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Honorary Host Committee Co-Chairs

Victor Emanuel & the Honorable Sarah Eckhardt


Valarie Bristol, Oskar & Frances Cerbins, Elizabeth Crook, Michelle Cutrer & Richard Whittington, the Hon. Lloyd & Dr. Libby Doggett, Cina Forgason, Stephen Harrigan, the Hon. Karen Huber, Caroline C. Jones, Paul & Georgean Kyle, Lehman Associates/Jan Lehman, Mary Kelly & Richard Lowerre, Jeffrey & Katherine Mundy, Dr. Andrew & Nona Sansom, Pete & Frances Schenkkan, The Hon. Joe & Julie Straus, David Todd, Jean & Bob Warneke, Joe Bill Watkins , Jo Wilson & Carol Bennett, Paul Woodruff & Lucia Norton Woodruff, Lawrence & Roberta Wright


Conservation Hero of 2015 — Bob Ayres

Bob Ayres, Travis Audubon’s Conservation Hero for 2015, will be honored at the Victor Emanuel Conservation Award luncheon and live auction on October 17 at the Austin Country Club.

Bob Ayres and his family have been involved with conservation issues in Texas for many years. Their involvement centers on the Shield Ranch, which lies just west of Austin in the Barton Creek watershed. In 1998, the family placed most of the 6,800-acre ranch under a conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy and the City of Austin. This action means the ranch and its rich ecology will be preserved forever.

A key activity at Shield Ranch is El Ranchito, a summer program which hosts 90 children, grades 4 through 12, in Nature Discovery and Conservation Corps camps. The program partners with El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission and Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center and focuses on young people whose families often lack opportunities to explore nature outside the urban environment. The children live in tents and experience both grade-level and joint programs to develop a relationship with nature that will serve them for a lifetime. The program gives all campers outdoor gear such as boots and hydration packs. 2015 will be the ninth season for the program, which also features tours at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center and horseback riding hosted by a neighboring ranch.

Bob has been involved with the land trust community since the 1990s. When developing the Shield Ranch easements with The Nature Conservancy, he attended a national conference and has been engaged since. Bob was a founding member of the Board of the Hill Country Conservancy, a member of the Texas Board of The Nature Conservancy, and was on the Advisory Board at the launch of the Texas Land Trust Council. He served on a Mayor’s Task force, as a landowner representative, during the creation of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. In 2011, he served on a Travis County groundwater stakeholders’ group.

Currently, Bob serves on the Board of Directors of the Land Trust Alliance, as well as the advisory boards of the Texas Land Trust Council and Hill Country Alliance. He is a Trustee of the ShieldAyres Foundation, whose funding interests include conservation and environmental issues.

The award luncheon will include remarks by Bob and a live auction to raise funds for Travis Audubon’s conservation and education programs.

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