May is for Monarchs!
How to Build a Monarch Habitat

by Tiara Chapman

Tiara Chapman

Tag Archive: conservation

  1. May is for Monarchs! How to Build a Monarch Habitat

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    In the past two decades our State Insect, the monarch butterfly, has lost 165 million acres of habitat– that’s an area about the size of the Lone Star State itself.  In terms of food security, one in every three bites of food we eat is provided by a pollinator (like a monarch) doing its job in the ecosystem. Making sure pollinators have ample access to native food sources and host plants to support their offspring is not only important to the environment, it’s important for our plates!

    Supporting pollinators, like monarchs, is as easy as planting a flower. You can help monarch conservation efforts right from your own backyard by creating a garden full of nectar-producing plants and milkweed they will love and visit year after year.  Check out our step-by-step guide to building a monarch habitat below.

    Several Monarch Butterflies resting and feeding on tall yellow flowers in a field. Photo: IrinaK/Adobe stock photo
    Several monarch butterflies resting and feeding on tall yellow flowers in a field. Photo: IrinaK/Adobe stock photo
    • How much room do you have? 

    Whether you have 5 acres or a 5-foot balcony, creating a butterfly garden and making great monarch habitat is possible for just about any outdoor space! A healthy butterfly garden needs 3 things: good soil, good sunlight, and access to water. If your site has soil with heavy amounts of clay (i.e., the soil packs down in the rain and forms a thick mud) you may want to use containers, build a raised bed, or mix in compost into the bed to help loosen it. Most of the nectar-producing plants that adult monarchs love require full sun. On a bright day, note how much sunlight the area where you want to plant is exposed to. Be sure the area gets at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day. Your plants (or seeds) will need a helping hand settling into your landscape so you may want to pick a site close to a reliable source of water, whether that be a garden hose where you water by hand or an area equipped with irrigation. 

    • Choose the right plants

    Monarch caterpillars need milkweed to grow into adult butterflies. And they need a lot of it! and a typical caterpillar will grow to about 2000 times their hatch size before forming a chrysalis. Some great milkweed species for these very hungry caterpillars include the Antelope Horn milkweed, Asclepias asperula, and Green milkweed, Asclepias viridis.

    Finding milkweed plants and seeds can be difficult. Thankfully our Conservation Partner, the Native Plant Society of Texas, has a special program to help you source local nurseries with NICE plants for monarch habitats! Their Natives Improve & Conserve Environments (NICE) Native Plant Partner program educates the public on the value of native plants as well as partners with local nurseries and wholesalers to ensure native plants are available for purchase.

    For more information about sourcing, growing, and propagating milkweed, our Conservation Partner, Monarch Joint Venture has a vendor map and guides that will help you build a perfect monarch habitat! Click here to check out their resources.

    Adult monarchs are less particular about their food sources. They are attracted to any nectar-producing flower, so while you are at a NICE nursery, be sure to ask which blooming plants are best for your area. However keep an eye out for perennials that will bloom in the spring, summer, or fall. Some great examples include lantanas, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), salvias, verbena, yarrows, and goldenrod. No matter what remember, if you start with Texas native plants you’re guaranteed to end with a successful butterfly garden!

    Green milkweed in bloom Credit: Tiara Chapman
    Green milkweed in bloom Credit: Tiara Chapman
    • Plot out your plant layout and get digging!

    Now that you know what you want to plant and where it should go, it’s time to get outside!

    You’ll need a few tools to get started:

    • Shovel or garden hoe
    • Hand trowel or hand shovel 
    • Gardening gloves
    • Water hose
    • Mulch

    Depending on what part of the state you live in, you may be planting directly into the ground, using raised beds, or growing in containers. Our partner, the Native Plant Society of Texas has an ecoregion map of Texas and plant lists for each area that you can use to decide the best way to plant your garden. Click here to check it out!

    A repurposed wheelbarrow used to make a beautiful butterfly garden. Credit: Buchanan's Plants
    A repurposed wheelbarrow used to make a beautiful butterfly garden. Credit: Buchanan’s Plants

    If you are planting in a raised bed or container, prepare the bed by filling the space with a 50-50 mix of compost and garden soil. Next, take your garden hose and lightly spray down the soil so that it is evenly moist.

    If you are planting directly into the ground, preparing the bed will require two additional steps:

    First, remove the existing vegetation from your garden space. Take a shovel or a garden hoe and outline the entire area where your habitat will be. Then use those same tools to remove all the vegetation from the area. Working in sections, scrape along 2-3 inches deep into the ground and dig up the grass with its root structure.

    Shovelful of turfgrass. Credit: Adobe Stock
    Shovelful of turfgrass. Credit: Adobe Stock
    • Next, you can use a tiller to break up the ground or plant in holes dug individually.    

    Now that the bed is prepared for planting, arrange your plants along the space the way you want them. It’s important to give them room to grow out and up, so read the label instructions to ensure proper distancing. Aesthetically, you can place taller growing varieties along the edge or in the center depending on your view of the space, and plant milkweed in the interior so it won’t be as noticeable when caterpillars chew them down. With your hand trowel, dig a hole as deep as the plant’s original plastic nursery container. Take your plant out of that container and gently loosen the root structure over the hole you dug.

    Carefully hold the plant by its base in one hand, centered on the hole and level with the ground, where the roots are lying in the center of the hole. With your other hand or hand shovel, fill in the space with the excess soil. Once the hole is filled, press down around the base of the plant so that the roots make good contact with the soil. Once finished planting everything, give your new monarch habitat a good soaking with the garden hose. Lastly, add a thick layer of mulch to keep the garden hydrated as it gets established. 

    • Get creative

    You can level up your monarch habitat in a few different ways! Incorporate some nature art with a natural fairy lodge house. Those structures make great supports for monarch chrysalises. Give pollinators a break from the Texas sun by adding an insect watering station. The habitat is a living ecosystem, so keep a video journal of what you planted, how it performed over the year, how many monarchs you noticed in it, and other details that will help it grow and thrive. For inspiration and more ideas for your garden, make plans to visit our Conservation Partner, the National Butterfly Center during their October 2024 Texas Butterfly Festival!

