As a child, Jim grew up in Maryland where he was enchanted by the spring-fed creek across the street from his home. He was fascinated by the creek’s creatures and
delighted in catching as many of them as he could, including salamanders, newts, and the occasional Leopard frog! This began a lifetime of loving streams and fishing.
Jim has no memories in life prior to those of playing in that creek. He also remembers when he saw his first fish . . . a sunfish gliding through the sunlight about
a foot below the surface. Treasured boyhood memories also include his grandfather taking him to the state fish hatchery and his father taking him to the local reservoir
to feed bread to the carp. Thus began a lifetime of a passion for nature.
Upon moving to St. Louis, Missouri in his middle school years, Jim was quick to explore new the outdoor opportunities. In short order he made friends with those who loved quail hunting, fishing and building live-catch traps to lure “big game” like opossums, racoons and groundhogs. Always trying to catch a fox, the closest Jim came was, alas, the neighbor’s cat.
Discovering Missouri’s beautiful Ozark float streams was also a revelation. Canoeing, exploring and fishing them has become a lifelong, priceless joy. Jim’s favorite streams, in addition to Mill Creek of course, include the Eleven Point, North Fork of the White, Current River, and the Little Piney.
Jim attended the University of Missouri – Columbia (aka Mizzou) where he earned his master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition (1979). He spent the next 25 years in the food industry, the majority of which was with Purina where he earned a business degree along the way. While at Purina, Jim assumed increasing levels of responsibility including a role in global management which included considerable travel to Europe and the Pacific Rim.
Jim has been intimately involved in the Mill Creek conservation community since 2012. It was then that he and several other current board members founded the Mill Creek Watershed Coalition. Much work has been done to identify opportunities, build infrastructure, and establish a “culture of doing”. Relationships have been built, networks, including Facebook, have grown tremendously, and much has been accomplished. Highlights include hosting a first-class bio-blitz event (featured in, and making the cover of, The Missouri Conservationist, annual cleanups of the roads in the watershed (50 miles), and paving the way for the Ozark Research Field Station. What is most exciting to Jim is what will happen next, including how we will go forward and leave a legacy of stewardship in conservation for others to emulate.
Professionally, Jim works with an agribusiness group that starts new companies primarily in the feed production and aquaculture sectors. Jim and his wife Lisa live in St. Louis. They have two grown children and a brand new grandson named Bear!