Texan by Nature exists to bring conservation and business together. We believe in a collaborative model that pushes impact boundaries for our natural resources, people, and economic growth. We’re proud to partner with 80+ conservation organizations that are innovating new approaches in every corner of our great state. In this blog, we sit down with Adeline Fox, President of Big Bend Conservation Alliance to learn more about what they do and the exciting future for their organization that is on the horizon.
TxN: What is your name, background, and how did you originally get involved in conservation and the outdoors?
Adeline: My name is Adeline Fox. My background is in agricultural communications and policy. After receiving a bachelors of science from Texas Tech University, I began working with groundwater conservation districts in the Lubbock area. Since then, I have moved to Austin and work as the director of communications for the Texas Water Conservation Association. Until the age of five, I grew up watching my dad work on a ranch near Valentine. My early conservation values were first influenced by local ranchers whom I saw carefully manage their land and water. My family eventually moved to Alpine, which is where I call home. The vast landscape of West Texas made me appreciate the outdoors and helped me discover my passion for them.
TxN: Who is the Big Bend Conservation Alliance and what is your mission?
Adeline: BBCA was founded in 2015 and formed by a group of citizens concerned about the impacts of the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. Since 2015, we have expanded our mission reach to encompass four key program areas, which are land, water, dark skies, and cultural resources. Our mission is to conserve the living heritage and unique natural and cultural resources of the greater Big Bend region of Texas.
TxN: What does the Big Bend Conservation Alliance do and who is your audience?
Adeline: We are conveners of information and partnership for the region. A recent example of this model involves a research project with interviews from 47 thought leaders throughout West Texas to better understand regional priority issues. Groundwater depletion and water supply in general were top concerns overall. The full report is available here. Our primary audiences include rural West Texas communities, scientists/experts of the Big Bend Region, and West Texas media. As our program areas expand, we plan on having secondary audiences that encompass state and local elected officials and targeted urban areas to build greater awareness platforms.
TxN: What distinguishes Big Bend Conservation Alliance from other conservation organizations in the region?
Adeline: West Texas may have fewer people than other parts of the state, but the organizations working here are passionate leaders for their communities. BBCA is different because we serve as conveners and advocates for land, water, dark skies, and cultural resources. Our program areas and impacts encompass a broader range of issues. The founding board built a solid foundation of supporters from across Texas and the country. That momentum has continued beyond its original scope, which helps us pursue our mission.
TxN: How does someone get involved with Big Bend Conservation Alliance and do you have any events coming up?
Adeline: The global pandemic has certainly limited our outreach efforts. We hope to plan some additional BBCA webinars later in the year. Beyond events, we are launching a new website, a friends group, new merchandise that includes a partnership with YETI, and releasing a custom-designed t-shirt by Lockhart musician/artist Dana Falconberry. Stay tuned for opportunities to join events, volunteer, and learn more about our friends group by signing up for a newsletter.
TxN: How has your organization been perceived in the past and how do you hope it is perceived moving forward?
Adeline: In the early days, BBCA was known for combating the Trans-Pecos Pipeline. While we gained a lot of support with those efforts, the approach was not for everyone. However, the point was to make an impact, and we did that. BBCA and its advocates ambitiously took on the Federal Energy Regulation Commision, which is a mighty task. Moving forward, BBCA wants to protect more than the land. We want to be advocates for land, water, dark skies, and cultural resources. We want to bring forth our grassroots heritage, while expanding our impact into more areas. The hope is to build and expand on current partnerships to be an even more powerful advocate for West Texas.
TxN: What is in store for the future for Big Bend Conservation Alliance?
Adeline: After hiring our first executive director in 2017, we are still in a development stage in terms of capacity. We plan on building more capacity so we can pursue added programs, events, and advocacy initiatives. Beyond that, we plan on continuing with our Water Symposium event, working more closely with local groundwater conservation districts, helping local communities receive dark sky designations, and continuing to defend landowners from injustices of eminent domain of private pipeline companies.
TxN: What is your favorite part about the Big Bend Region?
Adeline: The tranquility of the region is truly palpable. Anytime I’m hiking anywhere in the Big Bend Region, there is a sense of pure relaxation that I really cannot find anywhere else. Sure, it is my home, but I know others who have expressed a similar feeling when visiting for the first time.
TxN: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Adeline: We appreciate the fact that many tourists from across Texas enjoy traveling out west. However, we would recommend checking national and state park websites before traveling. Due to limited resources and isolation, the parks have had to close at times throughout their normal peak seasons. Thank you for interviewing us!