Texas A&M University Press

Kathie and Ed Cox Jr. Books on Conservation Leadership, sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University

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Kathie and Ed Cox Jr. Books on Conservation Leadership, sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University

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Border Sanctuary

The Conservation Legacy of the Santa Ana Land Grant

Morgan Jane Morgan

The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge lies on the northern bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, about seventy miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. How 2,000 acres of rare subtropical riparian forest came to be preserved in a region otherwise dramatically altered by human habitation is the story M.J. Morgan has uncovered.
The story she tells begins and ends with the efforts of the Rio Grande Nature Club to protect one of the last remaining stopovers for birds migrating north from Central and South America. In between, she reconstructs a hundred-year history of the original “two square leagues” of the Santa Ana land grant and of the Mexican and Tejano families who lived, worked, transformed, and ultimately helped save this forest on the river’s edge. 
As border issues continue to present serious challenges for Texas and the nation, it is especially important to be reminded of the deep connection between the region’s human and natural history from the long perspective Morgan provides here.

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Discovering Westcave

The Natural and Human History of a Hill Country Nature Preserve

S. Christopher Caran

In the heart of the Texas Hill Country lies an astonishing place called the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, a 76-acre nature preserve and environmental education facility in western Travis County, near Austin, that provides a sanctuary for the flora and fauna of surprisingly diverse ecosystems.

Westcave has been connecting children and families to nature since 1976, when the nonprofit Westcave Preserve Corporation was established to restore and protect a popular but rapidly deteriorating picnic spot that encompassed a fern-covered grotto, an ancient rock shelter, and a spectacular forty-foot waterfall.

In Discovering Westcave, Chris Caran and Elaine Davenport take readers on a walk through the beautiful preserve, which includes a 3,000-square-foot learning center, unveiling the evolutionary past of its stunning natural features and acknowledging the many people who have been a part of Westcave’s long history. The aim of this guidebook is not only to share the natural and human history of this refuge, soon to be surrounded by one of the fastest-growing urban areas in the country, but also to inspire through environmental learning a continued respect and appreciation for the natural world.

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Fog at Hillingdon

David K Langford

While fog does not come easily or frequently to Central Texas, when it does, it inspires moments of quiet and reflection. David Langford captures those moments here in stirring images of the comings and goings of fog on Hillingdon Ranch, family land that has benefited from the stewardship of six generations. These photographs in turn inspired an essay by writer Rick Bass that takes him back to his own memories of fog—in the Texas Hill Country and elsewhere.
Fog at Hillingdon includes a personal note by Langford on his techniques and camera equipment. Apt historic or contemporary quotations selected by Myrna Langford accompany many of the photographs and reflect the moods and sentiments fog often evokes.

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Green in Gridlock

Common Goals, Common Ground, and Compromise

Paul Walden Hansen

Facing one of the most dangerous conservation crises in history—acid rain—lawmakers, industry leaders, and activists embraced an attitude of civil engagement that sought common ground and acceptance of compromise solutions on all sides. As a result, they achieved a spectacular outcome. This approach was also at work when another planet-threatening event—ozone depletion—was reversed.

In Green in Gridlock, Paul Walden Hansen, the former head of the Izaak Walton League, takes stock of what has been accomplished and what has been squandered in the many environmental contests in which he was involved during his forty-year career as a conservationist. In seeking to identify the strategies that worked and to pinpoint why progress on so many important issues never materialized, Hansen realized that the most important predictor of success or failure was the willingness of opposing interests to find common ground and to compromise in order to attain mutually important goals.

Polling demonstrates that, overwhelmingly, Americans care about the environment but are less enthusiastic about environmentalists. Accordingly, Hansen issues a pointed critique for activism of the “rather fight than win” variety. But he is also critical of conservative interests that oppose environmental legislation as a matter of principle while forgetting that a long string of cost-effective environmental legislation from the Clean Air Act to the Wilderness Act—was passed by overwhelming bipartisan margins and signed into law by Republican presidents in the 1970s. Hansen makes a convincing case that thinking and acting ideologically rather than strategically is ultimately bad for the environment.

More than a simplistic call for civility or yet another admonition that we all “work together,” this book offers practical lessons and a positive vision from a seasoned veteran on how to create support instead of opposition, how to recognize natural allies, and how to acknowledge common purpose in the name of progress.

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Heads above Water

The Inside Story of the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program

Robert L. Gulley

Since the 1950s, competing interests for use of Edwards Aquifer resources—the primary source of water for more than two million people in south central Texas—were at war. They had tried many times to resolve their differences about how to conserve, allocate, and use the water, but had always failed.

Finally, under the patient leadership of Robert Gulley, thirty-nine diverse stakeholders reached a consensus on the use of the Edwards Aquifer that balanced the needs of south central Texas for water with the needs of eight species protected by the Endangered Species Act, culminating a half century of rancor and legal wrangling.

In this book, Gulley tells the inside story of the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation Program (EARIP), a federally sponsored process put in place by the Texas legislature.

How such a large and fractious group came together to resolve one of the nation’s most intractable and longstanding water problems serves as a case study in consensus building. That consensus brought certainty to the region regarding the use of the aquifer while creating an unlikely but lasting partnership for conservation.

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Hillingdon Ranch

Four Seasons, Six Generations

David K Langford

In 1885, San Antonio architect Alfred Giles began buying the land that would become Hillingdon Ranch, eventually accumulating 13,000 acres near the town of Comfort in Kendall County. As the property passed to succeeding generations, the holdings got smaller, and more family members shared a stake in the ranch. Today, dozens of Giles descendants own pieces of it, ranging in size from ten to several hundred acres.