     Fairy house in a forest constructed out of twigs, bark, and pine boughs. Credit: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
    Fairy house in a forest constructed out of twigs, bark, and pine boughs. Credit: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
    • Certify your habitat

    Our Conservation Partners would love to celebrate what Texans are doing to help monarch butterflies! Click the links below to learn more about how to add your efforts to national databases that amplify how we do conservation in the Lone Star State.       

    Monarchs nectaring on Gregg's mistflower Credit: Tiara Chapman
    Monarchs nectaring on Gregg’s mistflower Credit: Tiara Chapman

    Learn more and become a Texas Monarch Steward
    Our partner’s program, the National Wildlife Federation Monarch Stewards Certification in Texas will equip you with the skills and knowledge to create native gardens for monarchs, to educate and inspire others to conserve monarchs, and to even become a Monarch Citizen Scientist if you want!

    Our vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world. 

    By using this how-to guide to create monarch habitat, not only are you making their journey that much easier, you are also bringing us one step closer to achieving our vision. Together, we are rising to the challenge of natural resource conservation and helping our State Insect, the monarch butterfly, take to the skies once more!

  2. Conservation in South Texas

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    Texas is a popular state. In fact, nearly 1 in 10 Americans lives in Texas. There is a lot to love about the Lone Star State, including its sense of pride, deep history, diverse landscapes, and delicious Tex-Mex cuisine.

    However, popularity can be a burden. As Texans grow in number, the state’s native plants and wildlife take a toll. In the last decade, Texas gained nearly four million people, the highest number of any state in the country. Consequently, from 2012 to 2017 alone, over 1.2 million acres of working lands were converted to non-agricultural uses. That’s a rate of over 650 acres per day! Texas’s exploding population has resulted in increased land development that impacts its native wildlife and plants. As of September 2023, 203 plant and animal species are listed as endangered or threatened in Texas.

    The South Texas Plains is the state’s most biodiverse ecoregion and simultaneously home to 3 of the top 25 fastest-growing counties in the state. Fragmentation of the region’s expansive ranches into smaller parcels has been identified as the most significant threat to its wildlife. However, despite many land changes, it remains a haven for many rare species of plants and animals.

    This haven didn’t happen on its own. Conservation organizations in South Texas have worked tirelessly to protect the region from development’s impacts. From education to boots-on-the-ground conservation to policy transformation, the region’s ecosystems have greatly benefited from their efforts.

    Here are some of our Conservation Partners in South Texas!

    Overlook of the Rio Grande Credit: RGISC

    Overlook of the Rio Grande Credit: RGISC 

    RGISC: Chartered by the State of Texas in 1994, RGISC is Laredo’s leading environmental nonprofit. Our mission is to protect and preserve our only source of drinking water, the Rio Grande, and our local environment through research, outreach and awareness, policy advocacy, binational partnerships, and environmental youth education.

    Over the past three years, RGISC has moved strategically to build new Water Security and Climate Adaptation programs focused on data analysis, coalition building, and cultural organizing to implement innovative solutions that will make our region greener and climate resilient. We’re also leading campaigns and coalitions on complex issues that include ethylene oxide, and visionary plans for a 6.2-mile binational river conservation project.

    Overlook of thornforest Credit: American Forests/ Ruth Hoyt
    Overlook of thornforest Credit: American Forests/ Ruth Hoyt

    American Forests: American Forests is a nationwide organization whose mission is to create healthy and resilient forests, from cities to wilderness, that deliver essential benefits for climate, people, water, and wildlife. In Texas, American Forests is focusing its efforts in the Rio Grande Valley region to restore native thornforest, Texas’s most species-diverse ecosystem. Through funding and seed collection efforts, American Forests has developed the region’s first native community forest, formed the Thornforest Conservation Partnership, and provided support for restoration outplanting at Lower Rio Grande Valley NWR and Laguna Atascosa NWR.

    A heifer and her calf in a meadow of prickly poppy Credit: East Foundation
    A heifer and her calf in a meadow of prickly poppy Credit: East Foundation

    East Foundation: Advancing land stewardship through ranching, science, and education, the East Foundation works on behalf of landowners and managers to discover, develop, and document management outcomes benefitting livestock, wildlife, and rangelands while maximizing the long-term value of a ranching operation. As the first recognized Agricultural Research Organization in the U.S., East Foundation utilizes its diverse South Texas rangelands across six ranches as a living laboratory to advance land stewardship by conducting partnered research, developing conservation-minded leaders, and investing in future professionals through K-12 education programs, internships, graduate student training, and close engagement with university programs.

    Established in 2007 and building on an established reputation for innovative research and education programs, East Foundation is a working cattle operation focused on improving sustainable beef production in order to maintain the ecosystem services provided by intact rangelands. The Foundation’s ranching operations also encompass the conservation of the largest known population of the American ocelot – a small, secretive, and rare wild cat species. East Foundation is an engaged partner in the groundbreaking monitoring and recovery effort with the goal of recovery of the species – primarily on private lands – while also maintaining traditional land use and ownership rights.

    Brown butterfly with several large white spots on a twig Credit: National Butterfly Center
    Brown butterfly with several large white spots on a twig Credit: National Butterfly Center

    National Butterfly Center: Located in Mission, Texas, the National Butterfly Center is a 100-acre wildlife center with the greatest volume and variety of wild, free-flying butterflies in the nation. The Center is dedicated to the conservation and study of wild butterflies in their native habitats. A primary focus of its efforts is educating the public about the value of biodiversity, the beauty of the natural world, the wonder of butterflies, particularly, and the powerful role they play in maintaining healthy ecosystems and sustainable food resources. The Center hosts the Texas Butterfly Festival every fall.

    Focused in the foreground a branch of Yaupon and blurred in the background two people examining a branch of Yaupon Credit: Yaupon AgWorks
    Focused in the foreground a branch of Yaupon and blurred in the background two people examining a branch of Yaupon Credit: Yaupon AgWorks

    Yaupon AgWorks: At the northern edge of South Texas lies a portion of the Post Oak Savannah ecoregion. Yaupon, a native evergreen shrub, has overtaken much of the native grasslands characteristic of the Post Oak Savannah. After sustainably harvesting wild yaupon for tea for the last decade, Yaupon AgWorks realized a need to incorporate grassland restoration in order to move the needle in overall land restoration. Although in its infancy, Yaupon AgWorks envisions a more sustainable and vibrant future with strong partnerships and eager landowners.

