Up Front with Sara Parker Pauley

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

I have anticipated and dreaded this column for nearly a year now. It was last summer that I shared with the Conservation Commission my plans to retire after more than 30 years in the natural resource profession. It was not an easy decision, but the right one as I considered personal priorities, such as caring for family.

Never in a million years would I have imagined becoming the director of MDC when I started my first job here more than 30 years ago. Now decades later, I’m filled with such gratitude for the past and confidence in the future.

It has been such a privilege to serve Missourians in this role. Our agency is second to none nationally — the Missouri Model of conservation standing the test of time. And what makes this model so unique? The independence, the source of funding, the strong and diverse partnerships, but the secret sauce? Strong public support. Thank you, Missourians, for championing MDC and its invaluable mission.

My heart is full of gratitude for our time together — not only for the supportive citizenry, but for the amazing staff that carry out the mission every day. I’m also full of confidence in the future with the commission’s naming of Jason Sumners as your next director.

Sometimes I’m asked if there would be a job I would enjoy more than this one, or would I change anything about the circuitous path my life has taken to get here. My response? “Not in a million years.”

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 - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation – Marcia Hale