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TEXAS LAND CONSERVANCY

SPRING 2014 Shimmering sunset on a section of the Pedernales River that runs through Sandylands Ranches

Photo by Ben Hamilton

SPRING 2014 1 3 5 7 9 10

Hill Country Picnic Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

TLC AT A GLANCE

• Statewide, independent, land conservation non-profit • Founded in Dallas in 1982, by Edward C. “Ned” Fritz • 85,394 acres protected

TLC Event Recaps

• 109 conserved properties across Texas

Letter from TLC Board Member

• In top 2% of land trusts nationwide for acreage conserved

The Ned Fritz Society Genie Fritz: Dragonfly Award Legacy Circle

• 1 of 5 accredited land trusts in Texas • Average size of properties protected by TLC - 635 acres • Created “Land for Water,” a strategic conservation plan that focuses on six key Texas watersheds


Hill Country Picnic: Sandylands Ranches

Upcoming TLC Events BY RACHAEL GARBOWSKI, DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

June 6 | 5 pm - 8 pm TLC Happy Hour The Belmont

901 Fort Worth Avenue Dallas, TX 75208

June 7 | 9 am - 12 (noon) National Trails Day: Volunteer Workday Oak Cliff Nature Preserve 2875 Pierce Street Dallas, TX 75233

Follow TLC on Facebook or visit www.texaslandconservancy.org for more details about each of these events. Keep an eye out for more events coming soon!

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ast November at the Texas Land Conservancy/Fresh Chefs Society event at Springdale Farm, three lovely ladies became the grand prize winners of a hill country picnic on one of TLC’s private properties. This Spring, Meghan Hughes, Jasmine Gardner, Christine Stettner and a few of their friends set a date to spend the day on Carolyn and Roy Horton’s beautiful property on the Pedernales – Sandylands Ranch, conserved with TLC in 2006. Henri’s Wine, Cheese, and Charcuterie supplied a gorgeous picnic basket and the Horton’s generously shared their time and home for the day. TLC is grateful to have supporters in many forms: from the wonderful group of women who attended the picnic, to the local businesses like Henri’s, to landowners such as the Hortons who care deeply for their land and the future of Texas. Meghan Hughes, manager of Hotel San Jose, and one of the picnic winners, wished to extend her feelings on the day: “The Hortons welcomed us with open arms, we had a beautiful afternoon soaking in the river, and meeting Roy Rogers the super friendly, family horse. The property was dappled with wildflowers and Rachael with TLC was incredibly hospitable for driving us out to Blanco and setting up our special picnic that was outfitted so thoughtfully by Henri’s. What a perfect day!”

TLC had a chance to sit down with Carolyn and Roy about the land they love so much, the hard work they put into maintaining it, and the future of Texas. It’s not surprising to find out - they are very passionate about preserving and improving a place they hold very near and dear to their hearts.


Sandylands Ranch on the Pedernales River

Where are some of your favorite places? We enjoy spending time at our home in Knoxville, Tennessee (where we are from and where we met), the ranch in Texas, and our cabin in Paradise Valley, Montana. The most meaningful places on the ranch are the Pedernales River, the bluffs, and the beautiful meadows when they are full of wild flowers. What made you fall in love with Sandylands? We knew this was a special place when we saw the spectacular, natural beauty of the ranch. We fell in love with the river and the rapids. The ranch is also home to a variety of wildlife which is fun to see. We enjoy the total privacy of the ranch and river. Describe some of the work you do to maintain your land. Currently, we are working to clear heavy juniper from 105 acres of the ranch and to eliminate, or at least reduce, other invasive species through cutting and herbicide application. We hope to improve conditions for the existing oak and other native trees and to restore native grasses. We also hope to regenerate a spring that used to flow but now is inactive without a rain fall. We are taking great means to preserve native plant species and to preserve natural habitat for the wildlife. We feel fortunate to own this property and want to be good stewards while it is in our care. What does the future of Texas look like for you? We feel good about the environmental future of Texas. The drought conditions and the impact on ground water and vegetation over the past few years have been a concern; yet historically, the Hill Country has persevered under these conditions. The landowners we know here are very sensitive to environmental impacts for any activity on their property. We are members of the Pedernales Watershed Landowners Association. This group has a large number of members with a shared goal of protecting the ecosystem of the Pedernales River. Explain your decision to partner with TLC. We wanted to preserve and improve the land and a conservation easement was a perfect way to accomplish these goals. The easement process was totally positive for us. We have enjoyed our association with Texas Land Conservancy and all of the people who have supported us by providing valuable information and guidance as we work to improve conditions for our native plants and wildlife.

