Natural Resources Conference Focuses on “Purposeful Risk Taking”

By Jim Low, Missouri Dept. of Conservation

First posted on 12-31-2009

“Purposeful risk taking” is the theme for the 2010 Missouri Natural Resources Conference (MNRC) Feb. 3 through 5 at Lake of the Ozarks’ Tan-Tar-A Resort.

The conference focuses on helping resource management professionals and citizen conservationists learn how to take risks that help them meet challenges, grow and learn. Early-bird registration must be postmarked by Jan. 6. Registration forms and further information are available at

This year’s program features two nationally known speakers, as well as dozens of nuts-and-bolts sessions to provide concrete management strategies for resource managers.

The conference begins with a student question-and-answer session with resource professionals at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 3, followed by a student job fair. A plenary session Feb. 4 features keynote speakers Ben Garber and Michael Fraidenburg.

Garber will outline compelling leadership principles, strategies and actions. He draws on his experience as a business owner, manager, consultant, social worker and trainer for insights about the difference between leaders who halt achievement and those who foster achievement. His action-oriented how-to approach provides practical steps for becoming a compelling, risk-taking leader.

Fraidenburg is the author of Intelligent Courage: Natural Resource Careers That Make a Difference. He completed a 30-year career with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, culminating in a stint as Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission Executive. An authority on conflict resolution and strategic thinking, Fraidenburg is known for his work improving management of natural resource agencies. He is a trustee for the Northwest Fund for the Environment, a Washington Mediation Association certified mediator and American Fisheries Society certified fisheries professional.

The program offers four morning workshops following the plenary session.

* Conflict resolution skills for natural resource professionals.

* The incredible results of active risk taking.

* Leadership in dynamic times: A Missouri perspective.

* The ethics and risks of career development: Where do I go from here, and how do I get there?

Afternoon workshops include:

* Meeting in the middle of the stream: Removing fish passage barriers in Missouri.

* Managing water resources in Missouri.

* Strategies for successful priority forest landscapes, wildlife management cooperatives and conservation opportunity areas.

* Long-term stewardship: A natural resource management tool for dealing with contaminated lands.

* Invasive species: The never-ending battle.

* Risky business: Selected topics for managing rivers and streams.

An awards ceremony for professional societies begins at 7 p.m.

The conference resumes at 8 a.m. Feb. 5, with sessions focusing more on technical topics, including:

* Ecotoxicology and sediment transport of the Big River and other toxicological investigations in Missouri’s lead-mining districts.

* Identifying and conserving aquatic natural areas.

* Purposeful risk taking for the management and protection of species of concern.

Natural resource professional societies organize the MNRC each year. The event routinely attracts 1,000 attendees and provides a forum for established and aspiring natural-resource professionals to exchange information and ideas and enhance cooperation among government agencies and citizen conservation organizations.

The conference also features an opening-night social, research project poster displays, a student job fair and exhibits by related vendors and service providers and professional and conservation groups.