Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Joshua Shadwick of Coffeyville, Kansas, serves and protects Missouri’s wildlife. He has found a challenging yet fulfilling job as a law enforcement agent protecting wildlife and other natural resources as a conservation agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).
“What excites me about working in my field of natural resource law enforcement is it’s an often overlooked aspect of law enforcement where the illegal wildlife trade makes up for the fourth largest illegal trade behind drugs, guns and human trafficking,” Joshua says.
As part of his duties, he is involved in enforcement, public relations and education; wildlife, fisheries and forest management; and other department activities. When necessary, he also provides prosecuting attorneys reports on a state and federal level. In addition, he works with other law enforcement agencies from local to federal agencies. His position is to enforce the wildlife code of Missouri along with federal wildlife regulations.
“The purpose is to gain compliance in order to protect the wildlife and other natural resources for generations to come,” Joshua says.
“The outside world is an amazing area, where it seems most of us are too busy and in a hurry getting from place to place. That’s why I feel this quote from John Lubbock says it all, ‘Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.’ I wanted to protect the natural world for generations to come,” he said.
Joshua says he has found Missouri to be one of the most advanced states regarding wildlife protection enforcement.
“The Missouri Department of Conservation is a very progressive and forward thinking conservation department when compared to other states. Equipment and training for a conservation agent in Missouri is one of the best nationwide. MDC’s general conservation model with excellent educational resources for the public along with a very professional enforcement aspect makes Missouri one of the best,” Joshua says.
Joshua graduated with a Master of Science in criminal justice from Southeast. He says he chose Southeast because of the many opportunities it would afford him in pursuing a master’s degree and career, especially because of its relationship with Missouri Southern State University (MSSU), located in Joplin, Missouri. Southeast partners with MSSU for students seeking a Master of Science in criminal justice online.
“It helped me to think outside the box to not only become a more effective law enforcement officer but to become a more confident individual overall within society,” he says.
One of Joshua’s favorite memories came during graduation from his training program.
“One of my favorite memories is when I graduated from the Conservation Agent Training Academy in Jefferson City, and the badge of a Conservation Agent was pinned on my chest, and I knew I had joined a brotherhood of individuals where many have tried but few have succeeded in joining,” he says.
Joshua’s career aspirations include refining his skills as a conservation agent and to purse a doctoral degree in the future.
“Fishing, hunting, scuba diving, camping and reading are a few hobbies I enjoy which brings me back to nature. My favorite activity is to be in nature itself, and take in all of the senses and explore what is often overlooked,” Joshua said.
Outside of work, his favorite travel destination is the Caribbean, he says. “When you have your toes in the sand and the ocean breeze on your back, the small trivial things in life seem to wash away,” Joshua says.
He advises Southeast students “to rise and grind, and to talk less and grind more in the pursuit of their goals.” Students should also have “a solid set of values for all aspects of life from your professional to your personal life,” he says.
“I’m always open to talk and if you ever see me out and about, hit me up about whatever is on your mind. Here’s a quote from Bob Marley, ‘The greatness of a man or woman is not in how much wealth they will acquire but in their integrity and their ability to affect those around them positively,’” Joshua says.
In addition, he suggests reading more. He recommends Dave Ramsey’s personal finance books along with Eric Thomas’ motivational books.
“Where the average person reads a book a year, don’t be average,” he says.