Top to bottom: Buddy sniffs out the scene, the five picnic-ers pose for a scenic shot by the river, a satisfying spread from henri’s

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Oak Cliff Nature Preserve:

Positive Changes & Volunteer Workday BY LEIGH STUEMKE, STEWARDSHIP DIRECTOR

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his June 7th, Texas Land Conservancy and a group of compassionate volunteers (and hopefully you!) will once again participate in National Trails Day at our Oak Cliff Nature Preserve (OCNP) in Dallas, Texas. National Trails Day is a nationwide celebration of America’s trail system and aims to increase trail awareness while celebrating the hard work and support of the many folks involved in trail development and maintenance throughout the country. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve hosts 8 miles of multiuse trails and TLC partners with the Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association (DORBA) for their maintenance. Oak Cliff Nature Preserve’s trails offer a range of difficulty for mountain bikers and a chance to slow down, reflect, and enjoy nature for hikers. In the hectic pace of life, these trails provide the local community and the wider urban area a chance to unwind and connect with nature in an unassuming portion of the DFW complex. Additionally, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve not only provides trail users with the direct benefits of trails but also supports indirect uses through watershed and habitat protection. To better serve the community that utilizes Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, Texas Land Conservancy has been hard at work to improve the preserve. Recent improvements include an off-street parking area for trail users and an attractive fence to help direct trail traffic, while providing a welcoming aesthetic to trail users. The fence is the result of the recent hard work of Boy Scout Troop 303 of McKinney, Texas, under the guidance of Eagle Scout candidate, David Bryant (story on opposite page). Keep your eyes open for many new and exciting improvements headed to Oak Cliff Nature Preserve this summer!

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RSVP to erin@texaslandconservancy.org to volunteer on June 7th for National Trails Day! & Join us the night before, June 6th, for a casual happy hour at The Belmont: 901 Fort Worth Avenue, Dallas, TX

More information for both events can be found on our website: www.texaslandconservancy.org


Excited volunteers after a morning of volunteering at Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

Eagle Scout Project: Boy Scout Troop 303

BY ERIN TAYLOR, OUTREACH DIRECTOR

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ameron Chandler, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 303, recently spoke with us about his involvement with the organization, their service activities, and what it takes to attain Eagle Scout status. Cameron first begin working as an Adult Leader with Boy Scout Troop 303 in 2000. He saw that the Boy Scouts of America were helping youth learn useful, hands-on skills, as well as develop leadership abilities, and he believed he could contribute. Since then, he has had the oppportunity to teach scouting skills and advise scout groups in high adventure activities such as extended canoe trips and backpacking hikes. As most people know, boy scouts are also very serviceoriented, caring for the community in a variety of ways. Among a long list of activities, Troop 303 volunteers with the McKinney Food Pantry, assists the McKinney Sunrise Rotary organization by placing and retrieving US Flags from 250500 homes on designated holidays throughout the year, has supported participants at the Collin County Relay for Life event for 12 years, and will be placing flags on the graves of Veteran soldiers for the Memorial Day Observation Ceremony at the Historic Pecan Grove Cemetery in McKinney, Texas for the 30th year. As a boy scout progresses in the organization, he may decide to continue on to acquire the rank of Eagle Scout. As part of the requirements for this promotion, a scout must plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, school, or the community. The Boy Scouts of America have contributed greatly to teaching nature and land conservation as the organization’s Outdoor Code includes “Be Conservation Minded” and the concept of leave no trace is part of the teaching and training. When Boy Scout David Bryant decided to begin working on his Eagle Scout project, it seems he already had his eye on Texas Land Conservancy and Oak Cliff Nature Preserve. David had participated in service projects for TLC in the past so he contacted leaders in the group and the concept of a fence was identified. From that conversation, David took the idea

