Skip to main content

Friday is Conservation Officer Appreciation Day

As fully licensed law enforcement officers who serve a unique role in our state’s law enforcement community, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers receive additional training to protect natural resources – fish and wildlife, state parks and forests, rivers, lakes and streams – and the people who enjoy them.

In honor of the 250 men and women who swore under oath to faithfully enforce the laws of Michigan and the rules and regulations of the DNR, and who currently patrol all 83 counties, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed Friday, March 15, as Conservation Officer Appreciation Day.

The proclamation, in part, shares that:

  • The State of Michigan considers the protection of its citizens, environment and cultural, historic and natural resources to be among its highest priorities.
  • Conservation officers continuously adapt to successfully meet emerging challenges, accept new missions and deliver premier customer service.
  • These officers serve with bravery, honor and distinction in locations ranging from urban communities to the deep woods and the Great Lakes.

“DNR conservation officers work hard every day to protect Michigan’s natural resources and the millions of visitors who value them. It is less a job and much more a calling,” said DNR Director Scott Bowen.

These officers serve as front-line protectors, helping to ensure that the next generation can safely, successfully enjoy hunts that put food on the table, camping trips, hikes and other adventures on scenic public lands, and responsible participation in boating, off-road vehicle riding, snowmobiling and other outdoor pursuits.”

In 2023, DNR conservation officers contacted more than 420,000 people through their patrols and outreach, in a job that is anything but predictable. A shift might begin at 3 a.m., gearing up in green with hunter orange and silently leaving home to ensure they are in the woods before the first shots of opening day, or responding to reports of ORV trespassing, illegal hunting from vehicles with loaded and uncased firearms, and hunters or hikers who didn’t return home on time. Sometimes it’s about celebrating an angler’s first catch or rewarding young boaters for properly wearing their life jackets.

“Conservation officers respond where they are needed, when they are needed,” Bowen said.

Michigan conservation officers are fully licensed law enforcement officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety, and protect residents through general law enforcement and conducting lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more at

Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Duck: Conservation Officer Sydney Griffor verifies a northern pintail, successfully taken in St. Clair County.

River: Acting Sgt. Kyle Bucholtz and Conservation Officer Marissa Sturtevant check for anglers on a spring day in Huron County.

Teaching: Conservation Officer Anna Cullen presents a fur kit to a young group of students in Muskegon County.