I was at a meeting a few weeks ago with other conservation directors from around the country when one of my east coast colleagues asked me about MDC’s bear biologist. “You know the one you stole from us,” he said. I grinned and said, “Laura (Conlee) is fantastic, and thanks again for training her!” Read more on Laura’s bear research work.
Such good-natured banter among directors is commonplace, but the amazing talent and expertise that is characteristic of MDC staff is anything but common. I find myself continuously in awe of the knowledge, skills, and passion MDC professionals demonstrate in their work for the citizens and the fish, forest, and wildlife resources. They inspire me.
Stories of MDC staff and their professionalism are abundant year-round, but with spring newly arrived, I think about the wildfire season and the skilled MDC employees that are ready to respond — to fight public land fires, to assist rural fire districts in their response efforts, and even to assist firefighting colleagues in other states. Our crews are mobilized with Iowa firefighters through the Missouri Iowa Coordination Center. Last year alone, six Missouri-Iowa crews headed west to fight fires, including the infamous California Carr and Stone fires.
I received an email from one MDC firefighter after he returned from the California fires with these words, “I am lucky to work for an agency that is filled with people that want to help others and make a difference.” I feel the same, every single day.
Sara Parker Pauley, Director
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Heather Feeler
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Creative Director - Stephanie Thurber
Art Director - Cliff White
Designer - Les Fortenberry
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler