Board of Directors

MPA is managed by a board of 15-21 directors elected by members at the annual fall meeting for staggered three-year terms. Directors may serve for two full terms. After an absence of at least one year, they may again be nominated for election. Officers are elected annually by the board.

Deb (Schultehenrich) Schnack, President (New Bloomfield) began as a seasonal naturalist and by 1973 won appointment as the first female park superintendent in the state park system. A year later she became trail coordinator, planning and laying out hundreds of miles of trails. She retired from her park career in 2004 as director of the Planning and Development Program. Her interests include world travel, camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting, and of course hiking.

Wynonna "Nonie" McClammer, Vice President (Jefferson City) taught school for several years before joining the state park division. She served more than thirty years, including as superintendent of Lake Ozark and Castlewood parks, head of marketing and special events, and then deputy director for administration. She enjoys numerous outdoor activities including boating and golf and volunteers at the Special Learning Center and the Samaritan Center.

Shirley Wolverson, Secretary (St. Louis) is a biologist and air pollution specialist who has worked in air pollution control for the St. Louis Health Department and the state Division of Environmental Quality. She has volunteered her time and effort for numerous environmental organizations and has a lifelong interest in parks and historic sites.

Melissa Hope, Treasurer (Jefferson City), with a degree in finance, worked in various positions in marketing and sales before becoming involved with Sierra Club as a regional conservation organizer, development director, and campaign organizer, in the course of which she participated in a landmark negotiation with Kansas City Power & Light that led to significant renewable energy initiatives. She now works for the Missouri Department of Health as a planner focusing on emergency preparedness, and enjoys reading, running, hiking and backpacking.

Diana Ahmad (Rolla) is a Curators' Distinguished Teaching Professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology. Primarily, she teaches the History of the American West, American Environmental History, and History of the American Pacific. Her most recent book is Success Depends on the Animals: Emigrants, Livestock, and Wild Animals on the Overland Trails, 1840-1869. Her earlier book is The Opium Debate and Chinese Exclusion Laws in the Nineteenth-Century American West. Prior to coming to Missouri S&T, she taught for the University of Maryland's Asian Division in Korea, Japan, Guam, and the Marshall Islands, and in New York and Texas.

Cindy Bridges (Couch) lives near the Narrows on the Eleven Point River just south of the new state park. With a degree in business administration and marketing, she works for the South Central Missouri Community Action Agency in Winona. She is a Missouri Master Naturalist with interests also in birding, kayaking, conservation, and, of course, state parks, which she wants to help protect and promote.

Ron Coleman (St. Albans) was executive director of the Open Space Council of the St. Louis Region and president of the Coleman Group, Inc., offering professional expertise in nonprofit organizations, parks and recreation, and conservation. He was formerly superintendent of Parks, Recreation and Arts in Chesterfield and president of the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association and the Conservation Federation of Missouri. He led MPA as president during the 2006 renewal of the Parks and Soils Sales Tax.

Bill Farrand (Columbia) is recently retired from a long career in park management with both Missouri and the National Park Service. He was deputy director for administration of Missouri State Parks during the 1990s, then returned to NPS in Utah, where he undertook many special assignments, including outreach to citizen non-profit support groups. With special expertise in budget and financial matters, he is now chairing MPA’s legislative committee.

Susan Flader, Editor (Columbia) was a founder of the association and has served three times as president. She is professor emerita of western and environmental history at the University of Missouri-Columbia and among her books and articles are works on conservationist Aldo Leopold and on the history of parks and forests in Missouri. She has been president of the American Society for Environmental History and board chair of the Aldo Leopold Foundation and is currently president of the L-A-D Foundation and secretary-treasurer of Audubon Missouri.

Lisa Groshong (Columbia) is pursuing a Ph.D. in human dimensions of natural resources at the University of Missouri. Before her return to grad school, she worked as a writer, editor, and English teacher. Her quest for great hikes has drawn her to Mt. Mulanje in Malawi, Ireland's Comeragh Mountains, the Georgian Caucasues, the Inca Trail in Peru, and America's Appalachian Trail.

