Lady Bird Johnson once said, “The environment is where we all meet, where we all have mutual interest; it is the one thing we all share.”
For as long as I can remember, I have found it comforting to stand in a wide-open field, whether day or night, summer or winter and gaze up at the expansive sky. When I am in the middle of a field that stretches in every direction, there is a sense of peace as I stand amongst grasses whipping in the breeze, patches of wildflowers sprinkled beside me, a hawk screeching overhead, or smell the crisp fall evening air. In a wide open space that could make me feel minuscule and alone, I feel renewed, and connected to everything under the sun. Maybe it comes from the resilient Texas landscape I am surrounded by, or, could it simply be that the stars ARE bigger and brighter in Texas, and the skies and clouds ARE bluer and puffier? While this perception can be attributed to many powerful things, one realization is unmistakable – a quiet appreciation for the privilege to experience this great state of ours.
As a 4th and 1st generation Texan, respect for our state was in my nature from an early age. My great-grandfather as a child, witnessed his sharecropper family’s financial devastation after awakening one morning to discover their crops destroyed by a boll weevil infestation. This experience ignited his dream of one day becoming a self-sufficient landowner. After many years of hard work, he succeeded and spent as much time as he could throughout his life, enjoying and appreciating his land. His example of determination would become a driving force in my life, encouraging me to be proactive, grab hold of opportunities, and stay committed to my goals.
(Photo of Kat and horse by Allen Rich)
Growing up on that same land, I experienced the freedom of exploring creek beds and woods, running through pastures, raising animals, learning about plant life, observing wildlife, and capturing insects in jars to inspect under a magnifying glass. I spent years participating in a vast array of projects through 4-H, ranging from learning about animal husbandry to volunteering for trash pick up along the highway. Through these experiences, I learned the importance of caring for and maintaining the integrity of the land.
My life, since then, has taken many twists and turns while pursuing a creative career. Over the past year, I have found myself coming full circle and seeking opportunities to learn more about conservation efforts across Texas. I am excited to begin a new journey as the marketing and media intern at Texan by Nature for the next several months and look forward to gaining valuable experience.
When asked “What makes me Texan by Nature,” it is the very heritage of determination, resilience, and ingenuity that runs through the spirit of every Texan both past and present. It is realizing we have a role to play as a member of our communities working together to ensure the preservation of our heritage, both culture and land.