    Deep in the Heart Film

    Defenders of Wildlife: Founded in 1947, Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. Defenders of Wildlife protects and restores vulnerable wildlife populations by transforming policies and institutions and by promoting science-based, innovative solutions. In South Texas, its focus is on the fewer than 60 ocelots left in the United States. Defenders work to raise awareness of ocelots’ presence on the landscape and best practices for coexisting with them. Additionally, Defenders is fighting the construction of industrial infrastructure that would undermine ocelot recovery.

    Texan by Nature’s vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world.

    These organizations are doing spectacular work to conserve and protect South Texas’s unique flora and fauna. If you are interested in supporting these organizations and the important work they’re doing in South Texas, consider visiting their website for ways to get involved.

    Texas is popular, and its popularity continues to grow by the minute. Protecting native plants and wildlife is more important than ever! With our Conservation Partners’ dedicated work, Texans will have the opportunity to enjoy them for generations to come.

  3. Confluence 2024

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    Join and reconnect with the Western Collaborative Conservation Network’s (WCCN) community of collaborative conservation professionals, leaders, and innovators in the West to share and learn about Stories of Success and Solutions, Funding for Capacity and Sustainability, and Building Bridges Between Communities. Together, we will be exploring these topics through peer-to-peer learning workshops, break out discussions, keynote speeches, field trips, and more!

  4. Landowners and the Future of Conservation with Texas Wildlife Association

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    In the heart of Texas, where vast landscapes and thriving communities coexist, a unique challenge has emerged. Our land provides rich natural resources that make Texas the 9th largest economy in the world. Our natural resources have driven the migration of people and businesses alike. Between 2010 and 2020, more than 25,000 businesses relocated to Texas and our population increased by 3.9 million people. As businesses and people move to Texas’ major metro areas, it is critical to understand the connection we all have to the land that provides the state its food, grain, water, and energy.

    80% of Texans reside in urban areas, cities continue to grow, habitats become displaced, and land becomes fragmented. In a state where 95% of the land is privately owned, the health and resources provided by natural spaces depend on the management decisions made by landowners and hunters. In 1985, conservation-minded landowners recognized the need for broader natural resources awareness, education, and collaboration with private landowners, and the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) was formed. TWA rallies Texans to support this mission by inviting all to membership and providing resources, education, and community to those who join.

    As a 2023 Conservation Wrangler, Texan by Nature and the Texas Wildlife Association are working together to share the importance of engaging with private landowners to advance conservation. TWA has a network of landowners that allow access and programming on their lands to educate Texans about wildlife, how hunting contributes to conservation, and the importance of land and water conservation.

    We spoke with Andrew Earl, Director of Conservation at TWA to share their insights for engaging landowners in Texas…

    Can you share an example of a successful strategy you’ve employed to engage Texan landowners in conservation initiatives? What were the key factors that contributed to their success?
    TWA’s success is driven by our community engagement around the state. By working with members within their community the organization builds a more organic connection with our audience and empowers volunteers to take on the role of an ambassador of our mission. These relationships require nurturing, however, this model has scaled our impact and adds invaluable legitimacy to TWA’s work.

    In the context of Texan landowners, how do you address concerns related to property rights and land use decisions? How do you navigate the balance between conservation goals and respecting the autonomy of individual landowners?
    TWA knows that landowners are the best stewards of our lands and resources and that keeping working lands intact is critical to slowing habitat loss in our state. The organization strongly believes that keeping families on the land is the best thing for the long-term health of our natural resources and therefore that property rights must be defended.

    Undoubtedly, land use issues are complex and require nuanced approaches. TWA goes to lengths to both guide best practices through policymaking that considers the needs of land stewards and administer education efforts which give landowners the tools to make the best decisions for themselves and their lands.

    How do you tailor your conservation messaging to resonate with the unique values and concerns of Texan landowners? Can you provide specific examples of messaging that has been particularly effective?
    The Texas Wildlife Association’s conservation initiatives are directly rooted in the values and interests of its membership. TWA’s member committees bring together a diversity of backgrounds that include farmers and ranchers, wildlife managers, land brokers, teachers, researchers, lawyers, and more. This variety of perspectives ensures that the many ecological and financial complexities of the issues facing Texas landowners are accounted for in decision-making processes. The input of these diverse committees is on display in TWA’s collection of educational opportunities, hunting outreach events, and natural resource policy priorities.

    Through TWA’s Land, Water & Wildlife Expeditions program, the organization partners with middle schools by providing five successive lessons that build to a field trip behind the gates of a working ranch. These lessons reinforce the interconnectedness of our lands and how the actions of conservation-minded property owners benefit their broader community.

    Our vision is for every business, every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world.

    In understanding the successful strategies employed by the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA) in engaging Texas landowners, a few key takeaways emerge for those looking to enhance their own conservation initiatives. 

    Community Engagement: TWA’s success is rooted in building organic connections within communities, empowering volunteers to become ambassadors for the organization’s mission. This approach, though requiring time and nurturing, has proven to be scalable and adds a grassroots understanding and legitimacy to the organization’s work.

    Education and Mentorship: The organization focuses heavily on building conservation literacy at many levels, from lesson plans and instruction in formal education settings to mentored experiences like the Texas Youth Hunting, Adult Learn to Hunt programs, and land & wildlife stewardship workshops. In engaging Texans at various levels of natural resource interest and literacy, the organization works to instill a lifelong stewardship ethic.  

    Meeting People Where They Are: TWA recognizes that landowners are integral stewards of the land and are a pillar in all programs. The commitment to tailoring conservation messaging to resonate with the unique values and concerns of Texan landowners has been a cornerstone of TWA’s success.

    The success of TWA’s engagement with Texas landowners underscores the importance of community connections, education, nuanced approaches to land use issues, and tailored messaging. By implementing these key strategies, conservation initiatives can not only gain support from landowners but also contribute to the long-term health of natural resources and foster a sense of stewardship within communities. Learn more about the Texas Wildlife Association and Conservation Wrangler support in this video.

  5. How Texas Runs on Water Engages the Community around Water

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    Have you ever thought about why Texas has such an iconic shape? It’s because of water! Not one, but three of our state’s boundaries are shaped by bodies of water- the Rio Grande, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Red River. Texans have water to thank for more than just our unique shape, however. Water is at the heart of everything we love about Texas, and it’s our most valuable natural resource. We rely on water for agriculture, technology, recreation, energy, manufacturing, and much more.

