Up Front with Sara Parker Pauley

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

When I crest the final hill on our road at day’s end, it’s the sycamores I first see — their white trunks and branches towering over the little creek and field that create the natural boundary of our property. With that view, I know I am home. “Place has always been the thing that made us. We cannot escape being formed by it,” says author Cole Arthur Riley. 

In this month’s issue, you’ll read about Missouri’s distinct and diverse natural communities — the places where specific Missouri flora and fauna thrive. From wetlands and woodlands to prairies and caves, they are the discrete physical environments that certain plants and animals call home. And just like any home, they require ample maintenance and care. (Learn about MDC’s efforts on Page 11.)

This was highlighted for me on a recent tour of MDC’s Hi Lonesome Prairie Conservation Area in southwest Missouri, near Cole Camp. The MDC team responsible for the 655-acre remnant prairie had just finished sharing their story of the decades-long effort to maintain this treasured natural community through prescribed burning, grazing, and other management tools. As if on cue, a large covey of quail walked across the road, just yards from our vehicle. I thought of Aldo Leopoldo’s words: “To those devoid of imagination, a blank place on the map is a useless waste; to others, the most valuable part.” To a passerby, it may have seemed like just another field of grass — to the covey of quail, this beautiful prairie was home.

Sara Parker Pauley, Director



Also In This Issue

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