By Scott Dubois, Texan by Nature Marketing Manager
I’m honored to have been hired by Texan by Nature as the new Marketing Manager. During my first day on the job, I was asked to consider “What makes me Texan by Nature?,” and I’ve thought about it quite a bit since. Essentially, I’ve learned a lot from the diverse landscapes and people of Texas. However, a deeper dive into my background will illuminate what that means and why it is important.
Growing up on the coast in Corpus Christi, Texas, I learned to love nature from my dad, the Laguna Madre, and the Gulf of Mexico. I have early memories of dolphins playing at the bow of our boat and wade fishing in broad brown seagrass beds, watching schools of redfish and stingrays swim by. My dad built a cabin with my uncles on a nameless island along the Intracoastal where I could look for hidden treasures and explore the wreckage of abandoned cabins. In high school, my friends and I would drive 4x4s down the Padre Island National Seashore to camp, surf, and fish. We regularly took our boat offshore to dive into the clear blue water found just a few miles past the muddy surf. Most weekends left me salt-encrusted, waterlogged, and sunburnt.
I didn’t realize there was anything unique about this upbringing until I left home. I moved to Austin to study at the University of Texas and graduated with a dual degree in history and government. During that time, I missed the Gulf but learned to love swimming in Hill Country springs. After graduation, I moved to New York and worked at my first nonprofit, Friends of the High Line. Despite being a part of a fascinating project, the big city wasn’t in my nature. I needed more space and a visible horizon to survive. Any free moment I had there was spent in the deepest parts of Prospect Park, foraging for berries, where I could no longer see or hear the city. After a year away, I moved back to Austin.
Back in Texas, I studied Permaculture, tutored science classes, and became a freelance designer and organic gardener. As a freelancer, I took a wild ride as the Web Designer and Art Director for the Kinky Friedman for Governor campaign, which allowed me to meet people from all walks of life and all parts of Texas. When the campaign wrapped up, I continued to freelance until the Great Recession brought work to a standstill. Fortunately, I was given the opportunity to share my passion for nature with young Texans as the gardening Teacher at a Montessori School. I eventually left the school for a job at Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, a travel publication, because I wanted to learn how to tell stories that engaged people.
In early 2020, the Hideaway Report was sold. I took that opportunity to bow out and get more involved in conservation. Little did I know that the pandemic would torpedo my dreams of quickly finding a job in. Fortunately we were prepared, and during that lost year I became a stay at home dad and focused my creative energy on writing about the history of Texas Wildlife. I eventually heard about this job opportunity at Texan by Nature from the Deep in the Heart team, whom I had helped with historical research. That brings us to the present day.
Texan by Nature
How does all of this personal history relate to Texan by Nature, and why is it important? First, as the new guy, I’d be remiss if I didn’t introduce myself. More importantly, as Joni Carswell our CEO points out, each person’s journey gives them a unique perspective that they can apply whenever they are challenged to innovate.
Texan by Nature brings conservation and business together to increase investment in conservation. We do this by sharing information and building partnerships of diverse and sometimes unexpected constituencies. As an electric-car-driving son of a Texas oil man, I understand that. When I go fishing with my Dad, and talk to people around the state, I can see that the love of our natural resources is something all Texans share. If we can harness that common ground, it will help protect those resources, and maybe open other doors for collaboration.
Further, as a lifelong Texan, I have also seen how wildlife can return, when protected and given the opportunity to live. I remember how rare it was to see a brown pelican when we were fishing in the 1980s. I always pointed them out when we would see them. Now they are ubiquitous on the coast. As a child, I visited parks all over Texas with my family. When we stayed at the Chisos Basin in Big Bend around 1990, we spotted a young black bear near our cabin. At the time I thought that was just how wild West Texas was. Only later did I realize that this was probably one of the first bears to be born in the park in decades. If you study the history of Texas wildlife, you read about the ecocide that happened throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, but you also see that we are learning from our mistakes to make things right.
I see a future Texas that has ocelots roaming their former range, large areas of protected or restored prairies, and plenty of outdoor space that is available and welcoming to all Texans. I also understand that Texas is a pro-business and private property state. We need to engage the business and conservation resources we have and play to our strengths. It won’t be easy, but this environment is primed for innovation. We can get to that future in a uniquely Texan way, and I’m excited to see how we do it.
My background in nature, design and marketing has prepared me to tell these stories, but we still need people to make them happen. I hope you’ll join me on that journey. If you’d like to share feedback or have a good story to tell, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nice to meet y’all!