Boy Scout Troop 303 maintains focus while crafting the fence to its finest

and came up with a design and plan to see the project through to fruition. During construction, David led all of the workers from start to finish, completing each and every task based on his plan. Cameron says that David demonstrated leadership skills and when he encountered an obstacle or necessary change, he showed his ability to work through adversity, all while being positive and providing a service to TLC. We at TLC think it turned out beautifully and are extremely grateful to David, Cameron, and all of Scout Troop 303 for their service!

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Bounty: Giving Thanks for the Land

Fall farm party with TLC & Fresh Chef ’s Society

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n the first chilly night last November, TLC, together with Fresh Chefs Society, hosted a magical evening of food, spirits, and music by Walker Lukens and Croy & the Boys at the beautiful Springdale Farm. Many thanks to Chef Sonya Cote of Eden East who mentored Fresh Chefs Society apprentices, Julie and Daetrion, to craft the food for the event (big thanks to the apprentices too - they worked hard so that everyone had hot soup and a fully belly!) We are so grateful to our sponsors Springdale Farm, Tito’s Vodka, and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, and to all of the Austin businesses who donated raffle items including Antonelli’s Cheese, Blink Beauty, Canoe, East Side Compost Pedallers, Hotel San Jose, In.Gredients, KKDW, Luca Salon, Salt & Time, Solid Gold, Uchiko, and Vino Vino. A very special thank you to Carolyn and Roy Horton who generously donated the use of their private land for our grand prize of a Hill Country Picnic for Six hosted this Spring (see pg. 1). The work we do to protect land all over the state of Texas would not be possible without the generosity of supporters who contribute to and attend events such as this one.


More than $5.7 million raised through Amplify Austin 2014 Amplify Austin Texas Land Conservancy staff, board members, friends, and supporters met at The Rattle Inn for drinks, snacks, and a chance to make real-time donations during the 24-hour festival of giving.

• 2nd year for the campaign • 497 organizations benefited • TLC garnered over $1,600 in donations

Austin Give 5% to Mother Earth Day

Austinites were encouraged to Eat/Shop/Play at supporting businesses on Earth Day, April 22nd. TLC celebrated with a happy hour at House Wine, one of the businesses that pledged to “Give 5%!”

• 5th year for the campaign • 173 businesses participated • TLC received more than $10,000 in 5% donations

Over $100,000 raised for 7 local non-profits on Earth Day

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Reflecting on a River

Letter from TLC Board Member, Michael Grimes

Chalk Mountain, a TLC property acquired in 2002, located in the Brazos River watershed BY MICHAEL GRIMES, TLC BOARD OF DIRECTORS

In 1960, John Graves published “Goodbye to a River,” his seminal book chronicling a three week trip down the Brazos River before the construction of several dams would break up contiguous passage of the waterway. This was more than a decade before I was born, and over 30 years before I actually read his portrayal of the impact that body of water had on him personally and the region overall. Not that I needed to read it to understand the feelings and emotions he felt as he floated down that river reflecting on the landscape and history it held. The importance of the Brazos River watershed to Texas goes beyond ecological and conservation impacts – the human terms are equally significant. For me, that body of water is in many ways center to the person I have become. I, like Graves, was born in Michael Grimes and his family Fort Worth, Texas. But my ties to the stretch of the Brazos River to the north and south of the Metroplex and the influence it had on me are incalculable. One set of my grandparents lived north of me in Graham on the Clear Fork of the river, while my other grandparents lived 145 miles downstream in view of the dam dividing the Brazos from Lake Whitney. It seems as though I spent as much time in between those two points camping, hiking, hunting and fishing as I did in Fort Worth. My

