Up Front with Sara Parker Pauley

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

There are still a few monarchs fluttering in our patch of wildflowers, but most have started their long journey south to Mexico. I worry for our monarchs as they head to their wintering ground, now just a postage stamp of habitat. 

When the weight of despair feels heaviest for our winged pollinator friends, I remember when all seemed lost for waterfowl. Every story needs a hero, and for waterfowl, it was an American cartoonist turned conservationist, Jay “Ding” Darling. Appointed by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1934, Darling served as director of the forerunner to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He also attended the historic Sept. 10, 1935, meeting at the Tiger Hotel in Columbia that served as the birthing grounds for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Darling led the charge to develop the Federal Duck Stamp program, including designing the first stamp, requiring waterfowl hunters to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp to fund wetland habitat restoration. Since 1934, 98 percent of all funds have gone to wetland restoration on more than 6 million acres, positively impacting waterfowl and many other species.

Darling was later called “the best friend ducks ever had.” Other heroes still work tirelessly for waterfowl, such as partners like Ducks Unlimited and passionate hunters. So, for other species in decline, including the monarch, passage of the federal Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would make a significant difference, but our wildlife will always need individual heroes, just like you.

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 – Marcia Hale