| Leopold Conservation Award presented to Cook's Branch Conservancy|
The transformation of a clear-cut, overgrazed working ranch into Cook’s Branch Conservancy a century later has earned a prominent Texas family the 2012 Leopold Conservation Award, the state’s highest honor recognizing habitat management and wildlife conservation on private land.
Operated as a program of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Cook’s Branch Conservancy is located on 5,650 acres in Montgomery County north of Houston. The property offers a rare glimpse into what a century of regeneration looks like in the Pineywoods region of East Texas.
The Leopold award is conferred each year by Sand County Foundation, an international non-profit organization devoted to private land conservation, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) as part of its Lone Star Land Steward Awards program. In Texas, the Leopold award is sponsored by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Silver Eagle Distributors and the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation.
“The Mitchell family’s commitment to restore and enhance the land, water and wildlife in their care demonstrates that Aldo Leopold’s philosophy of land management is still vibrant in Texas,” said Brent Haglund, PhD, Sand County Foundation president. “Their determined, innovative approach to private lands conservation is exemplary.”
Businessman and philanthropist George P. Mitchell and his family accepted the Leopold crystal award and a check for $10,000 at the annual Lone Star Land Steward Awards dinner in Austin on May 22. Read more ...
Photo credit: Earl Nottingham, Texas Parks & Wildlife
Sand County Foundation is a private, non-profit conservation group dedicated to working with private landowners to improve habitat on their land. Sand County’s mission is to advance the use of ethical and scientifically sound land management practices and partnerships for the benefit of people and their rural landscapes. Sand County Foundation works with private landowners because the majority of the nation’s fish, wildlife, and natural resources are found on private lands. The organization backs local champions, invests in civil society and places incentives before regulation to create solutions that ensure and grow. The organization encourages the exercise of private responsibility in the pursuit of improved land health as an essential alternative to many of the commonly used strategies in modern conservation.TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE
At Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, our mission is to manage and conserve the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. We seek to balance outdoor recreation with conservation as we achieve greater self-sufficiency.
On one hand, we must manage and protect our natural and cultural resources. At the same time, we must generate increased revenue by adding value through more and better public services. We affirm that a culturally diverse, well-trained staff will best achieve this balance. And we must never forget, not in the haste of business, nor in the pride of science, that the outdoors should above all be a source of joy! Providing outdoor experiences, whereby young minds form values, will be our greatest contribution to the future.
The Leopold Conservation Award in Texas is made possible through the generous support of: