It’s a beautiful day here in Fayette County. Summer is in full swing and I am enjoying having the kids out of school, playing baseball outside in the shade of the pecan trees, swimming at the pool, and grilling while following the Astros in the evening or, for that rare treat, a day game.
I have had the honor of being a part of the TLC Board for four years now, and I was excited to start this summer off as the new Board President. I will get to work more closely with our incredible staff, meet more of our generous and dedicated landowners, and further acquaint myself with the Texas treasures that represent the over 90,000 acres that TLC has preserved, with many more to come.
Our organization does important conservation work all across the state, and I am grateful to be a part of it. But I have a confession—I am a city boy!
I grew up in Houston and spent most of my days outside, it’s true; but it was in the urban environment of central Houston. I rode my bike on paved streets and played basketball at the neighborhood park. We had roller hockey on concrete and baseball and lacrosse on manicured fields. Each year, I waited on those summers to leave the city for my first glimpses of the Texas wilds. I remember exploring the north fork of the Guadalupe River, the beaches at Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston, and the forests of East Texas. As I have gotten older, I have broadened my familiarity a bit, falling in love with the Trans-Pecos and Big Bend region, the Davis Mountains, various areas of ranching and farming country, and countless others of our magnificent Texas places. And yet, I am a city slicker. There are no two ways about it, and I hope this brings me to a point.
I am increasingly aware of how the convenience of my city life—my lifestyle choices, my consumption of water, food, and electricity, my transportation choices — is made possible by my neighbors in more rural Texas. I also know these choices are placing extraordinary stresses on those same places, and the people who have stewarded them for generations.
Today’s Texas is an overwhelmingly urban state and growing more urban by the minute. We add 1,000 people a day to the state through net birth and migration. We are 28 million people today, and we will be around 54 million by 2050. Most of those future Texans will live in cities, relying on our less urbanized areas for clean water, power, and food. That population growth puts enormous stresses on Texas wildlife, open space, water quality and quantity, and food production. More and more land has been subdivided, covered with rooftops and pavement. The natural, uninterrupted spaces that provide resiliency to our manmade infrastructure and restoration to our souls are being chopped up and transformed by man, the greatest geological force in the world today.
That’s why we are so deeply appreciative of you, the lifeblood of our organization. No matter where you live in Texas, this impacts us all. Thank you for your continued support of Texas Land Conservancy!
Together, we are united in the common cause of intelligent, coordinated land conservation. Together, we can focus efforts on key watersheds, identify areas under development pressure, and encourage good science and policy in land management. Your help supports the protection of larger, contiguous tracts of land, which better sustain wildlife, support water availability and quality, and preserve scenic spaces.
From all of us at TLC, thank you for being a part of this increasingly important mission.