KubotaoftheOzarks

Hatchery’s John Miller receives national lifetime achievement award

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John Miller in front of one of the indoor fish tanks at Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery near Branson. He was recently honored with  the National Association for Interpretation Region XI Lifetime Achievement Award. Miller is Shepherd of the Hills' Interpretive Center Manager.

John Miller in front of one of the indoor fish tanks at Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery near Branson. He was recently honored with the National Association for Interpretation Region XI Lifetime Achievement Award. Miller is Shepherd of the Hills’ Interpretive Center Manager.

BRANSON, Mo. – When it comes to promoting wise use of Missouri’s outdoor resources, John Miller has always known the message matters.

Miller, who is the Interpretive Center Manager at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Shepherd of the Hills Hatchery near Branson, has received the National Association for Interpretation (NAI) Region Six Lifetime Achievement Award. Miller was recognized March 4 at the NAI Region 6 Workshop in Natchitoches, LA.

Miller is a familiar face to visitors of . He has worked at the facility since 1990 and has been with MDC on a full-time or part-time basis since 1981. Public contact has always been important to Miller. One of the core principles of MDC is to help people discover nature, and just like most other forms of communication, Miller knows it’s all in the delivery.

“People don’t remember facts – they remember stories,” he said. “Interpretation provides information in a more profound way by using stories that are meaningful, relevant and appropriate to all audiences.”

Miller’s interpretive efforts with MDC have gone beyond giving programs in auditoriums and conversing with people across reception desks. He has written articles for a number of publications, including MDC’s “Missouri Conservationist” magazine, held several positions with the Association of Missouri Interpreters group, mentored volunteers for MDC and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, helped develop MDC’s Volunteer Management policy and has been involved with MDC volunteer training in southwest Missouri. While working at MDC’s August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in the early 1990s, Miller was the initial caretaker of “Peanut” the turtle. This deformed red-eared slider was rescued from a six-pack holder plastic ring in 1993 and now helps promote Missouri’s No MOre Trash! campaign.

On top of everything else, Miller still squeezes in time for fishing.

“John has been a strong supporter of not only NAI, but the entire interpretation profession throughout his career,” said NAI Executive Director Margo Carlock. “He has served in many leadership roles within our organization and within the Missouri interpretive community. I know of no one more deserving of this accolade from his peers.”

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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