Our founder, Laura Bush, inspires our work. Since her earliest days in Midland, she has felt a deep connection with the diverse natural beauty of Texas and a desire to pass it on to future generations. Giving voice to Mrs. Bush’s love for our natural world, Texan by Nature strives to strengthen the conservation ethic in all Texans that will ensure Texas’ economic vitality and heritage by conserving our natural resources for generations to come. The people and the land are what make Texas great. When they are working in harmony, everyone benefits.
Since her childhood, Laura Bush has felt a deep sense of connection to and wonder in the natural beauty that surrounds us every day. She has made it a lifelong commitment to share this connection and engage others in helping take care of our natural world. Though her conservation efforts date back to her childhood, they truly came into public view when she was catapulted into the spotlight through her role as First Lady of the United States of America. These are just some of the highlights of Mrs. Bush’s efforts to build conservation into our state and national culture:
- As honorary chair of the National Park Foundation, she visited more than 30 national parks and historic sites and spotlighted the glories and needs of the parks. Her leadership helped protect our national parks, oceans, and coastal resources, and Mrs. Bush continues to be a vocal advocate for our national park system through her current role as co-chair, with First Lady Michelle Obama, of the National Park Service Centennial celebration.
- She invited young people across the country to participate in the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger Program, introducing youth to our parks and instilling a respect and appreciation for nature and the role we must all play in conserving our natural resources.
- Mrs. Bush launched First Bloom, a collaborative conservation education program which introduces children to native plant science and the ecological benefits of healthy native habitats. First Bloom places a special focus on children in urban areas and equips them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to plant and care for their own native plant garden.
- Alongside President George W. Bush, she helped to launch the Marine Debris Initiative which educated the public about recycling to reduce marine debris entering the oceans. It also strengthened public and private efforts, with international partners, to step up recycling efforts. She further highlighted the importance of our coastal resources when she announced President Bush’s designation of the largest single area dedicated to conservation in the history of the United States, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, Papahanaumokuakea.
- After purchasing the Crawford ranch, the Bush family set out to restore the native prairie that once flourished in central Texas. They collaborated with experts from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Natural Resource Conservation Service and others to help establish the prairie. To date, they have restored over 120 acres of native prairie, created much-needed wetlands habitat, and established a native tree farm in Crawford. Mrs. Bush continues to teach others about native habitat restoration by opening her ranch and native prairie up to researchers, conservation groups and other land owners so they too can learn about the many benefits native prairies provide. She also donates native Texas trees from the Crawford tree farm to state and local parks and private land owners to further spur native habitat development.
- Under Mrs. Bush’s guidance, the 15-acres that surround the George W. Bush Presidential Center, located in the heart of urban Dallas on the campus of Southern Methodist University, was landscaped entirely with native plants and trees. Open to the public, this native plant park has become a demonstration site for tens of thousands of visitors each year and is the largest park in University City.
- In January 2013, she helped launch the first-ever statewide Natural Resource and Environmental Literacy Plan. Developed by more than 30 organizations, the plan is designed to teach the importance and positive benefits of experiencing nature firsthand. Mrs. Bush generated press coverage, keynoted the launch event, and brought together state and national leaders in health care, education, and conservation to further the dialogue among key decision and policy makers.
Beyond this invaluable work, Mrs. Bush still wanted to do more. Guided by her love for the diverse natural beauty of Texas and a desire to pass it on to future generations, Laura Bush enthusiastically founded Texan by Nature in 2011. Her efforts with Texan by Nature have, in a short time, led to:
- The integration of conservation practices into select current oil and gas processes in the Eagle Ford Shale;
- The establishment of the Texas Botanical Gardens and Native American Interpretive Center, helping revitalize a small rural central Texas town;
- Expansion of the 1-20 Wildlife Preserve and Jenna Welch Nature Study Center’s program to educate the public about the importance of playa lakes; and,
- A partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Federation, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to create Texan by Nature’s Monarch Wrangler program, giving Texas employers and organizations the opportunity to help rehabilitate the monarch butterfly population while building conservation into company culture.