    Image Credit: Texas Water Foundation

    Texas’ population is expected to increase by more than 70% between 2020 and 2070. Because of that, we can expect demand for water to increase as our existing water supply continues to decline. Fortunately, Texas has a State Water Plan that identifies thousands of water management strategies to address these water budget needs. The plan also identifies that almost 45% of all future water will need to come from conservation and reuse. For this reason, water leaders have called for a statewide water campaign to address the behavioral and cultural changes needed to achieve our growing water supply needs.

    Background on TROW

    Texas Runs on Water® (TROW) is a first-of-its-kind statewide water campaign built on Texas’ strong sense of local pride. Led by the Texas Water Foundation, TROW is working to lead Texas into a sustainable water future by inspiring all Texans to reconsider how we use water, and how we value it. TROW encourages all Texans to participate in a viral cultural movement that spurs action and conversation around water. 

    A Regional Approach

    Texas is uniquely diverse, and so are our relationships with water across the state. The TROW campaign is intentionally designed as an umbrella concept that can be localized by region, audience, or water use, with the potential to link water entities, brands, industries, cultural ambassadors, and Texan iconography to water. The state’s thriving economy, wild landscapes, and beloved Texas products and pastimes all exist because of water – denim jeans, tacos, barbecue, and even college football games all Run on Water. Texas Water Foundation hopes that through this campaign, all Texans fully internalize that everything they love about Texas is rooted in water.

    Launched in 2021, TROW was piloted in three locations, gaining millions of views in Houston, the Texas Hill Country, and the Panhandle. In the pilot phase, Texas Runs on Water partnered with Houston Public Works to manage and support a “Houston Runs on Water” campaign. The campaign included paid social media, live ads in the Houston Hobby Airport, bilingual ads in grocery stores, a Houstonia magazine partnership, radio, and additional grassroots efforts to reach the entire Houston community. The regional earned nearly 9 million impressions generating increased awareness of the Texas Runs on Water message.

    Image credit: Texas Water Foundation

    Murals as a Message

    Public art can enhance communities by fostering a sense of identity, provoking dialogue, attracting visitors and investment, and improving overall well-being. Murals can reflect the unique character of a place, instilling pride and a deeper connection among residents. Through diverse artistic expressions in public spaces, murals and other art forms challenge norms, broaden perspectives and stimulate the imagination. Public art also contributes to the economic vitality of an area by drawing tourists, supporting local businesses, and creating job opportunities. By embracing public art, communities can cultivate a vibrant, inclusive environment that celebrates creativity and enhances the cultural, social, and economic fabric of the community.

    Texas Runs on Water has partnered with like-minded conservation organizations to complete three public art installations in Amarillo, San Antonio, and Junction, that tell the unique story of each region’s relationship with water. These murals have helped TROW engage with the local communities in their pilot markets through planning, painting, and unveiling of the artwork. TROW and partners are working on expanding this program, creating unique public art pieces in additional cities all across Texas. Learn more about each completed mural below:

    Image credit: Texas Water Foundation

    Amarillo Mural 

    Where to see it: 800 S Johnson St, Amarillo, TX 79101

    What does it mean? This mural represents Amarillo’s positive connections to water- past, present, and future. On one side, it celebrates a region that bloomed because of water. A cowboy tips his hat in the clouds, a cow grazes on a a field of wheat, a windmill is off in the distance.As you move to the right side of the painting, your brought to a more future-focused image. A young girl swims in a playa laketo symbolize the importance of protecting water for future generations.

    Partners: Blank Spaces Murals, Panhandle Groundwater Conservation District, City of Amarillo

    Image credit: San Antonio Water Systems

    San Antonio Mural 

    Where to see it: 1419 Roosevelt Ave, San Antonio, TX 78210

    What does it mean? This mural, titled “Yanaguana Rain Dream” pays homage to San Antonio’s water history and the area’s indigenous roots. Inspired by the rock art style found in West Texas, the piece features a depiction of the San Antonio River – known to early indigenous people as Yanaguana – and the inhabitants who relied on that water as they shaped and settled the land. Today, the river continues to shape the city. The artwork is a celebration of San Antonio’s unique ties to water. 

    Partners: Cruz Ortiz, Burnt Nopal Creative Studio, San Antonio Water System

    Junction Mural 

    Where to see it: 656 Main St, Junction, TX 76849

    What does it mean? Junction gets its name because it sits at the confluence of the North and South Llano River. These rivers are the lifeblood of Junction’s community – providing drinking water and outdoor recreation, supporting healthy wildlife and fishing, and sustaining residents’ quality of life. Created by local aspiring artists, the mural depicts the iconic Llano river and celebrates one of the town’s greatest pastimes – fishing. For community members and out-of-towners, it serves as a reminder to protect the beauty of the Hil Country. 

    Partners: Hill Country Alliance, Llano River Watershed Alliance, Junction Texas Tourism Board, Big Seed

    Going Social

    Texas Runs on Water leverages the power of social media to educate the community about the importance of water and engage their audience in the promotion of their message: everything we love about Texas runs on water. Social media trends are constantly evolving, and TROW strives to be at the forefront to engage with and reach Texans of diverse backgrounds. As social media platforms have embraced the growing popularity of original video content, TROW has been successful in engaging social media users in Texas and beyond through curated Instagram Reels and TikTok videos. 

    Giveaways and Campaigns are another popular trend on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. To further engage their audience, TROW partnered with the Texas Water Development Board to launch the My Texas Water Photo Campaign to inspire Texans to draw a connection to the water that keeps our state running. The campaign invites all Texans to share photos, reels, stories, or videos on Instagram from past or present experiences that represent their unique ties to Texas water, using the hashtag #MyTexasWater. The annual campaign launched on June 1, 2023 and runs through June 30, 2023. 

    Texas Runs on Water has also appeared in the immensely popular Texas magazine, Texas Monthly, where they emphasized the future water challenges that Texas faces, and the need for a statewide water conservation campaign to inspire change.

    Water is for ALL Texans

    Texas Runs on Water is an invitation to all Texans to take pride in the places they live, and in the water that keeps it running. In order to reach all Texans, it’s important to recognize and appreciate the unique connections that each region has with water and engage with each community on a personal and local level. Texas Runs on Water utilizes participation in community events, custom public art installations, social media engagement, and local advertisements to make the connection with local communities and inspire all Texans to reconsider how we use water, how we value it, and how we can ensure that future generations value it, too.