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parents divorced when I was young, and the river became the continuous thread that tied my families together. When I first read “Goodbye to a River” as an undergraduate, I immediately understood the nuances of what it meant to understand a river and the landscape it creates for those who live nearby. I do not have the same relationship with the Brazos River today. As an adult, the opportunities to enjoy the scenic and recreational benefits of the river have been replaced with serious concerns about the sustainability of that body of water and other important watersheds which traverse the entire length of this state. As Texas continues to grow and prosper economically, we are losing our open lands faster than any other state. This concern for sustaining the land and its resources led me several years ago to the Texas Land Conservancy (TLC), an organization that is uniquely suited to address the challenges facing the natural landscapes defining Texans and our legacy. I joined the board because I believe in the mission of TLC, but also because I see a strategic vision for how a solution-oriented approach can relieve the pressure being placed on our natural resources. One of the strategies TLC is implementing to focus these efforts is the Land for Water initiative. Started in 2011, the Land for Water program creates a framework to conserve water resources by concentrating on protecting land in certain critical watersheds, including the Llano, Pedernales, Medina, Lower Brazos, Lower Trinity and Neches Rivers. These watersheds were selected because they are in high population growth


A scenic pond on Chalk Mountain and fauna found in the area

areas and are in danger of fragmentation. But they were also selected because they have significant opportunities for conservation impact. Using innovative technologies like Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping and layering together variables including available resources and landscape value, TLC is able to set conservation priorities to minimize the loss of critical natural resources and scenic habitats for a major portion of this state. These are the kinds of efforts which benefit all the families, yours and mine, urban or rural, who call this great state “home.� To this day, when my travels take me on a road that crosses over the Brazos River, I spend the time crossing the bridge reminding myself how lucky I am to be a Texan and

to be able to take great pleasure in our rivers and streams. With the help of supporters like you, TLC will continue to successfully fulfill the mission of the organization and protect our natural heritage.

The Brazos River

Stevens Ranch, donated in 2006, is also found in the Brazos River watershed

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The Ned Fritz Society:

Leading the Way to a Greener Future

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exas Land Conservancy was founded in 1982 by an intrepid Dallas attorney deeply committed to conservation, Edward C. “Ned” Fritz. His passion and vision were instrumental in protecting the Big Thicket National Preserve, the first of its kind, as well as tens of thousands of acres with Texas Land Conservancy. In addition, Fritz authored three books, was a founding member and president of the Texas Nature Conservancy and the Texas League of Conservation Voters, and had a hand in the Texas Committee on Natural Resources. Ever energetic and enthusiastic, he won numerous awards for his lifetime of service and continued to fight for major environmental legislation up until his death in 2008 at age 92. Ned Fritz was a believer in the power of grassroots organizations to bring together groups and individuals who could act together to bring about change. He was truly a voice for the voiceless in the

Genie Fritz: Dragonfly Award

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Texas conservation world. He is missed not only by those who knew him, but also by those of us who have benefited from his hard work, perseverance, and tremendous foresight. We are honored by the legacy of Ned Fritz, which continues to guide our work today. In his memory, we have established a giving society for the most prominent members of Texas Land Conservancy. This group, the Ned Fritz Society, will lead the way to a greener future for Texas. Ned Fritz Society members, donors of $1,000 or more each year, gather annually at a memorable farm-to-plate dinner. Ned cared deeply about Texas’ future. We hope you will join us in continuing his legacy. To find out more about the Ned Fritz Society and other ways to support TLC, please visit our website or contact the office. We would love to hear from you.

