I am passionate about conservation for the same reasons you are — a lifetime of outdoor experiences shared with others. Thinking about conservation and why it matters started when I was very young.
In the 1970s, I listened to my dad, grandpas, and uncles talk about upcoming deer seasons. They expressed satisfaction that conservation efforts had improved Missouri’s deer herd, and that made an impression on me. Conservation principles and people’s support for them made it possible to see and harvest deer routinely on our families’ Osage County farms. Even though I was too young to hunt, I remember being glad about conservation because my dad would always stop along county roads and farm lanes to give my brother and me a chance to see deer standing in fields. The first time my brother spotted a deer before my dad did, Dad called him “eagle eye.” My brother was so proud, and I was proud for him. Decades of conservation made that 1970s moment possible. Our state’s continued commitment to conservation makes moments like that possible for all of us today.
Thinking conceptually about how conservation empowers women came later in my life, but an experience from my early childhood — and a lifetime of my mother’s support — helped set a course for me being a “woman in conservation.”
One morning my parents lifted my brother and me from our beds earlier than usual. They left us with my grandma so my mom could hunt alongside my dad on a very cold deer season Saturday. When you are a kid, you mostly think about your dad being tough.
Seeing my mom dressed for the field, ready for harsh conditions, and equipped the same as any hunting man left me thinking my mom must be pretty tough, too. In addition to trying her hand at deer hunting, Mom made great efforts to orchestrate summer swimming trips to local creeks, and she coached us kids through tall grass, briers, ticks, and snake encounters to fill ice-cream buckets with blackberries. She also worked with my dad to find opportunities for our busy family of six to go fishing.
While my mom helped lay the foundation for my appreciation of outdoor experiences, many other women and men have helped me find the courage to embrace new outdoor adventures and career challenges. Each adventure started with someone saying, “Let’s go! I’ll help you.”
The Missouri Department of Conservation is here to help you find your next outdoor adventure. March is a great time to start planning, and we have programs and conservation areas to help you and your family discover nature every day. For more information, visit our website at mdc.mo.gov, or call your regional office.
Jennifer Battson Warren, deputy director
EEditor - 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