Release Date

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, NOV. 1, 2021 – Ken McCarty, Missouri State Parks natural resource management program director, recently received the 2021 Natural Areas Association's Carl N. Becker Stewardship Award. The Carl N. Becker Stewardship Award recognizes excellence and achievement in managing reserves, parks, wilderness, and other protected areas. It is given in memory of Carl N. Becker, former Natural Areas Association president and a conservation leader.

This award recognizes individuals or groups who have who exhibit the qualities exemplified by Becker, including:

  • Making a significant contribution to finding solutions for problems related to identification, protection or management of natural areas.
  • Developing or improving strategies that directly contributed to resolution of issues related to natural areas.
  • Contributing to major advances in the protection of natural areas.

For three and a half decades, McCarty has directed natural areas stewardship for the state park system within the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. McCarty has been instrumental in the restoration, preservation and management of many of the 92 parks and historic sites throughout the state of Missouri.

“I have been fortunate to spend a long career in a state with abundant public lands and natural features among our constellation of tremendous natural resource professionals, organizations and individuals,” says McCarty.

Some of McCarty’s many career achievements include:

  • McCarty’s impactful career with Missouri State Parks has spanned more than 35 years. During this time, he has been a champion of natural areas stewardship and guided management of 38 natural areas within the state park system. 
  • McCarty served on the Missouri Natural Areas Committee for most of his career and as a committee chair since the early 2000s. Under McCarty’s chairmanship, 28 new natural areas have been added to the Missouri system – an addition of 30,665 acres.
  • McCarty is highly respected as one of Missouri‘s best landscape ecologists and as an authority on the subject of landscape restoration. For Paul Nelson‘s seminal book, “The Terrestrial Natural Communities of Missouri”, he wrote Chapter 2 on Ecological Management.
  • McCarty has initiated, facilitated and fulfilled natural resource projects throughout Missouri State Parks. Some have been complex and required a high degree of ecological understanding, scientific reasoning, fine-resolution engineering and extreme persistence.
  • McCarty helped to initiate many of the first large-scale glade and woodland restoration projects in Missouri, and still provides guidance and oversight for such projects today.
  • McCarty’s broad set of skills and interests has led to many contributions to our understanding of natural history, including his work to survey the native bees of Missouri, which to date includes 7,192 collections as well as documentation of seasonal habitat use by various bee species.

For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

Contact Information