Up Front With Sara Parker Pauley


This past month the department held its annual Missouri Conservation Partners Roundtable, but the first in a virtual format. We were concerned about the effects of these important face-to-face conversations with key partners transitioning to computer screens and imperfect technology, yet were elated when over 680 partners and organizations registered for the event.

One highlight was our keynote speaker, Simon Roosevelt, the great, great grandson of President Teddy Roosevelt, and a national conservation leader in his own right. His virtual presentation was delivered in front of a grand fireplace — one I could envision Teddy sitting in front of with colleagues discussing the future of conservation in our nation.

Simon’s words were rich. He noted current challenges are many, but what is needed in our deeply divided country is unity of purpose, much like when President Roosevelt brought together divergent leaders to discuss, debate, and design the conservation legacy that survives to this day. He noted Missouri’s own conservation history was founded and funded largely by our diverse citizenry. He believed if unity could happen, it would happen here.

I thought of this as I listened to our virtual roundtable sessions — to rich conversations among our diverse partners, all considering current challenges and discussing possible paths forward. I, too, was filled with hope that if unity were possible, it was possible here.

I’m certain Simon’s great, great grandfather Teddy was looking down from above, perhaps sitting in front of a grand fireplace, confident in the possibilities ahead.

Sara Parker Pauley, Director SARA.PAULEY@MDC.MO.GOV

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