2023 Partners Roundtable


Sharing the Conservation Journey:
Community. Challenges. Collaboration.

parntners roundtable 2023

University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center
Springfield, MO - October 11 & 12


Registration for the 7th annual Missouri Conservation Partners Roundtable is now open!

We are excited to be together in-person this year, October 11-12, at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield. Our theme is “Sharing the Conservation Journey” where we will be focusing on community, challenges, and collaboration on how we can come together with our partners to make an evolving impact on conservation in Missouri. 

The overarching purpose of the Missouri Conservation Partners Roundtable is to establish and strengthen new and existing partnerships through information sharing and listening. Staff are encouraged to participate and interact with our many conservation partners. We also have a great slate of plenary speakers and breakout sessions.

Please register by September 22.

Free to attend.


As we continue to grow and evolve in our conservation journey, this year’s theme will be focused on sharing that conservation story, including how we can expand our conservation community, proactively tackle conservation challenges, and collaborate with new and existing partners to positively impact conservation in Missouri.


Download the App
Get our official event app,
For Blackberry or Windows Phone, Click here
For feature details, visit Whova

2023 Missouri Conservation Partners Roundtable

7th annual Missouri Conservation Partners Roundtable - October 11-12, at the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield.
Please register by September 22.
Embed Code
2023 Schedule Overview

Welcome and Opening Remarks: Sara Parker Pauley, Director, Missouri Dept. of Conservation

Keynote Address: David Tenny, CEO, National Alliance of Forest Owners

Plenary Speaker Panel (moderated by David Tenny)

  • Dave Murphy, Former Missouri Department of Conservation Commissioner
  • Ashley Smith, CEO, Minority Outdoor Alliance
  • Mitzi Reed, Invasive Species Coordinator, Native American Fish & Wildlife Society
  • Adam Saunders, Co-Founder, Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture

8:00 AM..................................... Field Trip Check-in
8:30 – 11:30 AM ..................... Field Trips (optional)
...............................  Field Trip registration required
10:30 AM - 1:00 PM ................... Registration Open
12:00 -5:00 PM ..................... Exhibits/Booths Open
1:00 - 2:15 PM .......................... Welcome/Keynote
2:15 - 2:30 PM .............................................. Break
2:30 - 4:30 PM ..................... Plenary Speaker Panel
5:00 - 6:30 PM ............. MDC Roundtable Reception


7:30 - 9:00 AM .............................. Registration Open
7:30 - 8:30 AM ................................. Breakfast Buffet
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM ............... Exhibits/Booths Open
8:30 - 9:45 AM .............................. Breakout Sessions
9:45 - 10:15 AM ........................... Time to Visit/Break
10:15 - 11:30 AM ........................... Breakout Sessions
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM ........................................ Lunch
12:45 – 2:00 PM ............................ Breakout Sessions
2:00 – 2:15PM ........................... Time to Visit/ Break
2:15 - 3:00 PM ................................... Closing Session


8:30-9:45am CHALLENGE

Turkeys 101: History/Ecology, Research/Management, and Partnerships/Challenges
Turkey management has a long history in Missouri.  The panel will work through providing a brief history and update on turkeys, research, and management in Missouri. An open discussion regarding turkey management, challenges, and the importance of partnerships will round out the session.

Changing Wildlife Values
In 2018 researchers at Colorado State University partnered with Fish and Wildlife agencies across the country to undertake one of the largest ever studies focused on the human dimensions of wildlife management. Their research revealed a widespread shift in values-orientations away from the traditionalism and domination that characterized wildlife management for much of the 20th century, towards a more mutualist orientation, where wildlife are understood as an extension of human social networks. MDC partners and staff are invited to participate in an interactive world café session focused on exploring the implications of these changing wildlife values for conservation in Missouri and beyond. Participants will discuss the ways in which MDC is already responding to these changes and identify pathways for a wider array of values and priorities to inform decision making at MDC. Participants will discuss how the Department is already adapting to changing wildlife values, where work still needs to be done, and collaboratively envision an inclusive future for conservation in Missouri.

50 Years of the Endangered Species Act: Successes, Challenges and Opportunities
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act! Participants in this workshop will learn more about MDC’s endangered species and wildlife diversity conservation program and explore partnership opportunities. The session will begin with a panel discussion featuring MDC Species Recovery Leads and partners including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the WildCare Institute at the Saint Louis Zoo. During the second half of the session participants will break into groups to invite partner input into MDC’s endangered species and wildlife diversity program, explore opportunities for more effectively collaborating towards species recovery and conservation efforts, and consider new partnership opportunities.


