Texas’s most precious lands and waters face the mounting pressures of population growth and sprawl and a changing and unpredictable climate, and none more so than the iconic Texas Hill Country. Land fragmentation and consumption, coupled with groundwater pumping and rapid expansion of impermeable cover is inhibiting groundwater recharge and increasingly threatening open spaces, spring and stream flows, natural habitat and wildlife, and rural character and small-town charm. Challenges as systemic as these require an increasingly sophisticated and nimble approach, and natural resource conservation initiatives nationally are increasingly adopting a network governance framework to achieve this. Hear from regional funders, conservation strategy experts and the newly formed Texas Hill Country Conservation Network as they describe their experience in forming, funding and launching this network model and provide lessons that can inform regional conservation work across Texas.
• Marilu Hastings is vice president of sustainability programs for the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation in Austin Current programs include clean energy, land conservation, shale sustainability, water, and sustainability education. She has specialized in the interaction of science, public policy, and philanthropic investment as they relate to environmental decision-making for over 25 years.
• Katherine Romans is the executive director of the Hill Country Alliance, a regional nonprofit with a mission to build an ever-expanding alliance of groups and individuals interested in protecting the long-term character of the Texas Hill Country. Katherine oversees the organization's strategic activities across 17 counties of Central Texas.
• Emily R. Warren is the associate director of The Meadows Center for Water where she has served as the principal manager for the Meadow's Center strategy, operations, and programs. For more than 15 years her work has focused on providing the science that supports policy, watershed management, land and water conservation, and sustainable use of natural resources in Texas.
• Tim Larson is president of Ross Strategic, a consulting firm that supports collaborative processes, strategic planning and research and evaluation activities to address complex environmental, public health, and economic development issues. For the past two years, Tim has been supporting the Texas Hill Country Conservation Network with the development and early implementation of its strategic plan.
• Sarah Richards is water program officer at the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation where she invests resources towards addressing Texas's most pressing water challenges to ensure ample, healthy water supplies for the environment.
The site of TEGG’s fall meeting, the Headwaters at the Comal, contains the headwaters of the Comal River, the original water source for the New Braunfel’s community, and a unique riparian habitat. During the first phase of the restoration project it was also identified as a significant archaeological treasure. The 16-acre site was used by New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) as a warehouse, fleet and facilities yard, office and inventory storage from 1940 until 2004. In keeping with a longstanding commitment to the environment and the community, NBU is supporting the restoration and development of this site into a multi-faceted facility which enhances the region’s relationship with nature and encourages future stewardship of the environment, water and community. In order to fulfill this mission NBU has created a 501c3 non-profit organization which is tasked with developing partnerships, providing programming and outreach and raising the matching funds needed to see the project completed to its full potential. Attendees will learn about the history and future of the project.
An OPTIONAL TOUR following the meeting will allow participants to view the phase I restoration of the property including the riparian habitat restoration, the Comal Springs Overlook, the natural storm water features demonstrated by the creation of a native prairie habitat from an asphalt parking area, and the repurposing of an old metal building to a covered outdoor education classroom. If you plan to participate in the tour, please wear or bring comfortable walking shoes and dress for outside conditions.
Gruene Mansion Inn has extended a discounted rate to the group for the nights of October 12 ($175) and October 13 ($225). If contacting the hotel to make reservations, reference TEGG Fall Meeting.
Deadline for registration is October 5.
Questions about this program?
Contact Adrienne Clay