  6. What Makes Me Texan By Nature – Estela Lopez

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    Rio Grande River
    Exit to the Rio Grande Valley

    I never knew the impact of growing up in the Rio Grande Valley had on me until I moved away for college. had always heard the saying “you know you’re almost in the valley when you take the exit in Corpus”, but I wouldn’t understand the emotional meaning of it until I drove home for the first time and took the exit myself.

    Ring Day 2022

    I was born and raised by two of the most hard working individuals I know, Rosa Maria Lopez and Fernando Lopez, in the not so little city of McAllen,Texas. I never knew the sacrifice my parents made for me until I started sharing my story in college. My mother was born in Mexico and courageously came to the United States with a dream and a prayer. She has been the greatest role model in my life and has always encouraged of all of my dreams. My m​​other and father did not have the opportunity to attend college, and always made it a goal of theirs to have their only child attend college. They sacrificed continuing their education to provide for their family, and now that I have the ability to attend college and pursue a higher education, I dedicate everything I do for them.

    Bougainvillea Tree
    Memories in Mexico

    Growing up in the Rio Grande Valley has been a blessing. It has given me the ability to appreciate the beauty it holds even though the weather is unbearable at times. The proximity to the border and the Gulf of Mexico blesses us with an abundance of biological diversity. The true beauty of the RGV is in the people and the culture. The Tex-Mex culture has always been a defining and influential part of my life. Most of my childhood was spent traveling to Mexico to visit my mother’s side of the family. My greatest childhood memories include spending time at the ranch in Mexico with my family and eating all the delicious food I could possibly consume prepared by the locals in my grandparent’s hometown. My favorite thing to do was ride around with my grandpa in his old truck listening to corridos and looking at all the cattle and the surrounding vegetation. One of the most beautiful aspects of the ranch is a bougainvillea tree that my great-great grandfather planted for his wife, Rosa Ramirez, who I get my middle name from. This tree has survived droughts, freezes, and the hardships that ranching families face. It shows the true power and perseverance that nature has. This tree has always been so symbolic in my family because if this tree can survive anything, so can we.

     

    Antelope Canyon

    Traveling and discovering the beauty of nature is one of my favorite things to do. One of my favorite quotes comes from John Muir, “Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees”, and I couldn’t agree more. Traveling with my family across the U.S. has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. Pictures cannot describe the awe that encompasses an individual when you see first hand the beauty that nature graces us with.

    Antelope Canyon

    My time at Texas A&M University has afforded me the ability to learn more about the great state of Texas. Throughout my undergraduate and graduate education, so many professors have highlighted the diversity that Texas has. Through case studies and group discussions, it’s quite evident the pride that we all hold to be Texan. Nothing gives me greater joy than to tell my story and what it means to me to be from Texas. Walking into a room knowing that growing up in Texas has given me the strength, courage, and ability to conquer anything I set my mind to, empowers me to overcome any obstacle in my way. This is what makes me proud to be Texan by Nature.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  7. What Makes Me Texan by Nature – Sydney Gass

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    By Sydney Gass, Texan by Nature Social Media and Marketing Intern

     

    I was born in Baltimore, Maryland but spent most of my formative years on the Florida coast, searching for shells in the sand, spotting animals in the sea. My earliest memories in nature were the years my family spent in Turks and Caicos Islands, where my afternoons were filled with crystal blue waters and white sands. 

    After a few more moves, we landed in the greater Houston area when I was eight years old – my education and childhood continued to be formed by the wildlife that inhabited the land we lived on. Being homeschooled allowed so many moments to turn into science lessons, from catching snakes to watching deer feed, my love of wildlife was something that came naturally. 

    We spent five years in Texas when my family ended up in Vancouver, British Columbia, an incredibly beautiful city where the mountains and ocean literally meet. My teenage years brought me hiking, skiing, working as a naturalist on whale-watching boats, and spending as much time in nature as possible. I volunteered with the Canadian Wildlife Federation as a youth ambassador and at the Vancouver Aquarium’s marine mammal rescue center, caring for injured and orphaned marine mammals. 

    I started my undergraduate education in forestry at the University of British Columbia. But, after one conservation course, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the field. I shifted degrees and received my Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management. I was able to take an interdisciplinary approach to my degree, with courses in business, economics, ecology, conservation, psychology, and visual arts. I worked with master’s students studying the impact of urban development and agriculture on the critical habitat of endangered salmon species. I also studied the human impact on black bears within various communities and worked with the government to better educate tourists.

    About halfway through my degree, my love of photography morphed with science into a minor in communications and marketing. I was enthralled with sharing the beauty of our world and the importance of protecting it by taking science-heavy materials and turning it into something tangible, exciting and inspiring. I spent the past year working with Oceana Canada on their social media team. 

    I’ve found myself back in Texas after eleven years away and I’m constantly reminded of the beauty of such unique landscapes. This spring was one of the first times I’d seen Texas wildflowers across the hill country and I couldn’t catch my breath, it was unlike anything I’d seen before. Although I’m not born and raised in this incredible state, I don’t believe I truly am “from” one particular place. The stunning topography, incredible gulf coast, diverse wildlife, and endless opportunities for conservation make me proud to be Texan by Nature. 

  8. Creating a Return on Conservation™ Index: Texas Partnership for Forests and Water

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    If you could follow the water from your faucet all the way back to where it came from, it may lead you to a lush Texas forest. In fact, 40 percent of the surface drinking water supply originates from forests and woodlands. Future projections indicate that up to 1 million acres of forest lands are at risk of being converted to other uses by 2060, making the long-term conservation of these landscapes imperative to current and future drinking water supplies. In fact, over 11.7 million Texans receive their drinking water from the 3.8 million acres of high-priority forested watershed outlined by the Texas A&M Forest Service.

    Brazos River

    The Texas Partnership for Forests and Water (TPFW) is a statewide collaborative led by Texas A&M Forest Service that works to conserve and enhance forested watersheds across the state. The mission of the Texas Partnership for Forests and Water is to sustain and enhance healthy, productive Texas forested watersheds that provide safe, reliable drinking water and forest products through strong partnerships, collaboration, funding, and action. The initiative’s main goal is to maintain and expand healthy forests in drinking water source watersheds through strong collaboration between the forest, conservation, corporate, and water sectors.

