Roy and cows cropSandylands dog

December 15, 2014

Carolyn and Roy Horton are passionate stewards of Sandylands Ranch, a beautiful piece of land in the Hill Country. Our Development Director, Rachael Garbowski, sat down with Carolyn and Roy to ask them about their stewardship ethic, their love of the land, and their vision for the future of Texas.

Rachael: Where are some of your favorite places?

Carolyn & Roy: We enjoy spending time at our home in Knoxville, Tennessee (where we are from and where we met), the ranch in Texas, and our cabin Paradise Valley, Montana. The most meaningful places on the ranch are the Pedernales River, the bluffs, and the beautiful meadows when they are full of wildflowers.

R: What made you fall in love with Sandylands?

C & R: We knew this was a special plcae when we saw the spectacular, natural beauty of the ranch. We fell in love with the river and the rapids. The ranch is also home to a variety of wildlife which is fun to see. We enjoy the total privacy of the ranch and river.

R: Describe some of the work you do to maintain your land.

C & R: Currently, we are working to clear heavy juniper from from 105 acres of the ranch and to eliminate, or at least reduce, other invasive species through cutting and herbicide application. We hope to improve conditions for the existing oak and other native trees and to restore native grasses. We also hope to regenerate a spring that used to flow but now is inactive without a rain fall. We are taking great means to preserve native plant species and to preserve natural habitat for the wildlife. We feel fortunate to own this property and want to be good stewards while it is in our care.

R: What does the future of Texas look like for you?

C & R: We feel good about the environmental future of Texas. The drought conditions and the impact on groundwater and vegetation over the past few years have been a concern; yet historically, the Hill Country has persevered under these conditions. the landowners we know here are very sensitive to impacts for any activity on their property. We are members of the Pedernales Watershed Landowners Association. This group has a large number of members with a shared goal of protecting the ecosystems of the Pedernales River.

R: Why did you decide to partner with the TLC to conserve Sandylands?

C & R: We wanted to preserve and improve the land and a conservation easement was a perfect way to accomplish these goals. The easement process was totally positive for us. We have enjoyed our association with the Texas Land Conservancy and all of the people who have supported us by providing valuable information and guidance as we work to improve the conditions for our native plants and wildlife.

Sandylands River Cropped

 

OCNP volunteers2

October 12, 2014

During the first week of October TLC stewardship staff along with the help of some wonderful Dallas Off-Road Bicycle Association (DORBA) volunteers installed kiosks and trail signs at Oak Cliff Nature Preserve. TLC is dedicated to providing local communities an enjoyable and safe experience on our Preserves. We have been actively working to improve user experiences at Oak Cliff Nature Preserve through a multi-step improvement plan. In 2012, as phase one of the project, we installed a crushed gravel parking lot  to create safer parking spaces. Phase two involved providing users with trail maps and directional signage. During phase three we will install a fence along Pierce Street, the eastern boundary of the preserve.

One of the larger urban green spaces in the DFW metro area, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve provides users with 7.25 miles of multi-use trails. These trails were created and are maintained by DORBA volunteers. We recently installed informational kiosks which briefly share the history of the preserve and the mission of TLC. A second panel depicts a trail map with color coded trails and brief descriptions of their difficulty level for mountain bike users. The second panel can be found at the two main entrances, one is located in the main parking lot and the second at the corner of Sanger and Pierce streets. Additionally, trail markers have been are still be installed along the trails. Trail markers occur every ¼ mile along the trail with a coordinating colored dot.

Thank you for your patience and input as we continue to strive in providing the best experience possible at Oak Cliff Nature Preserve. Get outside, go check it out and tell us what you think!

Leigh and Daniel at Signs OCNP

TLC staff, board members, and supporters gathered in Dallas June 6 & 7 to protect a true gem, Oak Cliff Nature Preserve, in participation with the 22nd Annual National Trails Day. We eased into the weekend with an evening of cocktails and conversation at BarBelmont on Friday night. On Saturday, volunteers dedicated their morning to cutting branches, picking up trash, mowing, and more on the 8 miles of trails within the preserve. The success of the day was totally dependent upon our very willing (and, might we add, cheerful!) volunteers and the use of a dumpster donated by Waste Management - thank you, thank you! Our volunteers were treated to delicious KIND bars during the work day and cooled off at the end with popsicles from Pop Star Handcrafted Popsicles. Our thanks to both of these businesses for their continued support!

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We had such a wonderful time hiking with a nice group of outdoor enthusiasts this past Saturday at Los Rincones. In case you haven't brushed up on your Spanish, Los Rincones means "the corners," which is a reference to the boxed canyons we were able to see first hand this weekend! It was a beautiful day with fairly mild temperatures and there were so many plants, trees (and a few flowers) to learn about. Thanks to Daniel Dietz, TLC Stewardship Director, for leading both hikes and thanks to everyone who joined us! It was great getting to know all of you a little and we look forward to seeing you at the next one!

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Protecting the Nature of Texas
In the spring of 2012, filmmaker Ben Hamilton travelled around the state to capture TLC's conservation work. Along the way he met three landowners who have chosen to conserve their land with TLC. Hear their heartfelt stories of Texas heritage and love for the land and enjoy spring wildflowers, sweeping vistas and bright Texas stars in this moving nine-minute tribute to the work of Texas Land Conservancy.

The Future of Texas
Another great take on the work we do here at Texas Land Conservancy- be among the first to view our brand new short film by the talented Ben Hamilton of Pioneer Videography. If you would like to support protecting land all over our amazing state click here to make a charitable contribution today! Our work is only made possible by generous donations from people like you.

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TLC Bounty Poster cropped for webTake a look back at the events that we participated in or hosted in 2013. It was a great year full of work days, fundraising, and fun.   
 

 

Cover of annual reportHelp support the work of Texas Land Conservancy and join conservation successes like this: In 2012 alone, TLC was able to complete five projects totaling 3,524 acres. Combined that’s more than three times larger than White Rock Lake Park in Dallas and eight times larger than Hermann Park in Houston! The demand for water by our state’s growing population will be a tremendous challenge we will continue to face in the coming decades. Fortunately, conserving land makes a big impact on the future water quality and quantity in our state. Join us today.

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  1. Cattle & Conservation in the Hill Country

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