Did you know that the Mark Twain National Forest was established in the Missouri Ozarks in 1933? Or there is a Bushwacker Museum in Bronaugh, Missouri? You would if you subscribed to “OzarksWatch” magazine, bringing the history and culture of the Ozarks to the page since 1987.
Missouri State graduate student Vicke Kepling manages “OzarksWatch,” an 88-page, ad-free publication that comes out twice per year. It is produced by MSU’s Ozark’s Studies Institute and the College of Arts and Letters.
Kepling: I don’t know a stranger
Kepling, who is studying for a master’s degree in technical and professional writing, also has a master’s in business administration and certificate in public management from MSU.
In her third year with “OzarksWatch,” we caught up with her about the magazine and her Missouri State experiences:
What is unique about “OzarksWatch”?
“OzarksWatch” is one of the few remaining printed periodicals about the Ozarks. As far as we know, it is the last one that focuses on the history and culture of the Ozarks.
What is the best thing about your job?
My favorite aspect of the position is marketing and trying to raise awareness about the magazine in the area. Too many people don’t realize that this magazine even exists. With the help of social media, the addition of online sales, and my business background, I aim to change that fact. I also enjoy meeting new people, both in marketing and doing interviews for stories. I don’t know a stranger.
Why did you choose Missouri State for your education?
I am a nontraditional, adult student who had always dreamed of obtaining a degree. In fact, I’m the first in my family to do so. In 2009, I moved back home to Missouri and chose to work towards achieving my dream. Missouri State was the logical choice. While I found the large size of the university to be a bit daunting at first, I quickly made friends and became more comfortable.
What is your favorite thing about being an MSU student?
I love the feeling I get when I walk onto campus. The trees, flowers, students, sidewalk chalk, diversity and openness all combine with academia to create an enthusiastic, hopeful environment that sometimes seems to be missing in other parts of the world.
What have you learned about the Ozarks since working for the magazine?
As I read more about the history of this area, I realize how much change has occurred over time. It’s interesting to note some of the old-time culture that has remained (hunting and crafts, for example) and the return of other activities, such as more individuals gardening and canning foods. As I’ve grown older, my appreciation for history has increased. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful, resource-rich area.
Why should people subscribe?
There are two reasons: First, “OzarksWatch” is a high-quality magazine with no advertisements. People seem to really enjoy the stories and the switch to full color photographs in our most recent issue. Second, subscribing supports the preservation of our history. Printing is not cheap, and we Ozarkers are lucky to have this magazine to record the past and present.
Visit the “OzarksWatch” website to subscribe.