The story of TLC begins with Edward C. “Ned” Fritz, often called the “Father of Texas Conservation.” Ned Fritz founded what was then called NAPA (Natural Area Preservation Association) in 1982. The organization was renamed the Texas Land Conservancy in 2007.
Ned founded TLC in 1982 in response to the increasing demand on natural properties for development. Many of these properties were too small to be noticed by larger conservation organizations so Ned decided there was need for a land trust that would take on the preservation of these smaller, but equally important lands. Ned gathered a group of grassroots volunteers to establish a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, and NAPA (now TLC) was born. Now, the Texas Land Conservancy is a non-political organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with a broad range of expertise in legal, financial, education, art, and business fields.
TLC has grown to be one of the oldest and largest land trusts in the state. TLC focuses on projects that are ecologically representative of that eco-region, and places high priority on properties with threatened or endangered species. Of the ten distinct eco-regions in the state, we own property or hold easements in nine.
Ned’s Professional Life
Ned received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and his law degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Mr. Fritz served as a flight instructor in the U.S. Navy (among his students was former President George H.W. Bush, then a young naval cadet). Mr. Fritz had a long, successful career as a practicing lawyer in Dallas. After retiring from his successful law practice in 1970, Ned helped to establish many environmental organizations, including Texas Committee on Natural Resources, Dallas Audubon Society, and NAPA. He was a founder in the Nature Conservancy of Texas, and later became acquisitions chair for TNC. Ned led grassroots political campaigns to protect the Big Thicket National Preserve and five wilderness areas in East Texas and led citizens’ groups opposing reservoir projects and clearcutting on national forests. A prominent and outspoken advocate for conservation, Ned has inspired many with his passion and energy in preserving the environment.
Read more about Ned Fritz & TLC's history:
DeGolyer Library - Southern Methodist University - Archive
Texas Parks & Wildlife obituary -- August, 2009
Texas Legacy Project interviews -- 1983, 1997, 1999, 2000