Meet Great Rivers Habitat Alliance’s New Executive Director
"I have admired the work GRHA has done since its inception in 2000 and have a lifelong appreciation of the Confluence and the protections the organization accomplishes. GRHA and its partners have testified at numerous public hearings and submitted written opposition to planned developments, zoning changes, and annexation proposals in the Confluence. More importantly, GRHA has raised public awareness about the floodplain's importance in terms of flood storage, clean water, and agriculture." Checkett said. "It's both exciting and humbling to be chosen as GRHA’s new Executive Director. As a lifelong hunter, angler and conservationist, I look forward to building on our record of success," said Checkett.
Checkett was with Ducks Unlimited for the past 18 years, where he was most recently the Director of Development for Missouri and Kentucky. He led Missouri twice to the number one spot in the Ducks Unlimited State Development Campaign, and he and his team were responsible for raising more than $25 million in cash and another $26 million in commitments of conservation in his eight years at the helm.
"From the outset, we wanted our new Executive Director to have a unique balance of conservation, policy, fundraising and agriculture background," said GRHA President Chris Hyams. "In Mike, we feel we have hit on all four. Not to mention he is an approachable, knowledgeable, passionate and visionary person. We think Mike is the perfect fit."
Mike’s background includes employment as the State Waterfowl Biologist for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Research Scientist for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Early in his career for DU in Missouri Mike spearheaded the partnership with GRHA which thrives today, supporting GRHA’s conservation work in the Confluence and DU’s Big Rivers Initiative.
An experienced outdoorsman and strong advocate for the environment, Checkett is also a staunch supporter of agriculture and the service they provide our environment and country.
"My vision for GRHA is to bring together conservation-minded folks from all walks of life, whether they're farmers, city-dwellers, cyclists, recreational boaters, biologists, hunters…anyone who has a connection to wildlife, which is everyone," Checkett said. "If we are going to protect the Confluence 100-year floodplain for the benefit of wildlife, historic waterfowling, agriculture, clean water and people we must continue to build a coalition of people who believe natural spaces matter. Partnerships are the key, working together to reach a common goal of a healthy Confluence and flood protection for the communities across St. Louis."
Checkett is a fourth-generation St. Louisan and is a graduate of the University of Missouri, Columbia School of Agriculture and Natural Resources, where he obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Mike and his wife of 10 years, Ramsey, are raising their three children, black Lab and Boykin Spaniel in Wildwood. Mike is part of the Over & Under and Quacker Clubs in St. Charles and Duck Head in Stuttgart, Arkansas.