Up Front with Sara Parker Pauley

By Sara Parker Pauley | March 1, 2024
From Missouri Conservationist: March 2024

Oh, to be a child again — with a heart wide open to awe and wonder. When a walk through the woods is no mere act of the ordinary kind, but an awakening to nature’s mystery and allure. Yet, how does one hold onto this childlike spirit? After more than three decades in the natural resource profession, I’m sometimes asked to sum up my advice to the younger generation on what they should do with their lives. I often leave them with one of my favorite Howard Thurman quotes: “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I was blessed with family who not only introduced me to nature but made it come alive.  And I see more clearly with each passing decade what I experienced innately as a child — that in nature I know the thrill of adventure and yet a tranquility of spirit; the lure of the unknown and yet know that I am home.

But what about youngsters who might otherwise never get that introduction to the life-changing magic of the outdoors? Thank goodness for our conservation educators, conservation agents, and many other MDC staff and partners who are committed to connecting others to nature (see Show Me a Place, Page 18). 

Spring is here, friends — time to remember our childlike curiosity, refresh our sense of wonder, and reconnect to the great outdoors. Let’s head for the woods!

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