The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies named Andy Barnes the 2018 Colonel Bob Brantley Wildlife Officer of the Year at their annual meeting in Mobile this week. Barnes is a conservation officer for the Missouri Department of Conservation.
“Today’s conservation enforcement officers wear many hats. They assist other law enforcement officers with everything from search and rescue to manhunts. They are the primary face of our state agencies to the public. They mentor, educate, promote, serve and protect,” SEAFWA President Chuck Sykes said. “Agent Barnes readily meets all of these demands.”
Barnes is assigned to Lawrence County. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in wildlife conservation and management from Missouri State University and graduated the Agent Training Academy in 2006. He grew up in Mountain Home, Arkansas.
His knowledge of swift-water rescue techniques and equipment has made him an incredibly valuable member of the MDC and partner to other law enforcement agencies. He provided a demonstration at a four-states meeting for Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma fish and wildlife agencies.
Barnes takes public outreach seriously, engaging in youth hunting, shooting, and fishing events; hunter education programs; outdoor outreach programs; archery in the schools; and providing numerous talks to schools and media interviews.
“Agent Barnes’ efforts toward advancing the mission of the Department center on high quality law enforcement, outstanding public outreach and landowner services, and a strong work ethic focused on teamwork and cooperation,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “He is usually one of the first in the region to volunteer for special events or patrols, and his willingness to help others does not go unnoticed.”
This is the second time Agent Barnes has been recognized as Missouri’s Conservation Agent of the Year. He is the first agent to receive it more than once.
The Association’s Wildlife Officer of the Year Award is determined by nominations submitted to the head of law enforcement from the SEAFWA states and territories. In addition to direct law enforcement, an officer is selected based on community service, outreach and education, interdepartmental cooperation and innovations that may be utilized by other officers and departments.
The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) is an organization whose members are the state agencies with primary responsibility for management and protection of the fish and wildlife resources in 15 states, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. Member states are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.