When I was a kid growing up in rural Missouri, nothing was as exhilarating as exploring the outdoors. With 12 acres that eventually became 22 — and is now my parents’ 50 — in a barely inhabited subdivision, my sister and I laid claim to the neighborhood, darting around on our bikes, swimming in the creek, fishing in our pond, building trails through the woods.
My dad also grew up in mostly rural areas of Missouri, spending much of his teenage and young adult life in the small town of Houston, on the banks of the Big Piney River. A lush hilly region in south central Missouri, tucked in Mark Twain National Forest in a dense blanket of Shortleaf Pines. He was raised to fish and hunt — and to also eat what he harvested. I grew up looking forward to trips to Boiling Springs Resort, complete with float trips and fishing.
These experiences helped cultivate in me a passion and excitement for nature and my time spent in it. That, in addition to the travels that I was lucky to be able to go on, all helped instill in me a fervor for exploring our country’s natural and — it’s important to add — public places. And as my passion for the outdoors has grown, so has my understanding of the need to protect not only nature and wildlife but our public lands as well.
A hunter, fisherman and hiker, my husband Michael shares this sentiment. We hope that our daughter will one day, too.
As people who enjoy and partake in all that nature has to offer, we have a responsibility to preserve and protect wildlife by working to minimize our impact. As we strive to educate our readers and ourselves, we are driven by science, reasoning, common sense and a zeal for exploration.