Sarah Elrod hopes to combine her interest in the outdoors with her experience in education to show teachers in south-central Missouri how conservation can provide innovative curriculum ideas.

Elrod is in her first year as a Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Conservation Educator in MDC’s Ozark Region. She is working with pre-service, elementary, middle school, and high school educators in Douglas, Reynolds, Shannon, Texas and Wright counties. She replaces Travis Mills, who retired earlier this year.


Elrod (who is a graduate of Rolla High School and the University of Missouri) may be new to MDC, but she is not new to working with educational curriculums. Prior to coming to MDC, she was an agriculture instructor at West Plains, teaching grades 7-12.

“I am excited about my job because it offers something new every day,” Elrod said. “I get to teach topics that I am passionate about and the audience that I’m working with wants to learn and be there. I feel that I can impact more people and students in this role because I’m getting to visit schools and talk to teachers about the importance of nature and conservation in the classroom and to provide training to help them bring nature to their students.”

Elrod will provide opportunities for teachers to work with MDC’s Discover Nature Schools (DNS) program. DNS is a statewide conservation-based education program that incorporates outdoors learning into a variety of school subjects. DNS emphasizes hands-on learning, teaches problem-solving and provides teachers with innovative outdoors-based options to add variety to their curriculums. Information about the DNS program can be found at

Besides working with teachers on DNS curriculums, Elrod will coordinate hunter education classes and certification for her five counties. She will also promote the Missouri National Archery in the Schools Program (MoNASP) to schools in her counties.

Elrod will work out the MDC’s Ozark Regional Office in West Plains and can be reached by phone at 417-255-9561, ext. 4756, or by email at More information about MoNASP and hunter education programs can be found at the MDC Teacher Portal at

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