Rallying Points: Embracing Missouri's Natural Communities
Missouri is home to amazing natural communities, boasting remarkable species diversity, including prairies and savannas, woodlands and forests, glades, cliffs and talus, caves and karst features, wetlands, rivers, and streams. Of Missouri’s natural communities, however, most prairie and savanna, wetland, and bottomland forest/woodland types are listed as either critically imperiled or imperiled, and our stream communities harbor a concerning percentage of our most imperiled species. Only through immense and innovative approaches and collaborations can we change the trajectory of these natural systems, their associated species, and the incredible, often under-recognized, ecosystem functions they provide.

A Place for All of Us: How Conservation Relevancy Can Open Pathways to the Outdoors
Missouri’s population is becoming increasingly diverse, often with fewer opportunities to connect with nature due to urban sprawl, lack of transportation and/or green spaces, an ever-growing number of day-to-day tasks related to modern life, and a dwindling level of traditional ecological knowledge.

What can conservation organizations do to encourage or facilitate connections to the outdoors, particularly for Missourians who may encounter barriers to enjoying nature? What is our responsibility as a conservation community to provide equitable opportunities in the outdoors? How does the concept of conservation relevancy help us to pass along traditional ecological knowledge to current and future generations?

In this session, we will provide an overview of MDC’s recent conservation relevancy efforts and then offer participants an opportunity to dialogue about key concepts related to our state’s collective efforts to share the outdoors with everyone.

Invasive Species: Collaborative Solutions to Shared Challenges
Invasive species are recognized worldwide as the second biggest threat to native species and natural communities. Agencies, organizations and private citizens struggle independently to prevent, eradicate, control, and manage invasive species within their own boundaries. The conservation community now aims to expand partnerships and collaborations to achieve success across land ownership boundaries, via landscape-scale early detection and control of the constant threat of invasive species.

12:45-2:00 COMMUNITY

Add Zeros to Your Return on Investment: Recruiting and Retaining Hunters and Anglers by the Thousands not by Tens
This break-out session will provide partners the opportunity to collaborate on our efforts to help recruit, retain and reactivate hunters, anglers, trappers, and recreational shooters. Presentation on past and current efforts will be given, and partners are encouraged to provide feedback on how best to work together to achieve R3 goals of all involved.

Community Conservation and YOU
A look at today’s Conservation efforts. How we are tackling environmental issues in Missouri and around the country.

The Sky is Not Falling (But It Sure Feels Like It!): How to Take Care of Nature and Yourself at the Same Time
Taking care of nature and you is important! The conservation field is hard work and burnout is real, especially when we see negative changes in nature all around us. Join us for an engaging, interactive session where we fill our toolboxes with inspirational tips and tricks from one another to help re-energize our professional and personal lives. Do you have a strategy or activity that you employ to help you take care of yourself while also taking care of nature? If you’d be willing to share it with the group by way of a short (5 minutes or less) presentation, please email your material to  Lorisa.Smith@mdc.mo.gov no later than Friday, September 22.

Sara Parker Pauley

Sara Parker Pauley serves as the ninth Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation since its formation in 1937. The Missouri Conservation Commission announced Pauley’s selection effective November 1, 2016.

A native of Columbia, Pauley received both her law degree and bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and did post-graduate studies in Australia as a Rotary Fellow. She previously served as Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources since 2010. She has worked as project manager for D.J. Case & Associates, a natural resources communications firm, and as a deputy director for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. She has been an instructor at the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources, teaching a course in natural resource policy and administration. She also serves as the current President of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies.

Pauley began her professional career as a Policy Analyst with the Missouri Department of Conservation from 1993-1996. Over the years, though her career path varied, it has never strayed far from her personal desire to be engaged in the stewardship of Missouri’s natural resources.

Dave Murphy

Dave grew up on a farm in northeast Missouri, graduated from Canton High School and was a bicentennial graduate of Mizzou in Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife. He earned a Master of Science degree in Wildlife from Mizzou. He became Regional Field Supervisor of the National Wild Turkey Federation for Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.

During the 10 years of his service, NWTF grew from 11 local chapters in his region to more than 200 local chapters with over 60,000 members who to this day generate more than $2 million net each year for conservation projects. He served as Executive Director for the Conservation Federation of Missouri until his retirement in 2013. With his leadership, affiliated membership grew from 24,000 to over 1 million. Major successes include Share The Harvest Program, Conservation Leadership Corps for High School and College youth, Missouri Legislative Sportsmens Caucus and the Conservation Business Alliance.

