MCCA Unites Collegiate Conservationists across Missouri

How do you keep ALL college students informed on conservation issues that are affecting your state in timely fashion? By creating a program that is FREE and easy to join. I am excited to share how we have done that in Missouri.

The Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance (MCCA) is a youth conservation MCCA logo 2organization developed in 2015 for students interested in impacting conservation. Students can be interested in careers in conservation or careers in other fields. It does not matter. This program is for anyone that hikes, camps, hunts, fishes, gardens or just enjoys being outdoors. The organization brings awareness of conservation issues in Missouri to college and university campuses around the state and provides a voice for student engagement.

David Calandro, former student and founder of MCCA says, “MCCA was created by college students for college students. It is a great way to stay informed on current conservation issues directly from the source and then to make a real difference in the state of Missouri. Our goal is to unite and empower the next generation of leaders to make a difference.”

David Calandro, founder of MCCA, takes time to explain the program. David is the national recipient of NWF’s 2017 Youth Achievement Award for his efforts in starting MCCA.

David Calandro, founder of MCCA, takes time to explain the program. David is the national recipient of NWF’s 2017 Youth Achievement Award for his efforts in starting MCCA.

Calandro founded MCCA in 2015 as a student at the University of Missouri. Although he graduated this year, David continues to be an advocate for conservation and is now actively involved as a Conservation Federation of Missouri (CFM) board member and member of our Youth Conservation Action committee.

The three main goals of this program are to unite, educate and engage.  MCCA is a FREE program that unites college students across Missouri who care about conservation regardless of field of study, educates them about key conservation and natural resource issues, and engages these members in MCCA’s advocacy efforts.

CFM communicates with college students through MCCA, providing valuable information to help them become knowledgeable and engaged citizens in efforts on behalf of conservation in Missouri.  CFM empowers students with knowledge and enables them to provide a unified voice.  Members are kept informed of key conservation issues in Missouri through e-newsletters, social media, CFM’s Legislative Action Center, and the MCCA website.

MCCA educates young citizens of Missouri regarding legislative issues that could affect our natural resources. Newsletters and calls to action are sent that highlight current bills and public hearings affecting conservation and our natural resources in Missouri. Students from schools in St. Louis to Kansas City are members of this organization. There is power in numbers.

MCCA students at Conservation Day at the Capitol Photo by Emma Kessinger

MCCA students at Conservation Day at the Capitol
Photo by Emma Kessinger

Jennifer Sampsell, the Education and Outreach Coordinator at CFM, continues working to expand MCCA to colleges and universities across Missouri.

“As a former educator and professional in the conservation field, I know how important it is to pass on the legacy of protecting our natural resources. CFM knows this too and actively supports, educates and engages the next generation, our future leaders in conservation.”

Missouri began the first Conservation Leadership Corps (CLC) program in 2002. This program has been a model for other states. MCCA is the next phase to expand our youth programs with the hope that other states use it as a model to engage more students in their local conservation issues.

Conservation Day at the Capitol photo by Emma Kessinger

Conservation Day at the Capitol
photo by Emma Kessinger

MCCA and CFM affiliates recently hosted a Conservation Day at the Capitol with more than 300 citizens in attendance. This event was designed to bring conservationists from all across Missouri together at the capitol for a day of promoting and supporting Missouri’s outdoor heritage. Participants met with legislators to educate them about conservation issues and thank them for protecting the natural resources of Missouri.

For more information or to join MCCA, go to the www.confedmo.org/mcca.

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