Backyard Gnome takes a look at Connemara

the-backyard-gnome-logoWe love it when someone talks about Connemara and our mission.

The latest comes from The Backyard Gnome, where writer Tony McLellan takes a thoughtful look at our history as well as the work we are doing today.

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Thank You for your support on North Texas Giving Day!

THANK YOU! to everyone that donated to Connemara during  North Texas Giving Day.  It was our most successful North Texas Giving Day fundraiser ever!

Your support also helped us qualify for bonus funds from the Communities Foundation of Texas. More importantly, however, your contribution will play an important role in helping us expand our work with landowners, local governments and forward-thinking developers to preserve and protect critical acres of open space and provide conservation education programs throughout North Texas.
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Connemara reintroducing Bobwhite Quail to North Texas

Connemara Bobwhite quali

Photo courtesy Chris Jackson, DFW Urban Wildlife

Chris Jackson of DFW Urban Life recently wrote about Connemara’s efforts, spearheaded by Meadow manager Bob Mione, to reintroduce the Northern Bobwhite Quail to North Texas.

Once common throughout North Texas, the Bobwhites have all but disappeared. Now Bob is leading an effort at in the Connemara Meadow along with a few other organizations to bring the Bobwhites back to Collin County.

CLICK HERE to read Chris’ story the project.

Join our Adopt An Acre campaign to protect North Texas open space

As development continues to accelerate, open space plays a more important role in protection of our water supply.

At this time of giving, it is important to remember that one of the most important gifts we can leave for future generations is access to the beauty and wonders of nature. That’s why we hope that when you are making your end of year gifts you will include the Connemara Conservancy in your plans.

There is no doubt that the dramatic growth of North Texas over the past decade has put tremendous strain on our land and our natural resources. That’s why we are working hard with landowners, local governments and forward thinking developers to identify and protect open space throughout the area that will be important to ensuring that we are able to maintain our quality of life.

But there’s so much more to our land – and our work  – than just the acres on the ground, the sunsets, the hunting trips, the summers spent at the lakes and the wild places where imaginations can still roam free.

Conserving land provides many critical, long-lasting benefits. Protecting sensitive wetlands and the lands surrounding lakes, rivers and streams from development protects floodplains and keeps polluted runoff out of drinking water. Preventing more land from being covered in concrete ensures that more of the precious little water that falls has the ability to soak into the ground and our aquifers, replenishing our water supply and reducing the chance of serious flooding.

The need for conservation is growing

Connemara currently protects more than 6,000 acres of open space. In addition, we provide access to conservation education for thousands of students each year.

But our work is far from done. The demand for our services has never been greater.

That’s why we need your help.

Connemara relies on the generosity of people like you that believe in the importance of open space and conservation education.

Preserving our heritage

We invite you to read this year’s letter from Amy Williams Monier, who founded Connemara with her mother, Frances Williams, in the early 1980s.

Letter from co-founder Amy Monier Williams.

At the time, even though their farmland was surrounded by tens of thousands of acres of open space, they knew development was one its way and it was only a matter of time before their land would be surrounded by homes and shopping centers.

That day has arrived.

By establishing the Connemara Conservancy and setting aside 72 acres of their most pristine property as the Meadow Nature Preserve to be protected and enjoyed forever, however, they made sure that every generation to come would have access to the beautiful landscape that generations of their family had enjoyed.

Now we ask you to help us continue the important work by Amy and her mother over three decades ago by visiting our contribution page and making a gift to Connemara. As Frances was fond of saying: “Remember that even the most modest gift gives grace to the giver.”

Best wishes for a Happy Holiday season and a wonderful New Year.

Connemara Conservancy Board of Trustees.
Mark Yarbrough, president
Beverly Coghlan, vice president
Sherry Englande Brown, treasurer
Bob Mione, Meadow Steering Committee chair
Ross Obermeyer
Dr. Eileen Tollett
Jim Watkins
Scott White, secretary

Click Here To Make Your Gift To Connemara

 

Connemara launches campaign to protect Monarchs, bees and other pollinators

Connemara Meadow Monarch butterflyWith support of a grant from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Connemara has joined the nationwide effort to protect and restore habitats for the Monarch butterfly, American bumblebee and other pollinators critical to our way of life.

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An early Christmas present! Congress makes tax incentives for donated conservation easements PERMANENT!

The beauty of the Rockin’ K Ranch on full display.

In a strong bipartisan action, the Senate and House voted late last week on a broad, year-end tax deal that will make the enhanced tax incentive for donations of conservation easements permanent! [Read more…]

Connemara to protect 550 acres of the Rockin’ K Ranch in Navarro County

The beauty of the Rockin’ K Ranch on full display.

