photo by Missouri River Relief.


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