2016 Conservation Award Hero Valarie Bristol


Few have done more to shape the environmental agenda in Central Texas than Valarie Bristol. Valarie was born in Bryan, Texas, raised in Nacogdoches and is a University of Texas alumna. She received her law degree from the University and practiced law with Bickerstaff Heath and Smiley before being elected Travis County Commissioner in 1991. She was instrumental in establishing the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve (BCP).

The creation of the BCP is now recognized as a truly visionary plan that has been pivotal in protecting our water quality, conserving endangered species, and providing open spaces for public use. The BCP’s over 30,000 acres preserves not only wildlife but also a way of life for Austin and Travis County residents. The plan represents a creative community-based solution that allows for land development to occur in western Travis County while protecting endangered species habitat through mitigation measures.

Valarie went on to become the Director for Texas, Trust for Public Land from 2001 to 2004 and served as Director for External Affairs for The Nature Conservancy of Texas from 2004 to 2008. Valarie’s community involvement also sets her apart. She has been active in a number of non-profits and served on the Board of Trustees for the Eanes ISD from 1985 to 1987 and served as President, Texas Land Trust Council from 2004 to 2006. Most recently she was President of the Board of Travis Audubon from 2008 to 2012.