    In 2022, Texas Partnership for Forests and Water was selected to participate in Texan by Nature’s Conservation Wrangler accelerator program. Through our work with TPFW, we determined that the partnership would benefit from the quantification of the social, economic, and environmental benefits of their efforts. The collaborative works closely with corporate funders through Green Futures, a collaborative program that works with a wide array of local and state networks to accomplish community forestry projects.

    To authenticate the economic and environmental impact highlighted by the ROC™ Index, TxN worked with third-party economic evaluation experts, EcoMetrics, ensuring values were unbiased and met current industry standards.

    Lesson Learned: Collaboration is Essential

    Collaboration between like-minded businesses and conservation organizations has been essential to the success of the Texas Partnership for Forests and Water Green Futures plantings. When multiple leaders come together under one common goal, it is easier to share knowledge and best practices. It also makes the collection of accurate metrics and data a smoother process. The use of partner expertise and metrics collected was critical in creating this Return on Conservation™ Index.

    To learn more about the Green Futures tree planting that was used for the creation of this ROC™ Index read through Texas Partnership for Forests & Water’s Demonstration Project Case Study developed through the Conservation Wrangler partnership.

    Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

    The Business Case for Water

    For businesses in and moving to Texas, water stewardship is key to continuing operations. According to the 2022 Texas State Water Plan, about 30% of future water will have to come from conservation strategies. The business case for investing in local conservation projects like TPFW is already made. By year five of the project, 1,600 trees planted in McKinney, Texas, will intercept and filter 462,894 gallons of rainwater benefitting Wilson Creek and Lavon Lake, North Texas’ major supply of water. In addition, the community will see the added benefit of 101,513 lbs of carbon sequestration resulting in cleaner air. Companies can report verified and tangible progress toward the world’s most pressing development goals like climate change and clean water and sanitation all while creating a positive environmental and economic ripple effect in the communities in which they operate. 

    Replication Opportunities

    Beyond garnering investments, TxN Return on Conservation™ Index also serve as a roadmap for other projects working with similar resources to replicate these economic and environmental impacts. The replication of the Texas Partnership for Forests and Water model has the potential to make a big impact in a state like Texas where 40% of the surface drinking water supply originates from forests and woodlands. Projects focused on forest management, riparian restoration, volunteer coordination, and more can study how Texas Partnership for Forests and Water achieved and articulated positive impacts in these categories, and then achieve a positive impact themselves.

    Davy Crockett National Forest

    Other organizations can also use Texas Partnership for Forests and Water’s work as a model to increase their collaboration with other programs and individuals. When we utilize the unique knowledge and experience that others hold, without trying to recreate the wheel, we can end up with a much better outcome. Whether your final goal is a one-day beach clean-up or a multi-year ecosystem restoration, collaborative efforts make your work more robust.

    If you’re interested in reviewing the Texan by Nature Return on Conservation™ Index for Texas Partnership for Forests & Water or other local conservation projects, click here

  9. What Makes Me Texan by Nature – Madeleine Kaleta

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    I grew up nestled amongst the trees in a valley between the mountain in a small town in upstate New York. My family’s history runs deep in this state, with the entire family residing in one of three cities. So, I stayed and followed my interests in animals and science and received a Bachelor’s in Zoology with a minor in bio-cultural anthropology at SUNY Oswego. Throughout my studies, I quickly found my love for wildlife conservation in faraway internships with a passion to preserve all aspects of the land, and I knew I had to explore more of our natural world. 

     

    The day after graduating, I loaded my life into my car and took off for my first official job in wildlife conservation. I traveled the country, only staying a few months at each temporary job, and one of those places was West Texas. No one in my family was surprised to see me end up in this beautiful and wild state. This was the first place in my journey where I was constantly amazed by the novelty and landscape as I drove across the state. It was nothing like home, but working on private ranches all across west Texas, I quickly appreciated the diversity. From the bogs and dense trees of East Texas, to the canyons and rolling plains, the birds of the Rio Grande, and all the amazing people and cultures I have encountered along the way.  

    While that job soon ended, I ultimately returned a few years later to begin my current master’s degree in biology with a focus in avian ecology research at UNT. While birds are a huge focus in my passion, I quickly realized the ecological complexities of the world. I found so much value in preserving other aspects such as land and water resources, but also engaging with local communities. A huge takeaway I learned in my bio-cultural anthropology background, was the best way to conserve nature, was to work with and help the local community. I feel this is the cornerstone to all great conservation successes across the world.  

    While I continue my current degree, my perspective and passion for combining conservation and community has only further solidified. Texan by Nature spoke strongly to me as an organization. Their contributions not only to the conservation of Texas natural resources, but also to aiding businesses and local community programs couldn’t have been a more perfect fit. I am excited to join them in our endeavors to catalyze and conserve so many meaningful projects and projects to protect this state. I may not have grown up a Texan, but I chose it. Contributing to the prosperity of the people and land of Texas is what makes me Texan by Nature. 

     

  10. What Makes Me Texan by Nature – Faith Humphreys

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    By Faith Humphreys, Texan by Nature Programs Intern

    Although my birth certificate says I was born in Kansas, in my heart I was born in Texas. My mom is from Ohio, and my dad is from Kansas, but they met and fell in love in Texas. My family moved to Abilene, Texas, when I was just one year old, so Texas holds my earliest memories.

    As a little girl, I was known as the crazy dinosaur girl who refused to play with dolls. Pretending I was a T. rex by holding meat forks in my hands was much more fun than playing dress-up. I was blessed to grow up with sweeping views of the Callahan Divide from my backyard with abundant space to explore nature. Expeditions with my sisters to “Faith’s Lake” (a small pond) were common, along with captures of many small critters and romps in the mud after notorious west Texas thunderstorms. Being constantly exposed to nature sparked curiosity for my plant and animal neighbors. I attended zoo school in the summers and quickly realized I wanted to be a zookeeper because I couldn’t think of a better job than one that allows you to take care of wild animals all day.

    My family traveled a lot, and one of our favorite spots was Possum Kingdom Lake. We had a lakehouse on PK and spent many July 4ths there with my cousins and grandparents. We loved loading up the boat with cokes and hotdogs then watching the fireworks over Hell’s Gate. We also made trips to Waco to visit my oldest sister and go to Baylor football games, however terrible they were back then. I came to love the game of football, which would come in handy later as a football coach’s wife.

