We’ve had so many people across Texas tell us how important our work is; they count on us to protect the natural treasures of the Lone Star State—its mountains, beaches, rivers and forests. We know that conservation makes people’s live better and it takes all of us—working literally side by side—to ensure these gems are protected.
In 2012 we reached out to form new friendships and partnerships across the state. We added scores of new members at the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival and took our message to more than 68,000 people at Earth Day Dallas in Fair Park. Our time in Dallas was defined by more than a dozen picnics, amazing coverage by the network affiliates and the infectious enthusiasm of thousands of people around the world during the Conservancy’s epic, 24-hour global Picnic for the Planet.
Texas’ official motto is, simply enough, “Friendship,” and that is something three interns from New York City experienced in spades this summer. As part of the Conservancy’s nationwide Leaders in Environmental Action, or LEAF, program, students Nancy, Adangely and Ragayla experienced firsthand the wide open spaces of Texas. They worked and played at our Mad Island Marsh, Texas City and Nash preserves, getting a little taste of everything from removing invasive species to identifying habitat along the Brazos River in the midst of a summer rainstorm.
A renewed focus on urban conservation reflects the Conservancy’s top priorities: the connection between whole systems protection and restoration and the cities and towns that are, increasingly, where the majority of our population is living. Sustainable use of natural resources and making the connection for people that what happens in rural conservation is directly connected to what happens in cities are both a part of this urban conservation strategy. Look to hear more about this in the coming year.
Toward the end of the year, State Director Laura Huffman represented the Conservancy at the prestigious Clinton Global Initiative summit and shared our urban conservation framework with staff at the U.S. Department of Interior. Her efforts culminated in a Conservancy-sponsored summit at the Conservancy’s World Office, where state directors, scientists and conservation staff from across the country to convened as a working group and task force on urban conservation.