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Keeping It Wild

TPW Foundation has raised $65 million so far in its campaign to help Texas parks, wildlife and wardens.          

By Lydia Saldaña

In March 2014, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation launched a fundraising campaign with an ambitious goal: to raise more than $100 million for strategic conservation priorities by 2018. In just over a year, Keeping It Wild: The Campaign for Texas has raised more than $65 million in private funds.

The campaign is the biggest project yet undertaken by the foundation. Created in 1991 to help support the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s efforts to conserve our state’s wild things and wild places, the foundation leverages private philanthropy to address the most critical conservation needs and opportunities.

Keeping It Wild is the result of careful collaboration with TPWD leadership and is organized around priorities tied to TPWD’s Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan. By strategically supporting these priorities with private funding, the foundation and TPWD can complete projects that will benefit all Texans, as well as our wild things and wild places for generations to come.

“The projects to be funded through this campaign are truly transformational,” says Dan Friedkin, TPW Commission chairman emeritus and campaign chairman. “They span every corner of the state and will address the most pressing conservation and outdoor recreation priorities in Texas.”

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One of these priorities is strategic land acquisition across the state. Projects include purchasing new sites, such as the August 2014 acquisition of Powderhorn Ranch along the coast, as well as acquiring land adjacent to current TPWD holdings to expand state parks and wildlife management areas. Funding secured for land acquisitions through the Keeping It Wild campaign will allow TPWD to take advantage of opportunities to invest in irreplaceable wildlife habitat and recreational lands for the benefit of all Texans.

Another campaign priority is to provide public access to undeveloped sites such as Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, west of Fort Worth (see Page 30). With more than 80 percent of Texans living in urban areas, the need for easy access to state parks and quality outdoor experiences is a critical issue for millions of Texans. Funding in this area will create more opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation near the busy urban centers in our state.

In addition, the foundation will raise funds to support species and habitat restoration projects that affect iconic Texas fish and wildlife, including pronghorn, bobwhite quail and Guadalupe bass. These creatures, along with many other species, run the risk of disappearing from their historic ranges without habitat restoration and management efforts.

Finally, campaign funds will be invested at the Game Warden Training Center, ensuring that Texas game wardens can maintain their longstanding legacy of excellence in protecting the natural resources and people of Texas. Game wardens stationed throughout the state serve as first responders in many rural areas and provide critical assistance during natural disasters and other emergencies.

“This initiative is the biggest conservation fundraising campaign in Texas history,” says Mark Bivins, who serves on the executive committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation board of trustees and is campaign vice chairman. “It’s gratifying to be involved in this comprehensive effort that will have such a positive impact on the landscape of Texas.”

If you would like to make a contribution to Keeping It Wild: The Campaign for Texas, please visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation website at tpwf.org or contact Executive Director Anne Brown at (214) 720-1478.

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