-by Bill Mees and John Besser
Last month, the CAS board voted for our organization to become an affiliate member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM). This article provides some context for this decision.
The mission of CFM is “to ensure conservation of Missouri’s wildlife and natural resources, and preservation of our state’s rich outdoor heritage through advocacy, education and partnerships.” CFM is a private organization made up of thousands of Missourians who work together to better our natural resources and represent Missouri’s citizen conservationists. Actively involved in state and national issues that relate to conservation, the Federation has long been a prominent and effective voice before the Missouri General Assembly, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
As we explored becoming an affiliate with CFM, it quickly became evident that many of the organizations already affiliated with CFM have the same interests and objectives as CAS. The CAS Board feels affiliation provides an avenue to enable interested CAS members to stay informed about pending legislation at the state and national levels.
Despite becoming an affiliate of CFM, CAS does not lose its own original voice on conservation issues. Nor have we sold or shared our membership list with CFM or any other entity. However, we encourage CAS members to visit the CFM website to learn more. If you take a moment to peruse the list of affiliates, you will see that CAS is keeping some very good company. Also, if you choose to register with the CFM Legislative Action Center, you will receive CFM alerts aimed at informing you of legislative actions concerning conservation.
Columbia Audubon Society has long been affiliated with other conservation organizations whose missions are complementary to our own, and who can provide additional information and bring additional resources to bear on issues affecting bird conservation. Our most long-standing (since 1959) and fundamental affiliation is with the National Audubon Society. Although NAS sometimes seems very distant from our local concerns, as our parent organization it does supports us with some membership dollars. More importantly, this legendary conservation organization can play a role in bird conservation at a national and international scale that a local chapter like ours can hardly imagine. Closer to home, CAS is an affiliate of the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MOBCI), which is sometimes called an “association of associations”. Bill Mees, CAS’s representative on the MOBCI Steering Committee, rubs shoulders with representatives of conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited and the Missouri Prairie foundation, as well as several Missouri state agencies. Together these diverse groups find common ground in recommending grant funding for projects to benefit birds and bird habitat in Missouri. Finally, CAS has similar interests to those of Audubon Society of Missouri, which is NOT affiliated with National Audubon Society, but rather serves as an independent statewide organization focused entirely on birds and birders and is home to the Missouri Bird Record Committee.