As a student of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, my dream was to write for the Missouri Conservationist. This magazine represented to me excellence in both mission and execution that is the hallmark of the Missouri Department of Conservation.
As it happens, the path between that young woman’s plans and where I find myself today was not a straight line. Although I started my professional career with the Department, the subsequent years found me both in the public and private sectors, typically dealing with policy issues involving conservation, environmental protection, and the outdoors.
Throughout that journey, and especially during my past six years as director of our sister agency, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the one reoccurring theme has been the importance of partnerships and the work of our stakeholders. Looking at the history of wildlife conservation in Missouri, there has been no success without cooperation. Some of those partnerships have been inter-governmental, some involve grassroots efforts and not-for-profit organizations.
Nowhere is the importance of those partnerships and cooperation better illustrated than in our battle against chronic wasting disease. As you’re reading this, the Department is gearing up for an unprecedented, “all-hands-on-deck” opening weekend of firearms deer season. Virtually everyone in the Department, including me, will be staffing designated sampling sites in an effort to track and stop the spread of this devastating disease (find out more in Hunters, Help Us!). Again, success here requires the participation of our deer hunters.
When others eye the Missouri conservation story, they see our non-partisan structure, our funding, our 80-year history of success, but often overlook the strong support we enjoy from our stakeholders and partner agencies.
As we move forward, my focus will remain on nurturing and expanding those stakeholder relationships because without them, there is no success. As a Missourian, I, too, remain a stakeholder in this great mission of preserving Missouri’s fish, forests, and wildlife.
—Sara Parker Pauley, director
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Art Director - Cliff White
Associate Editor - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Designer - Stephanie Thurber
Circulation - Laura Scheuler