SANTA FE – If you have a four-year degree from an accredited college, chances are you can be a conservation officer with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The Department is encouraging people with diverse educational degrees to apply to join the next generation professionals who protect and conserve our precious wildlife. “This is part of our increased efforts to attract and develop professionals who will be the front-line people to help manage and conserve New Mexico’s valuable wildlife resources,” Department Director Bruce Thompson said. “Our changing world has produced needs in conservation officers beyond biology.” The Department will advertise for as many as five conservation officer trainees from Feb. 21 through March 4. Applicants can find the recruiting notice and application instructions on the State Personnel Office web site, Trainee annual salaries begin at $27,331. Eligible applicants must have completed their degrees by June 2005. Training also will begin in June. The recruitment expands the college degrees the Department considers appropriate for conservation officer trainees to include wildlife and fisheries management or science, agricultural sciences, communications, journalism, biological and zoological sciences, forestry, natural resources management, ecology, outdoor recreation, environmental management or sciences, resource economics, wildlife law enforcement, behavioral and social sciences, and criminal justice. Hiring conservation officers with diverse educational training and experience reinforces the Department’s commitment to representing the background, knowledge, culture and capabilities of New Mexicans and New Mexico, said Guy Riordan, chairman of the State Game Commission. “As our society changes, our needs in wildlife conservation will be better met by those who can communicate effectively on a variety of topics among communities and cultures, while devoting substantial time to respectfully enforcing wildlife laws,” Riordan said. “Recognizing those needs includes consideration of a wider set of college backgrounds.” Interested applicants can get more information about conservation officer duties, educational and physical requirements, training and employee benefits by contacting the Department of Game and Fish Human Resources Office at (505) 476-8028 or visiting the Employment Opportunities of the Department website,