David Hall (Rogersville) is an attorney in private practice in Springfield. He also owns and operates a small ranch on which he is improving grazing systems, forests, streams, and ponds. He is chairman of the Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District, volunteers with a stream team and a Boy Scouts troop, and is a member of the Nature Conservancy and other conservation and bar associaitons. He is active on the MPA legislative committee.

Greg Iffrig (St. Louis) was a founding member of the Missouri Parks Association and is a past president. He worked for Missouri State Parks, and since 1992 has worked with Pioneer Forest and the L-A-D Foundation and is its Liaison to the Board. He founded the Natural Areas Journal in 1981, and served as its editor until 1990; he has been an active volunteer for state and national conservation organizations, including The Nature Conservancy, Ozark Society, Ozark Regional Land Trust, Sierra Club, and the Natural Areas Association.

John Karel (St. Louis/Ste. Genevieve), with degrees in history and wildlife ecology, joined the Department of Natural Resources as a planner, then in 1979 was appointed director of state parks, which he led from its deepest financial crisis to the beginning of its recovery. He also led the renaissance of Tower Grove Park in St. Louis as director from 1987-2015, and for for eighteen years served as president of the L-A-D Foundation. He has received numerous national, state, and local awards for leadership in park and historic site management and wilderness preservation.

Lorence (Larry) Larson (New Franklin) taught science before being hired as a state park ranger/naturalist in 1974. Larry's park career of over thirty years took him to Washington, St. Francois, Hawn, Knob Noster, and Prairie State Park, where he was the park's first employee. After nearly twenty years at Prairie, he became Supervisor for the Missouri River District. Larry has won prairie conservation and interpretive awards, served on national interpretive and state prairie conservation boards. He enjoys being outdoors, enjoying the sights, sounds, and history that make up the natural and cultural wonders we walk through every day.

Steve Mahfood (Wildwood) ran a family-owned park in the Blue Mountains of North Carolina and advised on environmental matters in North Africa and the Middle East before eventually joining the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and becoming director of the Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority. He served as DNR director from 1998 to 2004, during which he was involved in the acquisition of four new state parks. Since retiring, he has been a consultant to the Nature Conservancy in Missouri and other organizations in addition to his service to MPA.

Jeremy Neely (Lockwood) grew up camping in Missouri state parks and now lives on a small farm in Dade County. The author of The Border Between Them, a prize-winning book on the Kansas-Missouri border in the 19th century, he is an assistant professor of History at Missouri State University and also manages the MPA website.

Bob Painter (Smithville) was energy efficiency programs manager for Missouri Gas Energy and a consultant in business development, marketing, and sustainability; he also serves on numerous civic and environmental boards and committees. Having helped forge partnerships for MPA's Urban Populations Outreach Project during an earlier position with DNR at the Discovery Center in Kansas City, he is now helping with fundraising and coordination of Kansas City UPOP.

Jessi Perry (La Plata) grew up taking frequent trips to parks and historic sites. She served in the State Park Youth Corps as an interpreter at Prairie State Park in summer 2014 and has since been a seasonal interpreter at Rock Bridge and Long Branch State Parks and served also with various 4-H clubs, mission trips, and other organizations. With a B.S. from the University of Missouri in agriculture emphasizing animal science, rural sociology, and agricultural education, she is currently teaching in the La Plata area.

Terry Whaley (Springfield), retired executive directory of Ozarks Greenways (1995-2017), is a tireless advocate for parks and trails. With a degree in park and recreation management, he served previously as director of parks and recreation for the city of Fenton. He was president of MPA from 2006-2009 and serves aslo on the boards of American Trails and Mississippi River Trail, Inc.

Dennis Wilhelm (St. Louis) is a certified public accountant providing financial management consulting services to small, emerging and turnaround companies. He has served as treasurer of the Open Space Council for ten years and participated in various stream and flood clean-ups. Interested in all things outdoors, he and his wife have nearly completed the state parks passport program and have been so impressed by the quality of Missouri's parks that he wants to help bring his financial and business perspective to MPA and the state park system.