    As I grew up, I learned more about the peril that wildlife around the world and in Texas was increasingly facing. However, unaware of any “real” careers in wildlife conservation, I chose to study business at Baylor University. During my college years, I loved running and hiking at Cameron Park, kayaking on the Brazos, and of course going to every Baylor home football game. I also discovered the beauty of Austin and the Hill Country during my visits for the ACL music festival.

    After graduation, I married my high school sweetheart (with a reception at the Abilene Zoo) and lived in San Antonio for three years. I fell in love with the Hill Country even more, especially with all the yummy authentic Tex-Mex food. We loved hiking at Eisenhower Park and Friedrich Wilderness Park and shopping at the numerous HEBs in town. We then moved to Texarkana for my husband’s job and fell in love with the forested landscape of the Pineywoods. It was unlike anywhere else I had seen in Texas. Caddo Lake completely captured my heart with its dreamy bald cypress swamps.

    After a couple years, we moved back to our hometown in west Texas, and I finally started pursuing my passion for conservation professionally through a master’s degree online with Clemson University. Although Clemson is in South Carolina, my term projects allowed me to choose local study sites, so I was still able to learn more about the unique flora and fauna of the Rolling Plains. I also became a Texas Master Naturalist and loved learning about all the ecoregions of Texas during my training. It’s been very rewarding to teach kids who don’t have an expansive natural area beyond their backyard about the wonders of our native wildlife. Just as rewarding is helping with trash cleanups around Lake Kirby and writing articles about native wildlife for the newspaper.

    Texas, every part of it, has treated me well over these past 27 years, and it is truly a privilege to be able to give back to its natural resources by working for Texan by Nature. The diverse people and landscapes that Texas encompasses feed my desire for new and exciting experiences. My appreciation for this diversity is what makes me Texan by Nature.

  11. World Environment Day: Water Resources for Texans

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    As sure as the sun rises each morning, water flows through every part of our daily life. Without water, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the business operations, supply chains, and technologies that make Texas the 9th largest economy in the world would cease to exist. It may be the beauty of our land, the friendly individualism of our people, the pro-business, pro-innovation attitude of our state, but more people are moving to Texas than are leaving the state every single week. Now home to 30 million people, our population is expected to reach 54 million by 2050. While our ingenuity as Texans is infinite, our natural resources are finite. The Lonestar migration will inevitably add pressure to our state’s land, water, wildlife and infrastructure. The actions we take now have the power to shape our state’s future. 

    As we celebrate World Environment Day, we’d like to take a moment to consider the future of water. What stewardship knowledge, resources, or positive behaviors can we share? How can we engage more people to join the dialogue around water conservation? We believe it starts with awareness and education. Let’s dive in!

    Where’s all the water?

    Underneath ¾ of our state lie 23 aquifers. Think of aquifers as large underground storage tanks made of permeable rock and sediment. These natural reservoirs absorb and store water underground when rain falls or snow melts. This water is called groundwater and when extracted, it serves as drinking water for our communities, irrigation for crops and as a natural resource for industries. In fact, over 55% of the state’s water supply comes from groundwater according to the Texas Water Development Board.

    Having trouble visualizing what’s underground? This video from Environmental Defense Fund shows the interconnectedness of water and gives a tour of the water right beneath our feet.

    Bubbling up in the springs of the Hill Country or in the desert oasis of Balmorhea State Park, the health of Texas’ aquifers is critical to conserving one of our state’s most precious natural resources. 

    Are there different types of water?

    Surface water is water from rivers, lakes, reservoirs and other open bodies of water on Earth’s surface. Texas boasts 191,228 miles of river and streams, 10,196 reservoirs covering more than 3.5 million acres, and 6.3 million acres of wetlands. Surface water is replenished through rain or snow and plays a crucial role in the water cycle by evaporating and condensing returning to the Earth as precipitation.

    Drinking water is water that is safe for drinking and cooking and provided by water utilities.

    Stormwater is water from rain or snowmelt and it collects in rivers, lakes and aquifers.

    Wastewater is water drained from homes and businesses that includes human waste and pollutants. This water must go through a treatment process before returning to the environment.

    Recycled water is treated wastewater that has been filtered, disinfected and treated to be used again as for non-drinking purposes.

    Greywater is water drained from activities like taking showers, washing dishes, laundry etc. this water does not contain human waste or harmful chemicals.

    Strategies such as “One Water” have been developed to ask and guide communities to consider and manage all waters running through it holistically. These water management practices integrate drinking water, wastewater, and greywater as a single resource. Through this approach, communities can achieve long-term resiliency to benefit both the environment and the economy. 

    Henderson, Katie & Deines, Allison & Ozekin, Kenan & Moeller, Jeff & Fulmer, Alice & McGregor, Stefani. (2020). Talking to Customers and Communities About PFAS. Journal – American Water Works Association. 112. 24-33. 10.1002/awwa.1498. 

    Where’s the water going?

    From stormy cloud to raindrop, to lawns to puddles to streams and down the gutter, where’s all the water going? Take that journey on the next rainy day. With River Runner, you can watch the path of a raindrop from anywhere in the contiguous U.S. – start from a city near you:

    Whether you’re in Austin or El Paso, your raindrop journey will likely take you all the way across our state and ultimately lead you to our bays, estuaries, and the Gulf of Mexico. Why does this matter? As water flows through our daily lives, communities and businesses, it takes with it what we put in. Litter on our roadways, improperly disposed medications, and harmful chemicals like fertilizers can wreak havoc on diverse ecosystems and the plants and wildlife that call them home, locally and miles away.

    How can I help keep water clean?

    There are committed organizations all across Texas working to keep our communities and our water resources clean. Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) and programs like 2022 Conservation Wrangler Stopping Litter and Plastics Along Shorelines (SPLASh), are working to combat litter and even track it in the Texas Litter Database

    If you want to join the over 87,000 volunteers to keep our state litter free, consider contacting a local KTB affiliate near you or join SPLASh for a clean-up event.

    As we head out for summer hikes and outdoor recreation, a good rule of thumb is to always practice the 7 Leave No Trace principles:

    By practicing and sharing these 7 simple actions, we can help protect our natural world and our precious natural resources. 

