Pace Named Missouri Conservationist of the Year
RMEF Missouri state chair Dave Pace’s efforts to restore elk to the Show Me State recently earned him the honor of being named conservationist of the year by the Conservation Federation of Missouri. Pace was recognized along with seven other award recipients in different categories for making a difference in conserving Missouri’s natural resources and outdoor heritage.
Pace’s work and leadership in the elk restoration project bore fruit during the spring of 2011 when he saw wapiti walk off the trailer onto Missouri soil, for the first time in a century and a half, at Peck Ranch Conservation Area.
“Seeing these animals come back, so generations and generations of Missourians will get to see them, is a very momentous occasion,” Pace said. “This is a great day for wildlife, it’s a great day for conservation and it’s a great day for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and all our volunteers. This is what we work for.”
In his state chair role, Pace has worked to promote and educate communities, legislators, landowners, and conservation and agriculture groups on elk restoration. Last year, he had several articles and editorials published in newspapers around the state, and attended numerous public meetings. During Missouri's 2011 Legislative Session, Pace played a key role in stopping legislation that would have required the Missouri Conservation Department to take ownership of introduced wildlife species, including elk—a direct threat to the tenets of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model—by communicating with members of the General Assembly and rallying citizens to attend legislative hearings. Currently, he continues to work with landowners, chambers of commerce and local business leaders in communities around the elk restoration zone to develop and promote elk tourism.
“The backbone of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is our passionate, dedicated and giving volunteers,” says Don Blakely, RMEF vice president of operations. “For years Dave Pace has demonstrated these characteristics while leading Missouri volunteers in their efforts to see elk once again roaming the Missouri Ozarks. In 2011 this goal was achieved. Dave’s leadership was instrumental in making this happen. No one is more deserving of this award. We are proud to have Dave as an RMEF volunteer leader and member of Team Elk!”
A lifelong sportsman, Pace is a well-rounded conservationist who is interested in all of aspects of Missouri outdoors. His life of zealous service is making an exceptional contribution to the benefit of wild elk, all wildlife and all Missourians, according to the Conservation Federation of Missouri.