David Calandro, a member of the TWS Missouri Chapter and USDA Wildlife Services employee, was named National Conservation Youth Leader by the National Wildlife Federation in June. The award recognizes the special conservation achievements of youth leaders within the National Wildlife Federation affiliate ranks. Among the achievements for which Calandro was recognized was the founding in 2015 of the Missouri Collegiate Conservation Alliance (MCCA), a program that engages college students in conservation efforts across Missouri.
A free membership organization, MCCA’s three main goals are to unite, educate and engage college students throughout the state who care about conservation regardless of their field of study. The group educates students about key conservation and natural resource issues and engages members in MCCA’s advocacy efforts.
Calandro graduated last spring from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a double major in forestry and fisheries and wildlife while also completing six years of service with the Army National Guard as a helicopter mechanic. Throughout his studies, he was actively involved in The Wildlife Society, the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Society, Forestry Club, and the Society of American Foresters. He is an alumni of the Conservation Leadership Corps a youth education program of the Conservation Federation of Missouri’s (CFM), and now serves on the CFM board of directors.
For two years he was the student body president of the School of Natural Resources and worked part-time for the USDA Wildlife Services program. “Like many students, David introduced himself and asked me for a job,” explained Parker Hall, director of the WS program in Missouri. “I offered him the chance to volunteer and gain experience. Most student do it once or twice. David came in every chance he could and asked me for a job every time. I couldn’t work him hard enough to make him quit, so I hired him. It turned out to be a great decision.”
“David’s dedication to protecting Missouri’s flora and fauna from feral swine threats is truly commendable,” said Hall. “He works seamlessly with the Missouri Department of Conservation, the U.S. Forest Service, Missouri DNR, and private landowners every day. His ‘can do’ attitude and dedication to the wildlife profession and species he is charged to protect make him a true asset to our program, as well as state and federal partners.”
For more information about the MCCA, visit www.confedmo.org/mcca.