2023 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration Honoring George Bristol

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2023 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration to Honor George Bristol

The Board of Directors of Travis Audubon is honored to announce that the 2023 Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Hero is the longstanding Texas parks and conservation advocate, George Bristol. Mr. Bristol has been a political organizer, lobbyist, and successful entrepreneur for more than sixty years. Appointed to the National Park Foundation board by President Bill Clinton, Bristol was prolific in his efforts to fundraise and raise the public profile of America’s extraordinary parks. Seeing what he had accomplished on a national level, Bristol later returned to Texas to improve its state parks, which were in dire need of public funding. Forming the Texas Coalition for Conservation, he fought for increased support for Texas state parks by leading a decades-long campaign to permanently dedicate the Sporting Goods Tax to fund state and local parks and historic sites. Texas voters approved this constitutional amendment in 2019.

A Texas native, George’s mother moved him and his younger brother to Austin in the early 1950s. His mother was a teacher and librarian who instilled in him a love of nature. His passion for parks began while he was a student at The University of Texas at Austin and spent the summers of 1961 and 1962 working on the trail crew at Glacier National Park in Montana.

George is the author of Glacier National Park: A Culmination of Giants; his autobiography, Politics and Parks; and the recently published Texas State Parks: The First One Hundred Years, 1923-2023. He also served two terms as Board Chair of Audubon Texas and currently sits on the Board of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge.

“Celebrating Mr. Bristol in the same year that we mark the centennial of the Texas state parks system could not be more perfectly timed! We are thrilled to shine a light on all that he has done to protect our beloved Texas parks as places for both people and wildlife to thrive,” said Travis Audubon Executive Director, Nicole Netherton.

We will host our 14th annual Victor Emanuel Conservation Award Celebration on the evening of Thursday, October 12, 2023, at The Junior League of Austin’s Community Impact Center, 5330 Bluffstone Lane, Austin, TX, 78759. Reception begins at 5:30 pm and dinner will be served at 6:30 pm. We hope you will join us for the festivities. 

About Travis Audubon:

As an independent chapter of the National Audubon Society, Travis Audubon promotes the enjoyment, understanding, and conservation of native birds through inclusive environmental education, habitat protection, restoration, and management, and conservation advocacy. Travis Audubon manages four wildlife sanctuaries in the Austin area, including protected habitat for the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. Since 1952, Travis Audubon and its members have recognized the importance of protecting the ecological balance necessary for healthy, sustainable, and habitable communities, both for people and wildlife.Get involved and learn more at www.travisaudubon.org and follow on Facebook and Twitter @TravisAudubon, and Instagram @TravisAudubonSociety.

Committee Honorary Chairs

Victor Emanuel & Dr. Andrew Sansom

Committee Chairs

Jennifer Bristol & Vera Ayres Bowen

Thank you to our sponsors!

Palo Duro


Dobbs Run Ranch
Peggy and Matt Winkler

McKinney Falls

Mother Neff


Karen Bartoletti
The Bristol-Nilles Family
Joe Christie
Friends of Blair Woods
Gone Pishing
Alice and Chris Gunter
Maura Powers and Scott McCown
Carol Ray
Nona and Dr. Andrew Sansom
Spicewood Ranch – Chris Harte
Travis Audubon Master Birders
Jo Wilson and Carol Bennett

A/V Sponsor

The Bamberger Foundation

Beverage Sponsors

Favor Sponsor

Former Recipients

Camp El Ranchito
Nature-immersion Summer Camp & Education Program

Greg Lasley
Photographer & Naturalist

Shelia Hargis

Chris Harte

George Cofer
Founding Chief Executive Officer, Hill Country Conservancy

Mickey Burleson
Prairie Conservationist

Valarie Bristol
Former Travis County Commissioner

Bob Ayres
Trustee, Shield-Ayres Foundation

Georgean Kyle and Paul Kyle
Chaetura Canyon Stewards

David Bamberger
President, Bamberger Ranch Preserve

Carter Smith
Executive Director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Andrew Sansom
Executive Director, the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University-San Marcos

Victor Emanuel
President, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours