The Nature Conservancy Presents The Meadows Foundation With The 2015 Lone Star Conservation Award

Over at the Dallas Arboretum on Wednesday, May 13, The Nature Conservancy wasn’t taking any chances. The dinner was set to be indoor at Rosine Hall to honor The Meadows Foundation for its work in conservation. Here’s a report from the field:

Approximately 325 guests arrived in spring attire in the suggested colors bluebonnet blue, khaki and white for for The Nature Conservancy’s Dallas Spring Party: Tour of Texas: Transforming Conservation in the Lone Star State. With music by country musician “Red” playing in the background, patrons mingled on the Ginsburg Plaza enjoying wine, cocktails, including the evening’s signature drinks, the Davis Mountains Prickly Pear Margarita and Sandyland Sweet Tea, and delicious hors d’oeuvres stations, themed around areas of the state preserved by the Conservancy during its 51-year history in Texas.

David and Suzanne Holl*

David and Suzanne Holl*

At 7:00 p.m., the doors opened to Rosine Hall where the dining tables were adorned with linens in bluebonnet blue and khaki with centerpieces featuring Texas flowers and greenery, such as piney greens, manzanita branch, white wax flowers, blue thistle and bear grass. As patrons enjoyed the first course of organic field greens with Dallas blue cheese, pears, spicy walnuts and dried cherry vinaigrette, David Holl, president and CEO of Mary Kay, Inc., this year’s Statewide Sponsor of The Nature Conservancy in Texas’ events, welcomed everyone and recognized members of the Texas Board of Trustees and the Dallas Advisory Board in attendance.

Bob Thornton and Linda Evans*

Bob Thornton and Linda Perryman Evans*

He then introduced Bob Thornton, an honorary trustee of the Conservancy’s Texas Board of Trustees and a longtime partner, with his wife Vera, of The Nature Conservancy in Texas, who presented the 2015 Lone Star Conservation Award to The Meadows Foundation. Accepting the award on the Foundation’s behalf, Linda Perryman Evans spoke briefly about the importance of The Nature Conservancy in Texas and The Meadows Foundation’s support of their ongoing conservation efforts throughout the state of Texas.

Dinner convened with a second course of tenderloin with wild mushroom demi-glace, crab cake with lemon aioli, whipped potatoes and grilled vegetables, followed by a dessert trio including a mini molten chocolate cake, mini crème brûlée ginger cookie and mini apple walnut torte.

Laura Huffman*

Laura Huffman*

Following dinner, Mr. Holl returned to the stage to introduce the featured speaker for the evening, Laura J. Huffman, state director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas and head of the Conservancy’s Urban Strategies Initiative. Ms. Huffman added her thanks to The Meadows Foundation for their outstanding commitment to conservation in Texas, citing areas throughout the state where their support has been instrumental, including in the Davis Mountains and in freshwater protection across the state. She also extended her gratitude to Statewide Sponsor, Mary Kay, Inc., in addition to other generous sponsors, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., Barbara and Steve Durham and the Durham Family Foundation and Trisha Wilson.

With the evening’s theme, Tour of Texas: Transforming Conservation in the Lone Star State, in mind, Ms. Huffman shared with the audience the history of the organization, as well as highlights of the agency’s successes over the last 51 years in Texas. She then spoke about challenges that lie ahead and how The Nature Conservancy, with the support of those in the room, is facing these challenges with practical solutions focused around central pillars of work: freshwater, marine, and land conservation, as well as urban initiatives.

Citing examples of successes in Texas that serve as microcosms for the entire country and a living laboratory of these pillars of work, Ms. Huffman touted successful partnerships and projects such as Powderhorn Ranch, Bracken Bat Cave and the creation of resilient cities through projects such as the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and Proposition 6.

Richard and Tracy Cheatham*

Richard and Tracy Cheatham*

As Ms. Huffman concluded her remarks with optimism on the future of Texas conservation, Mr. Holl returned to the stage to extend his thanks again to those in attendance before the evening came to a close. As patrons departed, they received a trio of postcards featuring images of some of the agency’s projects in Texas and pecans from the Fredericksburg Pecan Company.

Bruce and Emily Robson, Trisha Wilson and Jeb Terry*

Bruce and Emily Robson, Trisha Wilson and Jeb Terry*

Dallas Spring Party attendees included Richard and Tracy Cheatham, Trisha Wilson, Jeb Terry, Bobby Lyle, Barbara and Steve Durham, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Ann and Charles Kight, Susan and Jim Baldwin, Angela and Brad Cheves, Nancy and Rod Sanders, Honorable Jeanne Phillips, Beth and Paul Salvodelli, Allie Beth and Pierce Allman, Jennifer and Coley Clark, Cecilia and Garrett Boone, Emily and David Corrigan, Elizabeth Boeckman, Emily and Bruce Robson, Peggy Dear, Ann and Matt Schooler and Holly and Doug Deason.

* Photo credit: Rhi Lee

North Texas Giving Day Booster: The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy works across the Lone Star State—and around the globe—to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. To date, we have protected 840,000 acres of Texas land and nearly 250,000 acres of Texas’ coastline. Our conservation achievements have made Texas a better place to live, work and play.

Fresh water from Caroline Spring* (Photo credit: © Erika Nortemann/TNC)

Fresh water from Caroline Spring* (Photo credit: © Erika Nortemann/TNC)

“Take, for instance, freshwater. Did you know that 97% of the world’s H2O is saltwater and that another 2.5% is frozen? That leaves less than 1% to meet the water needs of the entire world’s population.

“The demands upon that drinkable “less than 1%” are growing at an alarming pace. In Texas alone, our population of 25 million will nearly double by 2060, which will put incredible pressure on our natural resources. An excerpt from the 2012 State Water Plan sums up the situation: “In serious drought conditions, Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises.”

“For millions of Texans, the ongoing drought, which began in 2011, has highlighted the importance of protecting our freshwater supplies. And The Nature Conservancy is committed to answering that call.

“Our on-the-ground conservation projects contribute directly to the health of freshwater sources across the state, including our very own Trinity River, which serves millions of residents across North Texas. Endangered grasslands, like those at our Clymer Meadow Preserve located 60 miles northeast of Dallas, are also critical to protecting the river—they act as a giant sponge, capturing the water that flows into the Trinity and filtering out pollution, sediment, and impurities. Protecting the grasslands in and around important watersheds is protecting water.

Scene near Celeste, Texas* (Photo credit:  © Lynn McBride)

Scene near Celeste, Texas* (Photo credit: © Lynn McBride)

“But to be successful, we need your help. This year, The Nature Conservancy is participating in North Texas Giving Day for the first time. Your gift on September 19 will leverage additional funding and exposure to support our work—and hopefully help us win an additional $5,000 bonus prize for the new Giving Day participant that brings in the most donors! With your gift, you’ll not only help protect the beauty of Texas, but you’ll join an exclusive group of people who are making a positive impact in all 50 states and more than 35 countries around the world. Not bad for a few minutes’ work!”

“For more information about The Nature Conservancy, contact Chelsea Carr, [email protected].”

By The Nature Conservancy of North Texas Director of Philanthropy Darrin Goldin

* Photos provided by Communities Foundation of Texas