Up Front With Sara Parker Pauley

By Sara Parker Pauley | May 1, 2021
From Missouri Conservationist: May 2021
Body

I needed spring in a different way this year. I needed to see the vibrant magenta of redbud blossoms descend on the Missouri River hills — and the dogwoods burst forth in their white glory — to remind me that all is well. Perhaps like so many, I’m just feeling the effects of pandemic fatigue. But in February, winter’s last blast of arctic air and snow ravaged local bluebird populations. Soon after, alarming news arrived that the overwintering numbers for monarch butterflies had plummeted another 26 percent, after a minor rebound in 2019. This was in addition to the news of a continuing global decline in overall insect populations, which could be devasting to the entire food web as insects pollinate the vast majority of earth’s flowering plants. I know that, overall, nature epitomizes the very definition of resilience, but stories of life’s fragility seem to have dominated the headlines this past year.

Yet spring has arrived, and with it the woodland wildflowers like blue-eyed Mary and wild sweet William are at the height of their glory. Male goldfinches are showing off their spring plumage at nearby bird feeders. On an early morning walk this week, I heard several gobblers announcing their triumph over winter’s hardships. And just today, out in the garden, I saw the flicker of colored wings I’d been longing for, that of a bluebird. Perhaps it’s a sign, a message for all of us, that resilience has the last word.

Sara Parker Pauley, Director

SARA.PAULEY@MDC.MO.GOV

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber

Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld

Associate Editor - Larry Archer

Photography Editor - Cliff White

Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek

Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter

Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner

Circulation - Laura Scheuler