Up Front with Sara Parker Pauley

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

On mornings I know I’m headed to the field, it’s interesting to me how my feet hit the floor long before the alarm says it’s time. I believe that’s because such days hold great promise of outdoor adventure and an opportunity to see MDC professionals in action.

Twice in recent days this came true as I spent two fabulous days afield — one on Lead Mine Conservation Area and the other on Spring Creek Gap Conservation Area, with MDC natural history biologists (NHBs) and other remarkable team members. I feel like a game show host when afield with our NHBs. I’ll point to a wildflower, tree, or songbird and say, “Name that species!” They shout out the common or Latin name, and before I can ask, “Is that your final answer,” we’re off to the next one. There are no weakest links with these talented professionals, and they inspire me to dust off my collection of Missouri natural history books as it’s never too late to learn.

And the research is overwhelming on the benefits of lifelong learning — that when we feed the human drive for curiosity and personal growth, it improves our motivation, self-confidence, and so much more. A perfect opportunity to learn more about Missouri’s flora and fauna is through the Missouri Master Naturalist Program. This program, a partnership between MDC and University of Missouri Extension, combines the benefits of individual learning with the gains of making a positive difference in Missouri communities.

So, when it comes to improving oneself and the world around us, I’ll take Master Naturalists for $1,000, Alex.

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