Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation (MCHF) Executive Director Rick Thom recently announced his pending retirement, effective June 30. During Thom’s tenure, MCHF has increased its visibility, improved its business operations, and funded scores of conservation projects.
Thom has headed MCHF since 2007, after retiring from a 28-year career with the Missouri Department of Conservation, including positions as Natural History Division Chief and Wildlife Diversity Chief. Prior to his employment with the Conservation Department, Thom served as an officer in the U.S. Army and worked as a field biologist for the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. Thom has worked in Missouri and nationally to develop conservation programs and to secure funding for them. He was a charter organizer of the Natural Areas Association. He holds degrees in biology from Northern Illinois University, forestry from the University of Illinois, and public administration from the University of Missouri.
“One of the greatest pleasures I have had in my conservation work has been the opportunity to work with world class professionals, right here in our own Missouri Department of Conservation. Rick Thom is at the very top of that fraternity,” said MCHF Board President Steve Mowry. “I will miss Rick’s quiet, effective leadership at MCHF, but know that he will continue to remain involved as a private citizen. Our loss will be the gain of a number of private organizations, every one of which will benefit from his great experience, demeanor and knowledge.”
Thom said that he will enjoy more flexibility to pursue his many outdoor and conservation interests, and to spend more time with family and friends.
“It has been an honor and a great learning experience for me to work for MHCF”, said Thom. “The Foundation has enthusiastic board members and staff, wonderful conservation partners, and committed donors and friends. It was especially satisfying to continue to support the good work of the Missouri Conservation Department, which is the Foundation’s primary mission.”
MCHF Board Chairman David Reynolds said of Thom, “When Rick Thom became Executive Director of MCHF, he brought a wealth of conservation experience with him. He has used that experience to move the Foundation forward, and outlined a strategy for our future. Nature’s rhythms are a constant source of inspiration, much as Rick has inspired the Board during his tenure as executive director.”
Reynolds added that the MCHF will soon conduct a search for Thom’s replacement. Donna Richards, Communications Specialist for MCHF, will serve as interim Executive Director until a replacement is hired.
The Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization founded in 1997 to help meet financial needs placed on natural resource conservation and conservation-related outdoor recreation. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors comprised of conservation, community and business leaders. The Foundation’s small staff includes an executive director, accountant and communications specialist.