Founded in 1981 by Frances Williams and her daughter, Amy Monier, as one the first land trusts in Texas, the Connemara Conservancy has been at the forefront of land conservation and environmental education in Texas for more than three decades.
The vision of the Connemara Conservancy Foundation is to be a nationally recognized leader in the protection and conservation of open space and critical habitats in order to improve the quality of life for current and future generations.
Our mission is to preserve, restore, and maintain the Connemara Meadow Nature Preserve as a natural space open to the public, suitable for native plants and animal species, and an example of thriving Blackland Prairie and woodland habitats.
Ahead of her time, in the mid-1970s Frances became concerned that her family’s farmland on the border of Allen and Plano was in jeopardy of succumbing to urban sprawl moving north from Dallas. When lights of a new Plano football stadium were erected within sight of the family’s farm, Frances realized that development was inevitable. As growth from Dallas surged north and consumed more and more of the Texas landscape, she knew future generations would have less and less access to open spaces.
One day a young child visiting the family farm came running up with a pecan in its hull and asked, “what is this?” Frances decided that if a child was growing up in Texas and did not know what a pecan in its hull looks like, it was time to act.
Long a conservationist and political activist, Frances felt that it was her responsibility to preserve, for the public good, at least some of the land that had given her family so much pleasure. With her daughter, Amy, she began researching ways to preserve and protect the land.
Frances considered a number of options including creating an outdoor performing arts center. After traveling throughout the United States to study what others had done in similar situations they decided to establish one of the state’s first land trusts.
In December 1981, Frances established the Connemara Conservancy with a gift of 72 acres of family land along Rowlett Creek with the following overarching directive, thus protecting it in perpetuity.
"The Meadow shall be perpetually preserved and maintained as an open meadow in such fashion to be pleasant and agreeable for people. It is to be maintained as an open space and no permanent structures shall be built or erected upon it."
Friends and acquaintances considered it a strange decision. With Montgomery Farm surrounded by thousands of acres of open farmland, they questioned why Frances would make such a decision. But Frances knew better.
In order to attract “city folk” to enjoy the country, Frances and Amy organized sculpture shows, concerts, and other events on the Connemara Meadow. People came from across North Texas to enjoy the open spaces of Connemara.
From that beginning, Connemara grew to become one of the state’s recognized leaders in land conservation and environmental education. Decades later people young and old continue to visit the 72-acre Meadow – attracted to an oasis of beauty and serenity in the midst of suburban sprawl where they can be at one with nature. Just as Frances had envisioned they would.