Texan by Nature (TxN) is proud to partner with 100+ conservation organizations working to positively benefit Texas’ natural resources and communities through innovative approaches. TxN accelerates conservation by bringing conservation organizations and business together through programs that connect and convene diverse stakeholders and catalyze science-based conservation efforts and projects to accelerate impact.
Learn more about TxN Conservation Partner, The Frontera Land Alliance, and how they are protecting West Texas landscape through conservation easements and community outreach.
Q: Tell us about The Frontera Land Alliance and its mission.
A: The Frontera Land Alliance (Frontera) works with landowners to protect their property in perpetuity. This is accomplished by placing a conservation easement on the property, which protects the land. Frontera believes that by reaching out to educate our community on the value of our West Texas landscape and its benefits, we can create a more sustainable environment for both present and future generations.
Frontera’s core values are what drive the organization. We believe that education builds awareness resulting in smarter choices regarding the protection and conservation of our natural resources. Frontera focuses on the need to strategically preserve valuable open space for the natural habitat and beauty it provides our community and its visitors. Investing in conservation is also an investment in the local economy, public health, and our quality of life.
Q: What is the history of The Frontera Land Alliance?
A: Frontera, a non-profit t 501(c)3 organization, was founded in 2004 when community members realized there was an urgent need to preserve the most important remaining natural and working lands in the greater El Paso and southern New Mexico region–through conservation easements if possible. Frontera is valued as a leader in environmental stewardship, is non-partisan, and is nationally accredited.
Q: How do you work to achieve your mission and who is your audience?
A: Community conservation is an approach to land conservation that starts with people. In order to preserve land and water we need more people who care about these issues to become involved.
Frontera started an outreach program with the purpose of educating community members in our region about the benefits of land conservation. This also involves engaging local organizations, businesses, and civic groups. We have also developed the knowledge and expertise to provide guidance to land owners who want to maintain the character of their land. We serve the Texas counties of El Paso, Hudspeth, and Culberson, and Doña Ana and Otero in New Mexico. Frontera works with government, non-government, nonprofits, and private landowners to preserve their land with easements.
Q: What are some examples of your projects or programs?
A: We are continually exploring new conservation easements and maintaining existing ones. Frontera seeks out landowners interested in placing a conservation easement on all or part of their natural open-space, farm or ranch. We then monitor the lands which have been placed under our care.
For example, Thunder Canyon is a 24-acre arroyo set aside in 2007 through an exciting partnership between the Canyon’s neighbors, the City of El Paso and Frontera. The people living around the canyon worked with the City and Frontera to forge an agreement through which the City purchased the land from the developer and the residents agreed to repay the City. Frontera holds the conservation easement that ensures the land will never be developed. Everyone involved is extremely satisfied with this arrangement.
In 2019, volunteers donated a total of 600 hours of their time to assist in reaching out to and interacting with nearly 9,000 children, teens and adults. Various volunteer activities include, but are not limited to, the removal of trash from Resler Canyon, removing graffiti from Franklin Mountains State Park, and collecting native seeds for replanting.
Additionally, our Nature Discovery Program focuses on education and recreation and hosts monthly activities that are open to everyone. This program offers individuals the opportunity to go outside and experience nature in person.
Q: What are the ecological and economic benefits of your organization’s projects/programs?
A: Siglo Group in partnership with the Texas Land Trust Council, quantifies the value of lands (including those now under conservation easements) that have been conserved by or with assistance from the Texas land trust community, including The Frontera Land Alliance. The study found that the more than 1.6 million acres of land put into conservation with the help of Texas land trusts are estimated to have provided more than $1 billion in benefits to Texas taxpayers each year.
Land conservation is also important because over the last two decades, El Paso County lost 11,755 acres of natural area to development, which is just over 18 square miles. To put that in context, it’s more than about half the size of Franklin Mountains State Park.
“As I drive up the road leading to the mountain, and as soon as I pass the developed area, I begin to feel a calmness that I hadn’t realized I’d missed. The open land, the tranquility and the peace, all consumed me until my mind and body were overtaken by the beauty of this place.” –Frontera Land Alliance Member
Q: Tell us about the future of your organization. Do you have any upcoming initiatives, exciting events, or even challenges ahead?
A: As with any non-profit, we always face new challenges. Our organization is focused on educating our community and creating an awareness of the need to preserve our land. This involves constant outreach and inventive ideas to reach everyone in our diverse community. Our planned events for this year are numerous, but perhaps most exciting are the special events we’ve planned to thank our supporters for their steadfast belief in our mission.
Q: Are there any other interesting news / events / facts about your organization that you wish we would have asked/covered?
A: 2020 was a difficult year for everyone, especially non-profit organizations. For a time our future looked bleak because all of our events were cancelled due to the pandemic. We’ve managed to forge ahead with guarded optimism, continued our outreach to the best of our abilities, and are planning for 2021/22. We’re proud to say that thanks to our friends and supporters–we survived!
We have an overwhelming appreciation for Texan by Nature and other like-minded organizations who join us in our efforts to save our “special places and wide open spaces”! Thank you!
Q: How can people get involved with and learn more about your organization?
A: People who want to learn more can visit www.fronteralandalliance.org