The beauty of the Rockin’ K Ranch on full display.

We are excited to announce that Connemara will provide protection for 550 acres of the Rockin’ K Ranch in Corsicana thanks to a recently signed conservation easement.

The easement will protect a portion of a large family cattle ranch in perpetuity. The land within the easement will also serve as a mitigation bank, protecting the flood plain of the Chambers Creek, which has been determined to be impaired by the state environmental protection agency.

“This area has potential to serve as an environmental training venue for wetlands education, waterfowl habitat and water quality work on polluted streams,” said Ray J. Kane, whose family owns the Rockin’ K Ranch.

Connemara Conservation Director R.J. Taylor explains that we will be able to enhance water quality entering the water way by using restored tributaries and wetlands.

The signing of the easement increases the amount of land protected by  Connemara to more than 6,000 acres as both fee land holdings and under conservation easements. This means that we have more than doubled the amount of land under our protection over the past five years.

The reason for this growth is simple. The explosive rate of development throughout Texas has dramatically increased interest in land conservation. Almost daily we are contacted by landowners, local governments and even forward-thinking developers about ways to protect important remaining parts of our landscape.

We are proud that for more than three decades the Connemara Conservancy has been at the forefront of land conservation and environmental education in North Texas. We look forward to making many more announcements such as this in the near future.

Connemara Conservancy Board President Marcus Yarbrough (left), Conservation Director RJ Taylor (Center) and landowner Ray Kane at the signing of an easement that moved Connemara over the 6,000 acre mark of conserved land in North Texas.

Connemara Conservancy Board President Marcus Yarbrough (left), Conservation Director RJ Taylor (Center) and landowner Ray Kane at the signing of an easement that moved Connemara over the 6,000 acre mark of conserved land in North Texas.

Green Space, Green Infrastructure, Good Water

As development continues to accelerate, open space plays a more important role in protection of our water supply.

As development continues to accelerate, open space plays an increasingly important role in protection of our water supply.

The following article on the critical role that open space plays in protecting our water supply was provided to Connemara by Mike Bastain, vice president with CH2M Hill, a global leader in full-service consulting, design, design-build, operations and program management.

By Mike Bastian

The growing population and consequent urbanization of North Texas makes it more difficult to preserve natural areas and open space close to where we live.  And, the loss of natural lands makes it more difficult to protect our drinking water supply that the growing population needs.

Only 7% of our drinking water in the North Texas comes from groundwater and over 90% comes from surface water supply reservoirs like Benbrook, Eagle Mountain, Lavon, Lewisville, Ray Hubbard and Ray Roberts, to name a few.  Moreover, we like to live near these lakes.  They provide recreation, great views, provide a premium to our home values and a boost to local economies.

It is reasonable to be concerned that pollution in storm water runoff from the urbanizing watersheds around reservoirs will degrade the quality of the water supply. However, we can do something about it.

Land conservation (green space) and green infrastructure (constructed green space) in watersheds can help protect water quality in our reservoirs.   Both approaches work in tandem.  Conserving land in a least disturbed vegetated condition along streams, ponds, and wetlands that drain to the reservoirs is a first step.  These buffer areas filter out pollution and slow down runoff so it does not scour stream channels and carry sediments into the reservoirs.

A second step is to build development with green infrastructure that allows storm water to soak into the ground and uses biological or physical processes to remove pollutants.  Rain gardens, vegetated filter strips, permeable pavement and green roofs all help reduce the peak storm water flows that carry these pollutants through creek channels. And, like the lakes, land conservation and green infrastructure can provide recreational space, great views, a premium to our home values, and a boost to the quality life in our communities.

It is a great feeling to be in a natural place and experience the beauty of nature around you.   There is intrinsic value in the conservation of natural lands.  As land uses in North Texas continue to change from rural to suburban and urban, natural areas will become more important in protecting the quality of our water supplies.  Everyone wants plenty of good drinking water, so let’s work together to help our neighbors understand the value of land conservation for protecting the quality of our water supplies.

 

Connemara receives challenge grant from Dixon Water Foundation

The Dixon Water Foundation promotes healthy watersheds through sustainable land management to ensure that present and future generations of Texans have the water resources they need.

The Dixon Water Foundation promotes healthy watersheds through sustainable land management to ensure that present and future generations of Texans have the water resources they need.

We are very excited to announce that one of our most loyal supporters, the Dixon Water Foundation, has announced a Challenge Grant that will match up to $25,000 in new funds raised by Connemara through the end of June.

