Preserve & Protect – Michael Brock

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CONSERVATION A RESPONSIBILITY AND PRIVILEGE FOR LOCAL DNR OFFICER

Some of Michael Brock's favorite childhood memories are of times spent outdoors with his family — experiences that taught him a great respect and appreciation for nature, as well as the importance of environmental conservation. Now, as a law enforcement officer with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Brock enforces state and federal laws designed to preserve the Lowcountry's pristine natural beauty for future generations. For him, it's more than just a job; it's a privilege.

“I remember fishing and hunting with my grandfather, father and uncle, and being checked by the 'game warden' on a couple of occasions,” Brock said. “I always thought how great it must be to ride around in a boat and truck and talk to people all the time. Those interactions instilled in me the importance of taking care of our natural resources. I also had a couple of friends whose dads were game wardens and so I was exposed to how incredible it was to have this job and responsibility.”

After graduating from the University of South Carolina, Brock worked for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources for several years before accepting a job with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in 2006. In addition to enforcing environmental laws, Brock's duties as a DNR officer include checking licenses, permits and limits for recreational hunting and fishing, regulating a thriving commercial fishing industry and assisting local, state and federal agencies with search and rescue operations and public safety scenarios. The work is varied and occasionally awkward.

“A typical day could be as simple as checking for fishing licenses and catch limits or inspecting the equipment on a shrimp trawler,” Brock said. “There is an endless amount of possibilities ... Working in the woods and some of the remote areas of the rivers and creeks has caused me to encounter both people and animals in some tough situations. I've discovered that, when it comes to the animals, they don't seem to be as embarrassed as the people do in certain situations.”

It's been more than a decade since Brock became a natural resources law enforcement officer and, in all that time, his passion for the work has never waned. He loves what he does and particularly enjoys the opportunity it gives him to spread his conservation message.

“My favorite thing with this job is meeting and talking with people,” he said. “I've made a lot of good friends through my work. I've found that by interacting with people on a daily basis, my fellow officers and I can spread the word on the importance of preserving and enjoying the many natural resources this area offers. It's very rewarding when we meet people that appreciate the fact that our natural resources aren't unlimited and some self-restraint in certain situations can go a long way toward preserving those resources for future generations.”

For more information on the South Carolina DNR, go to www.dnr.sc.gov. The department is also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Michael Brock's Tips for Water Safety

1.   Make sure you have all of your required safety equipment.
2.   Understand that, as a boat operator, the safety of those aboard your vessel is your responsibility. Be courteous to other boaters on the water and be overcautious. There are boating safety courses available that will teach you how to safely operate a boat.
3.   Take your boat out at low tide and familiarize yourself with water hazards such as sandbars, oyster beds and other structures that aren't visible at high tide.