Up Front With Sara Parker Pauley

By Sara Parker Pauley | February 1, 2023
From Missouri Conservationist: February 2023

I love a good comeback story — just when you think all hope is gone, the underdogs rise from the dust to remind you that one should never ever give up hope. Cue movies like Rocky — I’m in.

Our country’s conservation history is rich with such stories — the founding of the Missouri Department of Conservation by our citizenry in the 1930s just as wildlife was at its low point; or in the early 1970s, when the environmental movement rose to combat dangerous pollution in our air and waterways. About the same time, the use of pesticides like DDT and loss of habitat contributed to the drastic decline of the bald eagle and other species, leading the public and Congress to respond, including passage of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Signed into law 50 years ago by Richard Nixon, the president told the nation, “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed.” Cue the image of the American flag with a bald eagle.

Fifty years later we’ve seen some real successes with the ESA (see Flying High, Page 10), but darkness looms still. Over 12,000 species are in decline nationally, with more than a thousand in decline in Missouri alone. And these numbers are growing. Our wildlife need us now more than ever, just as we need them.

Cue the Rocky theme song. This story is far from over.

Sara Parker Pauley, Director



This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation - Laura Scheuler