Up Front With Sara Parker Pauley


Years ago, when traveling through eastern Iowa, I was tempted by the signs on the road directing me to the farm where Field of Dreams was filmed. It has since been developed, but at the time was a simple baseball diamond — not much else. Still, I threw a few pitches, snapped some photos, and muttered the iconic line from the film, “If you build it, he will come.”

I thought of that trip recently when touring a western Missouri conservation area in one of our nine priority geographies, the Osage Grasslands, with department staff. We stood on a high vista overlooking a beautiful landscape of rolling hills that was once part of a broader network of prairies spanning nearly one-third of our state. Our team of experts discussed plans underway to restore these precious grassland prairies and thereby secure a home for the wildlife that depend upon such habitat. (See Seven Wins for Wildlife)

One tool we’re employing is the conversion of crop and fescue fields using prairies plantings, both on public and participating private lands. And the wildlife is responding. Pollinators, such as the monarch butterfly and the regal fritillary, are thriving on these restored landscapes. Grassland birds — declining faster than any other — such as the Henslow’s sparrow, the eastern meadowlark, and northern bobwhite now have a place to call home. I delighted at the vision of these restored prairies thriving with grassland creatures and mused, “If you build it, they will come.”

Sara Parker Pauley, Director


Also In This Issue

And More...

This Issue's Staff