Letter from Mary Schubert, Lyle Pursell’s Daughter–10/11/2015


Dear Friends of Audubon and Lyle Pursell,

It is with sadness that I can not be here today on this very special occasion of the grand opening of the Audubon Trails Nature Center and the dedication of my father’s bench.  Unlike the birds of the air, God has not given me wings to fly and be able to traverse great distances quickly.  However, I do believe that God gives us bonds of friendship, love, and relationships that we sense when surrounded by His creation.  My father saw it as very much a part of his Christian duty to preserve and protect God’s creation for future generations.  Growing native wildflowers, learning about plants and preserving the prairie were passions of his.

Mom and Dad would talk about the nature center over the course of time.  However, due to raising my own family, and distance I had not really comprehended the magnitude of the trail until my family and I were able to come out and hike a couple of summers ago.  And a lot more has been developed since then.  I trust you realize just what a treasure you have here in the small community of Rolla.  It rivals, in my opinion, even some of the great outdoor trails of larger cities and is an awesome opportunity for both homeschoolers and public school children to connect with nature.  Even as adults we need a chance to escape and breathe in the fresh air, to find peace and solitude.

To think that all of this started with the vision of two men, Chuck Johnson and my father Lyle Pursell, almost 40 years ago.  I recall the days of going out to Chuck’s land and tacking up the bluebird houses that I think we had built in the wood shop at Newburg High School.  Going on nature walks with Ella Mae Roberson and learning to eat morel mushrooms and venison stew.  Having outings at Meramec Springs because we didn’t have anything like this here in Rolla.  Going to the yearly meetings at Camp Clover Point, I was the young one among the older people there.  May this nature center become a place for families to bring their children to and experience God’s creation, time and time again.  That would be the greatest legacy my father could ever want, for others to enjoy the wonder and beauty of nature which has been given to us, not only for ourselves but for future generations.

Mary (Pursell) Schubert

Oklahoma City, OK

(Charter member with my parents and past secretary as a teenager.)