    Texans can help reduce litter that ends up in waterways by taking simple actions like avoiding single-use items like plastic water bottles, coffee cups and utensils, carrying reusable bags, or even simply securing trash and recycling properly at the time of disposal. 

    In addition, using nature-friendly products in our homes and lawns can help us reduce our ecological footprint and reduce pollutants in our water sources. Nature-friendly products are designed to be less harmful to beneficial insects like bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. By using these products, you help protect these important organisms that play a crucial role in plant reproduction and biodiversity.

    This World Environment Day, we hope you will join us in being Texan by Nature. Here’s a few ways you can get involved:

    • Join one of our 140+ Conservation Partners at their events.
    • Financially support a Conservation organization whose mission resonates with you.
    • Advocate for and implement nature-based solutions 
    • Join the Texas Water Action Collaborative (TxWAC) if you have a water project that needs funding or want to fund a water projects to meet business water stewardship goals.

     

  12. 5 Texas Conservation Organizations Helping Texans Get Outdoors!

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    As early as 1865, American Landscape Architect Frederick Law Olmsted said “The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body gives the effect of refreshing rest and invigoration to the whole system.” (National Park Service)

    Even now, his words resonate as 2023 marks 100 years since the creation of the Texas State Park system. Over the last 10 decades, the 89 Texas State Parks have preserved and managed 640,000 acres of Texas landscape. These acres provide a sanctuary for the plants and animals that depend on the land for habitat and for park visitors, too. Back in 1923, we didn’t know just how important spending time in nature is for human health, but science is painting a clearer picture every day. 

    Narrative reviews like this one published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health examine associations between nature exposure and health. Spending time in nature has been associated with: 

    • Higher levels of physical activity
    • Lower levels of cardiovascular disease
    • Decreased levels of cortisol (stress hormone)
    • Positive immune function
    • Mental health benefits, including lower risk of depression and anxiety
    • Improved cognitive function and brain activity

    Turns out a spoon full of nature can benefit the mind, body, heart, and soul

    If you think those benefits sound too good to miss out on, we agree. As our Conservation Partner network continues to grow (140 partners and counting!), we are excited to work with organizations that are increasing opportunities to spend time in nature through outdoor community-building. If you’re looking for community, shared passion, and outdoor adventure, here are 5 Texas conservation organizations you should know!

    Black Women Who, Texas Chapters: Austin, Dallas, and Houston

    Mission: To create a welcoming community for Black women in outdoor recreation spaces, subverting stereotypes along the way.

    Addressing the lack of visibility of both black and brown women and children, Black Women Who (BWW) is a multi-state nonprofit organization that empowers Black women to participate in outdoor recreation through community events. This organization recognizes that lagging representation of women of color in outdoor spaces and lack of access to nature in underserved communities are barriers to Black women and girls becoming outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists. BWW is breaking down these barriers with programs including the Black Women Who Scholarship Fund, annual expedition groups, and regular chapter meetups. 

    Connect with Black Women Who here and at the chapter links above. 

    Fellowship of the Outdoors, Dallas-Fort Worth

    Mission: To preserve the positive spirit that drives us to outdoor experiences and encourage new and existing outdoor enthusiasts.

    Fellowship of the Outdoors is a nonprofit that provides a community for conservation enthusiasts organized around guest speakers and a meal featuring sustainably-sourced game. Each gathering is an opportunity for members to be inspired to learn more about the natural world and enjoy it through outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing, while preserving it through mindful conservation. Wild Game Culinary Expert, Andy Sendino, brings sustainability to the plate, dishing up native Texas game such as bison, venison, quail and pheasant accompanied by remarks on the sustainable consumption of these game animals.

    Connect with Fellowship of the Outdoors here

    Gardening Volunteers of South Texas, San Antonio Area

    Mission: To advance water conservation and environmental awareness through community partnerships.

    Not afraid to get their hands dirty, Gardening Volunteers of South Texas (GVST) is about more than just gardening. GVST taps into the passion gardening enthusiasts have for spending time in nature to encourage natural resource conservation in gardening. Through programs such as the Watersaver Landscape Design Schools in partnership with San Antonio Water System, members can develop low-water gardens that will thrive in the South Texas area. Remote learning materials are also available through the Go Gardening series, and GVST invests in the next generation of gardeners and conservation stewards through two scholarship programs.

    Connect with Gardening Volunteers of South Texas here

    Latino Outdoors, Texas Chapters: Austin, Houston, and San Antonio

    Mission: To connect and engage Latino communities in the outdoors and embrace cultura y familia as part of the outdoor narrative.

    What started with a blog and small online community for Latino outdoor enthusiasts, became a national movement to increase representation in nature-based recreation: Latino Outdoors (LO). The nonprofit’s community model is designed to be replicated, bringing local leaders to the forefront of local conservation education and action across the country. LO programming includes free regional outdoor outings, Yo Cuento Stories, which encourages written stories and short film submissions about Latino experiences in the outdoors, and Semillitas Outdoors, a yearly initiative to promote positive outdoors experiences for Latino youth.

    Connect with Latino Outdoors here and at the chapter links above. 

    LGBT+ Outdoors, Texas Chapters: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Waco, West Columbia

    Mission: To connect the LGBTQ+ community to the outdoors and its members to one another.

    LGBT+ Outdoors is a Texas-based community-building nonprofit focused on outdoor recreation opportunities for people who identify as LGBT+. The program’s Ambassador model allows local leaders, Ambassadors, to start new chapters with organizational resources from LGBT+ Outdoors, creating opportunity to expand the project’s reach. The organization achieves its goals to create community and visibility for LGBT+ people in the outdoors with chapter events, a podcast, and the annual LGBT Outdoor Fest. LGBT+ is working to ensure not only everyone has access to nature, but that everyone has access to positive, community-centered experiences in the outdoors.

    Connect with LGBT+ Outdoors on Facebook and Instagram

    One Step Closer

    Our vision is for every business and every Texan to participate in conservation and for Texas to be a model of collaborative conservation for the world. We uplift our network of 140+ Conservation Partners like those above through providing free, exclusive resources on marketing, program management, fundraising, and more! When our Conservation Partners are empowered to amplify their impact and expand their reach, that’s one step closer to reaching our goal to engage every Texan in conservation. 

    If you’re a conservation organization and would like to join our network, get involved here.

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