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TPWD News Release — April 27, 2017

Lone Star Land Stewards: Bringing Back the Best of Texas

AUSTIN – They restore vital woods and waters, help bring back diverse wildlife ranging from rare species to popular game animals, share their knowledge with neighbors, and open their gates to youth groups and researchers. They are recipients of the 2017 Lone Star Land Steward Awards, bestowed each year by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the nonprofit Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

On May 18 at the Four Seasons hotel in Austin, award recipients representing six ecologically diverse regions of the state will be recognized. Also during the annual banquet, the prestigious Leopold Conservation Award, the highest honor awarded in the program, will also be presented by the Sand County Foundation.

Started in 1996 by the TPWD Private Lands Advisory Committee, the Lone Star Land Steward Awards recognize the important role private landowners play in the future of Texas’ natural resources by honoring them for their accomplishments in habitat management and wildlife conservation. Because more than 94 percent of Texas lands are privately owned or operated, private landowners are the key to effective habitat management across the state. Since the program’s inception 21 years ago, over 200 landowners have been honored for conserving more than three million acres of fish and wildlife habitat.

“This year we will recognize properties around the state ranging in size from over 26,000 acres down to 50,” said Justin Dreibelbis, director of TPWD’s Private Lands and Public Hunting program. “These landowners and managers come from different backgrounds but what they all have in common is a love for the land and a desire to make it the best functioning system that it can be.  The clean air, water, food and fiber that come from these properties is important to all Texans and we are honored to be able to recognize this group of land stewards for their efforts.”

Following is a list of this year’s award recipients, with points describing their achievements.

Blackland Prairie – Brown Ranch, Fayette County

Mark Brown, owner

Edwards Plateau – Three Mile Creek Ranch, Gillespie County

Kim Bergman and Pam Mabry Bergman, owners

Cross Timbers & Prairies – Solana Ranch, Bell & Williamson Counties

Michaux Family, owners

Pineywoods – Arcadia, Shelby County

Greg Grant, owner

South Texas – Harris Ranch, Uvalde and Kinney Counties

Mike Harris, owner

John Sewell, manager

Trans-Pecos – El Carmen Land & Conservation Co., LLC, Brewster County

CEMEX USA and J. Austin Ranches, owners

Billy Pat and Bonnie McKinney, managers

Rolling Plains – Wild Wings Ranch, Scurry County

Rod and Mary Hench, owners

The Lone Star Land Steward Awards program relies on partners and sponsors for its continued success. Toyota is the presenting sponsor for the 2017 awards, with major sponsors that include Silver Eagle Distributors, Apache Corporation, Colorado River Land Trust, the Lower Colorado River Authority Creekside Conservation Program, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife program. Other sponsors include 4K Land and Cattle Co., Advanced Ecology, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Capital Farm Credit, Ducks Unlimited, Earth Day Texas, East Foundation, Ann and Tom Kelsey, Land of America & LAND Magazines, Llano Springs Ranch, Ltd., National Wild Turkey Federation Texas State Chapter, Oncor Electric Delivery, Sarco Creek Ranch, Simms Creek Wildlife Association, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas A&M Forest Service, Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources & Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas Dove Hunters Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Land Trust Council, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Texas Wildlife Association, Trinity River Authority of Texas, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Wildlife Consultants, LLC.