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HomeOutdoorsConservation Officer Appreciation Day recognized on March 15

Conservation Officer Appreciation Day recognized on March 15

REGION- As fully commissioned peace officers who serve a unique role in our state’s law enforcement community, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers receive specialized training to protect natural resources and the people who enjoy them.

In honor of the 250 men and women who swore under oath to faithfully enforce the laws of Michigan and the DNR, and who currently patrol in all 83 counties, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed Wed. Mar. 15, as Conservation Officer Appreciation Day.

“Michigan’s conservation officers are in the field every day, working hard to protect our state’s natural resources – our fish, wildlife, parks and forests – and the visitors who enjoy them,” said Gov. Whitmer. “Conservation Officer Appreciation Day is an opportunity to recognize these men and women for their service, bravery, and commitment to safe, positive outdoor recreation experiences and sustainable natural resources. It also might inspire a new generation to explore careers in DNR law enforcement.”

The proclamation, in part, shares that:

  • The State of Michigan considers the protection of its citizens, environment and cultural and natural resources to be among its highest priorities.
  • Conservation officers continuously adapt to successfully meet emerging challenges, accept new missions and deliver premier customer service.
  • These officers serve with bravery, honor and distinction in locations ranging from urban communities to the deep woods and the Great Lakes.
conservation officer checking licenses
Conservation Officer Richard Cardenas talks to a group of hunters in Barry County as he checks their hunting licenses.

In 2022, DNR conservation officers contacted nearly 440,000 people. As front-line protectors of Michigan’s lakes, rivers and streams, fish and wildlife, and historical resources, they – through their patrols and outreach – help ensure that the next generation can safely and successfully enjoy hunts that put food on the table, plan camping trips at scenic locations on public lands, spend time in thriving state forests, and responsibly participate in boating, snowmobiling and other outdoor recreation.

Their shift might begin at 3 a.m., gearing up in green with hunter orange and silently leaving home before anyone else is awake to be in the woods for the first shots of opening day. The work is unpredictable – responding to reports of off-road vehicle trespassing, road hunters with loaded and uncased firearms, and hunters or hikers who didn’t return home on time. Sometimes it’s celebrating a young angler’s first catch.

Conservation officers go where and when they are needed.

“Our Michigan conservation officers do it all, and with tremendous pride and dedication to the people and resources they protect,” said DNR Acting Director Shannon Lott. “To the men and women who patrol in green, and then transition to coaching their child’s sports team, caring for a sick parent or spouse, serving the military on their days off, or selflessly embracing life’s other daily demands – thank you. You are appreciated.”

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety, and protect residents through general law enforcement and conducting lifesaving operations in the communities they serve.

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