Contributions to Connemara can be made at https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/connemaraconservancy?code=connemaraconservancy.

Dixon-Water-FoundationThe challenge is in support of our efforts to help address land and water issues through conservation and education programs and kicks off our new capacity building campaign.

The Dixon Water Foundation was founded in 1994 by the late Roger Dixon and promotes healthy watersheds through sustainable land management to ensure that present and future generations of Texans have the water resources they need.

They recognize that land-use decisions being made today have a significant impact on water quality, not only now but also decades into the future.

Support of The Dixon Water Foundation helps ensure that we have the resources needed to work with landowners, developers and local governments on land conservation initiatives directly linked to protecting water quality and quantity throughout North Texas.

Robert Potts,  president of  The Dixon Water Foundation,  believes the need has never been greater for organizations such as Connemara.

“The Dixon Water Foundation is proud to support Connemara’s work because it is vital to maintaining and improving the quality of life for all North Texans,” Potts said in announcing the Challenge Grant.

North Texas is a great place to call home. It is recognized worldwide as a region that sustains its economic success and vitality because of its highly desirable communities, innovative people and varied natural assets. Yet we face a real threat to the quality of life that makes it so special. That threat is water, or a lack thereof.

The Dixon Water Foundation Grant coincides with the launch of Connemara’s “Forging Our Future for North Texas” three-year plan to improve the organization’s capacity in order to expand our pivotal role in land-use decisions and water quality matters that impact the Dallas-Fort Worth region of Texas.

You will be hearing more about this plan in the coming weeks, but its purpose is to enable us to address a concern that is top of mind and that many people are discussing, but not many people are solving. It’s going to take the partnership of the three sectors — private, public and nonprofit — to find the solutions that protect our quality of life here in North Texas, and all of Texas for that matter.

Under this plan, we will focus our efforts on:

  • protecting natural resources, especially water quality, to safeguard the future of our community;
  • educating decision-makers about the importance of land use decisions to the future of our community and economy;
  • improving health and quality of life by providing the public with opportunities to be outside;
  • stewardship of conserved land in perpetuity.

Again, to support these efforts (and double your contribution, thanks to the Dixon Water Foundation) please visit https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/connemaraconservancy?code=connemaraconservancy.

 

 

2014 was a year of growth and accomplishment

Connemara added more than 700 acres of easement land in 2014.

Connemara added more than 700 acres of easement land in 2014.

Before we get too far into 2015, let’s take a look back at some of the many accomplishments from 2014. Among the highlights:

  • We added 700 acres of conservation easement lands and 368 acres of fee lands through a donation to be completed within the next six months.
  • We added 16 acres of open space and native prairie lands to Connemara’s inventory of conserved lands, continuing our long-standing partnership with the Town of Flower Mound, Texas.
  • We added 1,772 new acres to our conservation prospect list.
  • We provided field trips to Connemara’s easement lands and presentation on CEs at state-wide Native Prairies Association of Texas symposium.
  • We presented information on conservation easements at the regional Cross Timbers Landowner Workshop in Decatur, Texas.
Connemara hosted several workshops on conservation in 2014.

Connemara hosted several workshops on conservation in 2014.

  • We hosted a land use workshop for regional municipalities, community leaders and landowners
  • Improved volunteer opportunities in Connemara’s Meadow Preserve including the establishment of a volunteer day with combined churches of Allen, a volunteer day with ADP and a Earth Day project with Experian.
  • We continued to work with local Boy Scout Troops by providing opportunities for Eagle candidates to complete their Eagle projects in the Meadow.  Eight projects were completed, which is the most Eagle projects completed in one year.
  • We recruited students from Collin College for the first time, in both the Spring and Fall semesters, to provide volunteer hours at the Meadow as part of their educational requirements.
Connemara hosted Allen'a annual EartFest celebration for the third year in a row.

Connemara hosted Allen’a annual EarthFest celebration for the third year in a row.

  • We hosted the City of Allen’s EarthFest for the third year in a row.
  • We presented the annual Into the Meadow farm-to-table dinner which sold out for the fifth year in a row.
  • We participated in EarthDay Texas for the fourth year in a row.
  • We assisted the Land Trust Alliance and the Texas Land Trust Council in an advocacy initiative supporting the land conservation tax incentive.

Looking back, 2014 was certainly one of growth and accomplishment for Connemara, but none of it would have been possible without our many supporters and forward-thinking landowners.

Thank you to everyone who made 2014 such a great year, we look forward to your continued support for an even more successful 2015.

Sandra Greenway

 

 

Site last updated December 7, 2018 @ 12:57 pm