Texas U.S. Senator John Cornyn needs to hear from you!

Perhaps more than in any other state, Texas prides itself on the private ownership of land.  This isn’t a state where the federal government will be coming in with a grand plan for a large National Park.

If we want to continue enjoying wide open spaces, however, and if we want our cash-strapped ranchers and farmers to be able to keep producing the food we eat, then something must happen to make sure that land conservation remains a reality here at home.

Our quality of life depends on it!

The enhanced tax incentive for land conservation is the predominant tool we have in Texas to conserve land.  We need your help to make sure it doesn’t go away.

You CAN help, and you can do it today.

The U.S. Senate leadership will soon be considering a bill that protects the charitable giving incentives that mean so much to all non-profits and makes the easement incentive for land conservation a permanent part of the tax code.   It passed in the U.S. House of Representatives with bi-partisan support!

Now is the time for Senator John Cornyn to know that this matters to you.  Only during the post-election “lame duck” session of Congress can this happen.  We only have until December 31st.

Please Contact Senator Cornyn today!  

Your message can be short and simple: “Senator Cornyn, land conservation matters to me as a resident of the great state of Texas.  Please vote “yes” in support of the easement incentive for land conservation.”

There are several ways you can make your voice heard:

Email Your Support Here:


Call his North Texas office: 972-239-1310

Call his Washington, DC office : 202-224-2934

For more information about the tax incentive and other conservation issues, contact the Land Trust Alliance at www.lta.org.


New report highlights alarming loss of land in North Texas

Rooftops2 copySocial investing in land conservation via Connemara is an investment in our region’s economy, drinking water and quality of life for the sake of ourselves and those who will live after us.

The third edition of Texas Land Trends provides information to public and private decision-makers with timely information to support the conservation of Texas working lands. It is published by the Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources every five years, following the availability of the USDA NASS Census of Agriculture data.  This year it includes an interactive website that illustrates where Texas is losing land at an alarming rate.

Would you be surprised to hear that every county that borders Tarrant County and Dallas County lost significant amounts of land due to rapid growth?  Frisco ranked 2nd as the city in Texas to lose the most to development.

The bottom line is this:  no land = no food, no quality drinking water, no quality of life in North Texas.  Connemara is here to protect those basic needs of daily survival by working with landowners on smart land use options right here in North Texas.  It’s not a matter of “will development happen.”  It’s a matter of how it’s done.

Visit www.txlandtrends.org to read more about the dramatic loss of land and its impact on all of us.


Another local government doing development right

OpenspaceA few weeks ago we highlighted a couple of forward thinking cities that are making protection of open space a part of their development strategy. Now we’d like to recognize another.

The Town of Prosper has received three major grants that will translate into additional park space as the region plans for the development heading north.

Under the Collin County Parks and Open Space Strategic Plan, the county sets aside funding for parkland acquisition projects that meet certain criteria. Cities and towns apply for these funds by proposing to use the funds for specific parks, trails and open spaces that will be used for the common good.

Prosper requested funding for the acquisition of more than 18 acres of land adjacent to the as-yet-undeveloped Cockrell Park on the Town’s northeast side.

Local officials recognized  the value of increasing the existing park by more than twice its current size and, as a result, the county agreed to award $450,000 toward the purchase of the land. Since the grant represents a little less than half the total cost of the tract, bond funds and other sources will make up the difference.

According to Hulon Webb, Prosper’s Executive Director of Development and Community Services, “The land is virtually pristine. There is a running creek within the acreage and it remains essentially in its natural state. There is still some wildlife residing in it and native plants flourish throughout the space.”

Plans for the parkland are still being developed, but a connection to Cockrell Park as well as a trail leading to Whitley Place are already envisioned.

Hopefully other communities will take Prosper’s lead in recognizing the importance of protecting open space in the face of development so their citizens can enjoy a better quality of life.



Perot Museum to feature documentary on green burial


“What if our last act could be a gift to the planet?” That’s the subject of a new documentary on green burial called A Will for the Woods to be featured Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Perot Museum in Dallas. In addition, the Texas Parks and Wildlife will be on hand to discuss conservation burial and their activities with the Green Burial Council.

Amy Martin, a  columnist for DFW GreenSource offers a thoughtful preview of the movie and you can read her commentary by clicking here.

For more details on the screening, click here.





Richardson project is example of “everyone wins!”

The recent decision by the City of Richardson to double the size of the Spring Creek Nature Area in order to protect a valuable ecosystem and preserve a site with a rich history dating back to the early pioneers is an example of how local governments, developers and conservation organizations such as Connemara can all work together to meet the needs of a growing community.

Instead of building thousands of multifamily units on the property as planned, the developer is selling the land to the city in exchange for the right to develop the units on land near a light-rail station. Everyone wins!

Click here to read the story, including Connemara Conservation Director R.J. Taylor’s comments on the project.

The urgent need to keep open spaces open


Occasionally we come across an article that is so important and inspiring that we have to share it. Such is David K. Langford’s recent guest blog for the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation on the critical role that open space plays today and will play in the future in maintaining our water supply.

“We are reaching a point in Texas where simply standing on common ground is not enough. The lives of urban and rural Texans are irreversibly intertwined,” David writes. “Whether our roots are planted in the soil or our foundations are built on concrete, we must come to understand that as the land goes, so goes the water—and life as we know it.”

We urge you to click here to read this important blog today.


Enjoy “Into The Meadow” in pictures

Photographer Skyler Fike captured all the magic of this year’s Into The Meadow celebration. Enjoy his photos and relive the memories by clicking here to go to the gallery.

Thank you for making 2014 “Into The Meadow” a huge success

ByAz5GZIYAECkZCA huge “Thank You!” to co-chairs Flo Monier and Misti Reed, the Into The Meadow committee, our sponsors and everyone who made the 2014 Into The Meadow celebration our most successful ever. It was a magical evening of fun, food and friends.

And congratulations to Lydia Watkins, who had the winning bid in our online auction for the David Garrison painting, Tree Angel.


Into The Meadow co-chairs Flo Monier (above) and Misti Reed, with husband Rob (below.)




Lydia Watkins wins online art auction


Tree Angel
Artist: David Garrison
Acrylic, 74” x 35″, 2014

Lydia Watkins of Rockwall had the winning bid for the painting, Tree Angel.

Allen artist David Garrison graciously donated this amazing painting for auction to support the mission of the Connemara Conservancy.

Tree Angel is an interpretative piece, created in acrylic, that measures 74” x 35″.




Conservation leaders gather to discuss issues facing North Texas

A huge “Thank You” to all who joined us in Allen on Friday for a daylong discussion of land conservation priorities, projects and potential partnerships that impact the North Texas region.

Led by Jack Tidwell of the North Texas Council of Governments and Carolyn Vogel of the Texas Conservation Connection, the group represented a wide cross-section of organizations, municipalities and individuals concerned about the future of the region as it relates to conservation issues.

Participants included representatives from Rockwall County Open Space Alliance, Upper Trinity Conservation Trust, Texas Parks & Wildlife, The Nature Conservancy, Trinity Trails Preservation Association, National Park Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Native Prairies Association of Texas, Rockwall Open Space Alliance, Trinity Trail Preservation Association and Shannon’s Farms. Also joining the discussion were representatives from the cities of Rowlett, Celina, Royce, Richardson, Pilot Point, Heath and Little Elm as well as various Master Naturalists.

The enthusiasm and passion of all the participants made it clear that there is a growing interest in making sure that protection of our natural resources in the face of rapid development is a top priority.






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