He has long been active in various organizations including Optimists International and the Citizen’s Committee for the renewal of the State Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax. He has served as a Commissioner for the Missouri Department of Conservation. Dave and Gunilla (his wife of 45 years) live in Columbia. They own and operate his family’s farm near Fairmont and regularly host hunters and other nature enthusiasts new and experienced.

David Tenny

Dave Tenny is the founding President and CEO of NAFO. Under his leadership, NAFO has grown from 14 initial members in 2008 to 48 member companies that own and manage 46 million acres of private working forests and 34 state and national associations that represent tens of millions of additional acres. Dave’s passion for building trust and pursuing solutions-based advocacy has helped NAFO become a leading national advocate committed to advancing federal policies that ensure our working forests provide clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and jobs through sustainable practices and strong markets.

Dave previously served as Vice President for Forestry and Wood Products for the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) and as Deputy Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment at the United States Department of Agriculture where he had responsibility for the U.S. Forest Service. He got his start in the U.S. House of Representatives where he served as Counsel and Natural Resources Policy Advisor for the House Committee on Agriculture and as Counsel for U.S. Representative Wally Herger of California.

A native of Boise, Idaho, he earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and a law degree from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Ashley Smith

Attorney Ashley Smith is a bi-lingual thought leader, group cohesion expert, writer, and national public speaker. Ashley co-founded The Minority Outdoor Alliance with the mission of cultivating a more inclusive world that supports the enjoyment of and conservation of our natural resources. Ashley is also the founder of NOS Global, LLC, which helps organizations uncover how to benefit from an ever-changing world through data-driven diversity, equity, inclusion, and organizational cohesion programs.

Ashley has had the honor of giving speeches, facilitating workshops, and hosting large outdoor recreational and educational events for a number of state agencies, conservation organizations, and corporations across the nation.

Ashley completed her undergraduate education at the University of Georgia with degrees in journalism and Spanish. After college, Ashley completed her law degree at Georgia State University College of Law.

Ashley seeks the outdoors as a place to renew and rejuvenate. Ashley likes to meditate, pray, and exercise outdoors. She also enjoys archery, biking, hiking, and fishing. Ashley believes that there is so much more that unites us as human beings than divides us and believes that being outdoors is the perfect setting for memory making, tradition keeping, and connecting with others. Ashley and her husband have a young daughter and son.

Mitzi Reed

Mitzi Reed is the Invasive Species Coordinator for the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society. She is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, where she served as Director/Biologist of the Choctaw Wildlife and Parks. She brings over 20 years of experience in the environmental and wildlife fields. She received her bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of West Alabama. As the Invasive Species Coordinator, her role will be to develop an Invasive Species Program through engagement with Tribes for input on Invasive Species concerns, provide representation on Tribal interests in national invasive species initiatives, and provide technical assistance to NAFWS member tribes and individual members with an emphasis on invasive species.

Adam Saunders

Adam Saunders, 38, is a co-founder of the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and services as the Development Director. He also serves as the Campaign Director for the public-private-partnership effort to develop Columbia’s Agriculture Park. Adam is also a farmer who runs a fully integrated custom orchard installation/management service that specializes in apple and pear orchards. Adam and his wife, Adrienne Stolwyk AP, recently built a net-zero Accessory Dwelling Unit in central Columbia that showcases in-fill development and sustainable design using strawbale insulation and earthen plasters. Adam grew up in Springfield, MO and currently lives in Columbia, MO with his wife and two young children.


MO Conservation Partners Roundtable 2023 - Keynote Speaker Dave Tenny

Embed Code

MO Conservation Partners Roundtable 2023 - Plenary Speaker Panel

Embed Code
Optional Field Trip Opportunities

We will be offering two optional field trips on Wednesday, October 11 from 8:30-11:30am for those interested in joining. These will take place prior to the start of the Partners Roundtable.

Space for the field trips is limited and available to individuals in the order in which they register.


Valley Water Mill Park- Owned by Springfield – Greene County Park Board but managed and maintained by Watershed Committee of the Ozarks.  This was one of the first projects in the Southwest Region to receive Community Conservation Grant funds, supporting glade restoration and habitat work for the site's Missouri Bladderpod. The efforts at Valley Water Mill Park have spurred other projects and the creation of the Watershed Conservation Corps.


Springfield Stream Naturalization Tour- This field trip will comprise of two stops, the Springfield Art Museum and South Creek to see varying phases of stream naturalization and revitalization projects. Both projects were completed by the City of Springfield with technical and financial assistance from MDC. This work had a direct correlation to the City of Springfield's decision to create a storm water team that focused solely on the development of native plantings in their maintenance.