Sara Parker Pauley was named director of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

The Missouri Conservation Commission has selected Sara Parker Pauley as the ninth director of the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC).

The move is effective Nov. 1 as she will become the first female director in the conservation department’s 79-year history.

“As a lifelong conservationist, hunter and outdoorswoman, Sara Parker Pauley appreciates and understands the value of Missouri’s fish, forest and wildlife resources,” said Conservation Commission Chair Dave Murphy. “Sara has a breadth of experience and a proven track record of success to lead the department.”

“I look forward to this opportunity the commission has entrusted me with,” Pauley said. “I began my career working for the department and I look forward to working with the staff, dedicated volunteers, and committed partners to lead this agency into the future.”

MDC protects and manages the fish, forest and wildlife resources of the state and provides opportunities for citizens to use, enjoy and learn about these resources. Pauley replaces Robert Ziehmer, who resigned in July to work in the private sector.

“Sara Parker Pauley is an excellent and well-qualified choice as conservation director,” said Gov. Jay Nixon. “I’ve had the great pleasure to hunt and fish with Sara several times, and I’ve seen firsthand her respect and love of the outdoors. With her significant management experience, she is poised and prepared to take the best state conservation department in the U.S. to even greater heights, especially in getting even more young people involved in the outdoors.”

Since December 2010, Pauley has served as the director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Pauley previously worked as a project manager for D.J. Case & Associates, a natural resources communications firm. She worked with federal and state agencies on policy development, marketing and environmental compliance. From 2001 to 2005, Pauley served as the deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. She also served as chief of staff to former Missouri House Speaker Steve Gaw.

Pauley has been an executive committee and board member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri. She was a member of the board of the American National Fish and Wildlife Museum, where she served as director of conservation programs. She has published several articles on wildlife and natural resources management.

A native of Columbia, Pauley received both her law degree and her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and did post-graduate studies in Australia as a Rotary Fellow. She was an instructor at the University of Missouri’s School of Natural Resources, where she taught a course in natural resource policy and administration. She has ties to Texas County, where the Parker family lived. Her grandmother was historian Julia West Parker, whose columns appeared for years in the Houston Herald.

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