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TPWD News Release — Feb. 14, 2005

Land Trust Conference Set for Feb. 24-26 in Austin

AUSTIN, Texas – At a population of 20 million and growing, Texans are building more roads, buildings and houses and as land disappears, open lands preservation and wildlife habitat conservation become increasingly important.

In recent years, Texas land trust organizations have fought to conserve more than a million acres of land throughout Texas. To help ensure that this legacy continues, the 2005 Statewide Land Trust Conference, which takes place here Feb. 24-26, will facilitate discussion about critical issues facing these organizations and their conservation efforts.

Common Ground: Conserving Texas Forever is hosted by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Land Trust Council. The conference begins with an all-day intensive workshop on strategic business planning led by nationally renowned land trust and non-profit organizational consultant Marc Smiley. Smiley will also host a plenary on the future of non-profit land trust organizations and their role in long-term conservation.

“Never has it been more important to look at the sustainability of these organizations and their work,” said Robert L. Cook, TPWD executive director. “Particularly in Texas, there is an increasing need for individuals, non-profits, governments, and others to work collaboratively to assure that resources (water, air, land, wildlife, etc.) meet the needs of a growing and diverse population.”

Carolyn Vogel, Texas Land Trust program coordinator at TPWD, said that the attendees would hear a “living room” conversation with land trust movement leaders and then choose from 15 workshops about how to increase their land conservation effectiveness.

There will be a ‘Conservation Success Stories’ session on the final day, as well as an expanded conservation economics lesson, a popular event at the 2004 conference.

“We Texans are proud of our rivers and streams, farms and their produce, parks and islands of urban green, back country roads, a view ‘as far as the eye can see,’ a heritage of taking care of our lands,” Vogel said. “Today we are faced with challenges to maintaining and sustaining this heritage. Organizations composed of local citizens concerned about this way of life understand that conservation is a business: the business of providing for the future health of the planet.”

The conference will be at the Marriott – Austin Airport South. Registration is $115. Continuing education units for attorneys, appraisers and range managers are available. To register or request more information, contact Carolyn Vogel at (512) 389-4779.