Honorary Directors

Mary Abbott (Kansas City) worked in the Kennedy administration in Washington before returning to her native Missouri, where she has sold real estate and been active in the Nature Conservancy and numerous other environmental and civic organizations. She served as president of MPA from 1993-1996 and in 2000 conceived, raised funds, and implemented MPA's Urban Populations Outreach Project in Kansas City, now extended to three other cities.

Harriet Beard (Kirksville) operated Beard's Decorating Center in Kirksville with her children. An avid conservationist, she served multiple terms on numerous state boards and commissions including the Air Conservation Commission and the Well Installation Board in addition to her decades of service as a director of MPA.

Darwin Hindman (Columbia), an attorney, is a tireless advocate for parks and trails. He led the Katy Trail Coalition that overcame fierce opposition to make the rail-banked MKT (Katy) railroad corridor a state park in 1990. He served several years on the MPA board until he was elected mayor of Columbia, where as that city's longest-serving mayor (15 years) he oversaw numerous efforts to establish parks and trails. In 2012 he returned to the MPA board.

Executive Director

Kendra Varns Wallis, Executive Director (Kansas City) began October 1, 2018, in her new role with MPA. With an MU degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, she began work in facility and visitor services in the Jefferson City headquarters of Missouri State Parks, where she had an opportunity to visit nearly every park and historic site in the system. She then served as program coordinator in the new Kansas City Outreach office, where she coordinated MPA's Kansas City Urban Populations Outreach Project (UPOP), among other programs. For two years she served as senior manager for programs and outreach with the American Diabetes Association in its Kansas office, learning about the non-profit world and fundraising, before returning to state parks as Kansas City area manager. She will be managing MPA's membership solicitation and renewal, fundraising, and programs such as UPOP and Seniors to Parks, as well as working with the board and representing the association on park issues, legislative concerns, and other initiatives.

Advisors

Kally Coleman (St. Louis) grew up along the Current River near Van Buren, where she worked for the National Park Service and park concessioners for a time and still maintains a residence in Carter County. She is special project administrator at Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children's Hospital and active on the leadership council of Friends of Ozark Riverways and the board of Missouri Coalition for the E

Gary Freeman (Columbia) holds Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Missouri and spent 12 years directing the Alumni Annual Fund Program as a development officer for the University of Missouri. He has provided annual fund raising and special campaign services for dozens of private and public conservation and other organizations for more than 30 years. He has planned, directed, and executed MPA's membership development and renewal program for more than 20 years. He enjoys reading, hiking, and biking the MKT Trail, Katy Trail State Park, and other trails, as well as visiting Missouri State Parks and National Parks.

Eleanor Hoefle (St. Louis) was a charter member of MPA and attended the very first meeting. She was elected to the MPA board in 1988 and served as treasurer from 1994 to 2012. A 35-year employee of Boatmen's Bancshares, Inc., she retired from Bank of America in 1999. Eleanor has been a long-time camper in state parks and a cheerleader for the park system.

Ron Kucera (Columbia), with training in geography and geology, taught at the university level before becoming deputy director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, where he served more than a quarter century under five different governors and helped secure the acquisition of numerous state parks and prevent out-of-basin diversions from the Missouri River. He has worked with and served on the boards of numerous environmental organizations, including, since 2005, MPA.

Dawn Nicklas (Jefferson City) works with MPA's legislative committee as lobbyist in the Missouri General Assembly.

Josh Reeves (Willow Springs) was the owner and principal of J.E. Reeves Construction Company but now is director of facilities at Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, an eight-county system with some two dozen care facilities. He is a native of the Ozarks with a deep commitment to preservation of the region's natural, cultural, and recreational resources as a foundation for community development. He enjoys fishing, canoeing, woodworking, farming, and cooking, and he coaches youth soccer and advises the Willow Springs Chamber of Commerce.

Roger Still (Columbia), having begun his career as a Russian analyst for the CIA, became executive director of the Nature Conservancy in Missouri, then head of Audubon Missouri and later of the National Audubon Society's Mississippi River Initiative. He currently works through Community Initiatives as a consultant on conservation and strategic development to Audubon, Nature Conservancy and other organizations. In his spare time he is an avid birder.

 

 

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