The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) has announced the recipients of the 2017 International Award of Excellence in Conservation. For the first time, BRIT is honoring three groups in the same year with this prestigious award: J. David Bamberger and Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve; Frank Yturria and the Frank Yturria Family Ranch; and the Texas Christian University Ranch Management Program. An award ceremony will take place on Sept. 27, 2017, at the Worthington Renaissance Hotel in Fort Worth.
“In our 30th year, we wanted to do something special,” said Ed Schneider, president and executive director of BRIT. “That’s why we decided to honor three ranch-related organizations at the same time. Their dedication to conservation has literally changed the landscape of Texas and has inspired and educated new generations of ranch managers on the concepts of restoration, biodiversity, and sustainability.”
BRIT’s 2017 Conservation Award honorees:
J. David Bamberger has been restoring the habitat of his 5,500-acre ranch Selah for the past 48 years, which is one of the largest habitat restoration projects in the state. Through struggles of invasive plants and neglected landscape, Bamberger persisted and has now created a habitat that contains ponds and lakes, a healthy population of all the Texas Hill Country wildlife and currently 213 species of birds including two endangered species: the Golden-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo. The award-winning Bamberger Ranch Preserve is a modern success story of habitat restoration combined with educational opportunities for students and other landowners.
Rooted in the deep south of Texas, The Frank Yturria Family Ranch has placed 10,000 acres into wildlife conservation easements for the protection of the endangered ocelot cat and the Aplomado falcon, as well as other native wildlife. Today, an estimated 80 to 100 ocelots thrive on the ranch and reproduction is increasing every year. Frank Yturria’s dedication and partnership with the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service for Nature Conservation is responsible for this turnaround in wildlife conservation. Yturria is a graduate of Texas A&M and a veteran of World War II and Korea.
The Texas Christian University Ranch Management Program has been preparing students since 1956 on how to thoughtfully and properly manage a broad range of resources, while also improving them. The curriculum offers ecologically and economically conscientious training to students who are pursuing a career in the agriculture business. Students graduate with the knowledge of how to be responsible land stewards.
More information on the Gala can be found on BRIT’s website at http://www.brit.org/events/annual-event.