The Nature Conservancy announced today the hiring of Chris Pipes as Davis Mountains Project director. Born in Garland and raised in Odessa, Pipes served for 25 years in the Odessa police department, rising through the ranks from cadet to chief of police. He served in that capacity for six years—overseeing a force of 220 people serving a community of nearly 100,000—until his retirement from the department in 2008.
“My wife, Pamela, and I are longtime members of The Nature Conservancy and believe strongly in its mission,” said Pipes. “We love the wide open wilderness of West Texas and have vacationed here for years. To be offered a position with this fine organization and to be able to live and work in the Davis Mountains is a dream for me.”
“Chris' education, experience and passion for conservation make him a great fit for the organization, and his extensive knowledge of the land, water and wildlife of West Texas make him uniquely qualified for his new role,” said Jeff Francell, director of land and water conservation for The Nature Conservancy of Texas.
As Davis Mountains Project director, Pipes will be responsible for managing the Davis Mountains Preserve, which at 32,000 acres is the largest private nature preserve in Texas. His duties will include overseeing preserve stewardship activities, managing public use and access, implementing conservation strategies for the entire Davis Mountains conservation area and coordinating volunteer activities. He will also work with the Conservancy’s partners in conservation easements on more than 62,000 acres surrounding the preserve.
In order to best manage these responsibilities and remain in touch with on-the-ground conservation work, Pipes will office at the preserve in the McIvor Conservation Center. As one of his first acts as director, Pipes announced the resumption of the popular open preserve days and weekends program, beginning with an open weekend from March 12 through March 14.
In addition to his stellar record of public service, Pipes also boasts an impressive academic resume that reflects a lifelong commitment to education. He holds an associate degree in applied science in law enforcement from Odessa College and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. While chief of police in Odessa, Pipes earned a master of science degree in biology from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin.He is nearing completion of a range and wildlife masters degree from Sul Ross University.
The Nature Conservancy of Texas maintains more than 30 ecologically important preserves and conservation projects statewide. In addition to a dozen initiatives benefiting Texas rivers and creeks, the Conservancy also works with private landowners and municipalities, such as the cities of San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos, to protect critical freshwater resources like the Edwards and Trinity aquifers.Over the past 45 years, the Conservancy has worked with state and federal agencies to create and expand beloved public areas, including Enchanted Rock State Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. The organization has also led significant marine habitat restoration efforts along the Gulf that benefit terrestrial and aquatic wildlife and help protect human communities from hurricanes and tropical storms.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.