Yet Hillingdon remains a working ranch, with day-to-day operations managed by Robin Giles, grandson of Alfred Giles; his wife, Carol; their son, Grant; and Grant’s wife, Misty. The cattle, sheep, and goat business they built has become a model of stewardship and sustainability. While managing family relationships can often be as complicated as managing livestock and forage, the ranch would not exist without the commitment of the large extended family, now in its sixth generation on the ranch.

Hillingdon Ranch: Four Seasons, Six Generations chronicles how one family has worked together over many years to keep their ranch intact. It is also a beautifully photographed portrait of a ranching family and their life in the Texas Hill Country, where work is guided by the seasons, increasingly influenced by technology, and inevitably affected by drought.

In learning about the family’s successes and challenges, readers will gain a greater appreciation of what the Giles family’s efforts mean to the rest of us: food, fiber, clean air, wildlife, healthy land, peace and quiet, and, perhaps most important of all, clean and plentiful water.

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Money for the Cause

A Complete Guide to Event Fundraising

Rudolph A. Rosen; Foreword by Andrew Sansom; Illustrations by Katie Dobson Cundiff

There has never been a greater need for raising the funds necessary to promote the causes that will help build a sustainable future. In Money for the Cause: A Complete Guide to Event Fundraising, veteran nonprofit executive director Rudolph A. Rosen lays out the field-tested approaches that have helped him and the teams of volunteers and professionals he has worked with raise more than $3 billion for environmental conservation.? As Rosen explains, fundraising events can range from elite, black-tie affairs in large cities to basement banquets and backyard barbeques in small-town America. Money for the Cause runs the gamut, demonstrating methods adaptable to most situations and illustrating both basic and advanced techniques that can be duplicated by everyone from novice volunteers to experienced event planners.? Each chapter begins with a pertinent, real-life anecdote and focuses on major areas of event fundraising: business plans and budgets, raffles and auctions, tax and liability matters, contract negotiation, games and prizes, site selection, food service, entertainment, publicity, mission promotion, food and drink service, and effective team building and use of volunteers. The author applies each topic to the widest possible range of events, providing practical detail and giving multiple examples to cover the differences in types of organizations and their fundraising activities.? Whatever the funding objective may be, Money for the Cause: A Complete Guide to Event Fundraising is both a textbook and a practical reference that will be indispensable to anyone involved in mission-driven organizations, whether as a volunteer, a professional, a student, or an educator.

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On Politics and Parks

People, Places, Politics, Parks

George Lambert Bristol; Foreword by Andrew Sansom

When George Bristol first saw the mountains surrounding East Glacier, Montana, in the early summer of 1961, he was, in his own words, awed to his depths. Thus began a love affair with nature and public parks that has endured for more than fifty years. This same love affair would lead Bristol to become a crusader for America’s national parks and, later, to be largely credited for the rescue of the ailing public park system in his home state.? In On Politics and Parks, Bristol tells his own story in lively prose that includes many intriguing peeks at behind-the-scenes events in Washington, Austin, and elsewhere. Beginning with his upbringing by a widowed young mother with a passion for music and literature, he narrates the converging of influences that led him to an influential political career, including active involvement in national campaigns for Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Lloyd Bentsen, and Jimmy Carter. After working for the Democratic National Committee and Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, Bristol was asked to join President Clinton’s administration.? However, what he really wanted was a place on the board of the National Park Foundation (NPF). With decades-old images of Glacier still burning brightly in his memory, he helped spearhead efforts to elevate the image of the National Park Service and helped establish a highly successful fundraising strategy for the NPF, giving both organizations greater national awareness and stature.? Having acquired a well-earned reputation for fundraising and effective advocacy, Bristol soon began to do for his home state what he had done for the NPF: solidify support and funding for the Texas park system. Over ten years and five legislative sessions, Bristol, through the Texas Coalition for Conservation, the nonprofit organization he founded, fought for the full claim of Texas state parks to the sporting goods tax. Utilizing his many contacts, his well-honed political sense, and his dogged patience, he forged an alliance that would win the day for everyone who loves the state’s public lands. In 2007, in the last bill passed on the last day of the session, the Texas legislature nearly doubled the operating budget for parks.? On Politics and Parks is at once a lesson in conservation history and a captivating personal memoir that will inform, entertain, and inspire all those who share Bristol’s love for the unspoiled beauty of the outdoors and his commitment to preserve that beauty for future generations.

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The Texas Landscape Project

Nature and People

David A. Todd

The Texas Landscape Project explores conservation and ecology in Texas by presenting a highly visual and deeply researched view of the widespread changes that have affected the state as its population and economy have boomed and as Texans have worked ever harder to safeguard its bountiful but limited natural resources. Covering the entire state, from Pineywoods bottomlands and Panhandle playas to Hill Country springs and Big Bend canyons, the project examines a host of familiar and not so familiar environmental issues.

A companion volume to The Texas Legacy Project, this book tracks specific environmental changes that have occurred in Texas using more than 300 color maps, expertly crafted by cartographer Jonathan Ogren, and over 100 photographs that coalesce to fashion a broad portrait of the modern Texas landscape. The rich data, compiled by author David Todd, is presented in clearly written yet marvelously detailed text that gives historical context and contemporary statistics while exploring and unpacking the environmental trends connected to the land, water, air, energy, and built world of the second-largest and second-most populated state in the nation.

An engaging read for any environmentalist or conscientious citizen, The Texas Landscape Project provides a true sense of the grand scope of the Lone Star State and the high stakes of protecting it.

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