MDC’s Low receives OWAA Jade of Chiefs top conservation award

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (MDC) - Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) News Services Coordinator Jim Low recently received the top conservation award from the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), The Voice of the Outdoors, during its annual conference in Grand Rapids, Mich.

According to the OWAA, the Jade of Chiefs Award represents an affirmation of OWAA adherence to and support of the principles of conservation. The OWAA has honored 44 conservation communicators since the award's inception in 1958.

"I am thrilled that my peers considered me worthy of such a high honor," said Low, who served as OWAA president in 2006-07 and holds degrees in journalism and wildlife management from the University of Missouri-Columbia. "I will spend the rest of my career trying to live up to it."

Low, who has worked for the MDC for 18 years, said he also is grateful for the opportunity to work for an agency whose tradition of excellence in communications made his career possible. "The Conservation Department has always encouraged all its employees - from full-time writers to conservation agents and other field staff - to preach the conservation gospel."

In addition to Low, four former MDC employees are among the "Circle of Chiefs," as recipients of the Jade of Chiefs award are collectively known: Werner Nagel, Dan Saults, Jim Keefe and Joel Vance.

In 1981, the MDC became the first and only government agency to receive another OWAA top conservation honor: The Mountain of Jade Award. The honor recognizes groups or individuals for outstanding conservation efforts. The MDC received the award for "its distinguished efforts to preserve, perpetuate, or improve the quality of America's great outdoors" through its Design for Conservation program.

Since its inception in 1927, OWAA has become the largest and oldest association of professional outdoor communicators in the United States. OWAA's mission is to improve the professional skills of its members, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources and mentor the next generation of professional outdoor communicators. For more information, visit

The people of Missouri created the Department of Conservation in 1936. Its mission is to protect and manage the fish, forest and wildlife resources of the state; to serve the public and facilitate their participation in resource management activities; and to provide opportunity for citizens to use, enjoy and learn about fish, forest and wildlife resources. For more information, visit