Up Front

By Jason Sumners | July 1, 2024
From Missouri Conservationist: July 2024

When I sat in front of my first interview panel in the old Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) research office in Columbia 16 years ago, I never imagined the twists and turns my career would take or that the journey would lead me here, serving as the 10th MDC director.

My journey to a career in conservation began as a young child with parents who loved the outdoors. We spent weekends floating streams or simply flipping rocks and floating sycamore bark down the creek like it was a big river barge. Winter nights were often spent tagging along with my dad, following behind hounds hot on the trail of a raccoon.

I’m driven by a strong belief that nature matters and that a future with healthy fish, forests, and wildlife where all people appreciate nature is our north star and should continue to guide us forward. I’m extremely honored that the Missouri Conservation Commission has entrusted me with this enormous responsibility of leading the department. There is no state model for conservation quite like the Missouri model, and that’s because of our unique relationship with the public. I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve the resources of Missouri and its citizens in furthering our great conservation legacy.

I look forward to seeing many of you enjoying nature in Missouri.

Jason Sumners, 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 – Amanda DeGraffenreid
Designer – Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation – Marcia Hale