ongratulations to Genie Fritz who received the first-ever North Texas Master Naturalist Dragonfly Award for her service and leadership in conservation earlier this year. The award recognizes individuals who fulfill the organization’s mission of developing a corps of well-informed volunteers to provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities. Genie and her late husband, Ned Fritz, spent many years working together to preserve all that there is to love about Texas, but not everyone knows that she also had several accomplishments of her own. She was she President of the Dallas League of Women’s Voters, on the board of the Texas League of Women Voters, President of the Women’s Southwest Federal Credit Union, President of the Greater Dallas Housing Opportunity, and involved with the Girl Scouts. In addition to helping create Texas Land Conservancy, Genie was also a founding member of the Texas Conservation Alliance. At the award ceremony, Dr. Andrew Sansom, Executive Director of the Meadows Center for Water and Environment said, “Genie Fritz is one of the true unsung heroes of Texas Conservation. For much of the last half of the 20th Century, Ned Fritz was one of two or three absolute leaders of conservation and environmental protection in Texas. During all those years, Genie never wavered in her support of his work and, in fact, became a beloved leader in the movement in her own right. Today, we look to her for inspiration and as a symbol of steadfastness.” TLC is proud of Genie and all of the work she has accomplished, and honored to have her as an Advisory Council Member.


Leaving a Legacy: Planned Giving

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ave you ever wondered what planned giving is, or how you could have a lasting positive impact for TLC? A planned gift is donation made at a specific time, usually through a will. Planned gifts offer donors a way to provide charitable donations that may not be possible today. You can have a significant impact on saving land and sharing in our mission by making a planned gift to the Texas Land Conservancy. Not only will you make a substantial commitment to protecting the natural heritage of Texas, you may also be eligible to receive meaningful financial benefits for yourself and your heirs. A planned gift can be as simple as including the Texas Land Conservancy in your will or naming us as a beneficiary of an insurance policy, retirement plan, or certificate of deposit. We encourage you to consult with your legal or financial advisors prior to making a planned gift to Texas Land Conservancy.

There are numerous planned giving options, including: • • • • • •

Bequests Outright Gifts Charitable Trusts Gift Annuities Royalties Gifts of Stock

Over the years, Texas Land Conservancy has been the beneficiary of numerous planned gifts, whether it is land, life insurance policies, stocks, or cash. To join the TLC Legacy Circle or for more information about planned giving, please contact: Rachael Garbowski Development Director (512) 301-6363 rachael@texaslandconservancy.org

Regardless of the kind of planned gift you choose, you will direct your gift to conservation, help simplify your estate plans, and perhaps increase your income. When you make a planned gift, you automatically become a member of the Texas Land Conservancy Legacy Circle and join a community of Texans who have already made a commitment to enhancing the quality of life through land conservation. Legacy Circle members are invited to and honored every year at our annual fall dinner for members of the Ned Fritz Society – those donors who donate $1,000 or more each year to Texas Land Conservancy. “Dorothy and I have truly enjoyed our involvement with TLC and the partnership that has developed through placing a conservation easement on our ranch. When it came to designating beneficiaries in our will, it was an easy decision to include TLC. Our hope is that this generous gift will ensure a lasting legacy.” Chuck Snakard, longtime TLC member and owner of Chalk Mountain Ranch

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Nonprofit Org US POSTAGE PAID Austin, Texas Permit No. 258

P.O. Box 162481 Austin, TX 78716

TEXASLANDCONSERVANCY.ORG MISSION

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

STAFF

Since 1982 the Texas Land Conservancy has been working to protect the nature of Texas.

President - P. Michael Jung, Dallas President-Elect - Earl Matthew, Rockport Secretary - Travis Phillips, Austin Treasurer - Wayne Graham, Austin Adam Jochelson, Dallas Anne Rowe, Dallas Eileen McKee, Dallas Janell Morgan, Dallas Jason Hill, Austin Merritt Westcott, Houston Michael Grimes, Austin Pat Y. Spillman, Jr., Houston Robert J. O’Kennon, Fort Worth

Mark Steinbach, Ph.D. Executive Director

The mission of the Texas Land Conservancy is to conserve natural areas in Texas and to protect the physical and ecological integrity of their wildlife habitat, native plant communities, and scenic landscapes for the benefit of present and future generations.

/texaslandconservancy

/texaslands

texaslandconservancy

@texaslands

Daniel Dietz Stewardship Director Leigh Stuemke Stewardship Director Rachael Garbowski Development Director Erin Taylor Outreach Director

TLC Spring 2014 Newsletter  
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