Conservation Federation director strives to rally the troops, fight apathy

06/28/2014 4:59 PM

06/28/2014 4:59 PM

Brandon Butler, the newly named executive director of the Conservation Federation of Missouri, has no trouble identifying the biggest problem facing outdoors organizations such as his.

Apathy.

“Things have been so good so long here in Missouri, the sportsmen expect the Department of Conservation to always be there for them,” Butler said. “But they don’t realize that the Department of Conservation is constantly under attack these days.

“The Department of Conservation needs the sportsmen to get behind them and show their support.”

Butler is out to rally that support. As the head of the largest and most representative conservation group in Missouri, his organization has 80 clubs and more than 85,000 members. But Butler thinks there is room for growth.

“These challenges are nothing new,” Butler said. “But I think in the past, people were more engaged. There are so many different organizations now, I think we’re more segmented.

“The Conservation Federation has to pull these different interests together and provide a united front.”

Butler is planning an affiliate summit in August as a first step toward finding that common ground among conservation groups. Meanwhile, he has been active in soliciting help from the public in supporting conservation issues.

Butler, who worked in recent years as an outdoors writer, has a background in conservation management. He holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Purdue and a master’s in organizational leadership from Gonzaga.

He has worked for conservation agencies in other states, and has been a leading voice for conservation through his outdoor writing.

Butler strengthened his organization when he recently hired Rehan Nana to be his deputy director. Nana recently served with Pheasants Forever, a national conservation organization, and has made a name for himself for his conservation work.

Butler and Nana have been touring the state in recent days, meeting with conservation groups to determine issues that they give the most priority.

“We’re trying to get people more involved,” Butler said. “These are different times, and we can’t have people sit back and wait for someone else to take the lead.

“We have to put up a united front.”

To reach Brent Frazee,The Star’s outdoors editor, call 816-234-4319 or send email to bfrazee@kcstar.com.

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