This is a story that began 115 years ago. The year was 1899 when two young women, Ceclie Seixas aged 15 and Estelle Hertford aged 23, were inspired into action and started the first Audubon chapter in Texas, six years prior to the incorporation of the National Audubon Society in New York. These women and their peers were courageously standing in opposition to the harmful practice of taking waterbirds and water fowl for their feathers in order to make ornamental hats and clothing, a prolific fashion trend of the time. The demand for bird plumage had reached proportions that were rapidly wiping out the populations of 40 different species of colonial waterbirds along the gulf coast in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. A few years prior in 1886, the price of bird plumage was selling for $32 per ounce, more than twice the price of gold. A single auction house in London sold 1,608 packets of heron feathers that year, featuring 48,240 feathers that represented the destruction of over 200,000 birds. A national ban on this popular practice was established by the activism and courage of women who inspired a movement of bird and wildlife conservation that endures today.
To honor the roots of Audubon and the courage of conservation pioneers, 115 years later Audubon Texas has proudly created the Texas Women in Conservation Program which includes the annual Audubon Texas Women in Conservation Luncheon featuring the Terry Hershey Awards, and Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women. The program recognizes outstanding women leaders in today's conservation movement throughout the Lone Star State, and supports opportunities in Texas for girls and women to become more involved in conservation and environmental sciences, plus engages women on important issues related to conservation in Texas.
A Program for the Future
Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women
The program is designed to engage girls in the unique issues pertaining to conservation in Texas through events and outings throughout the year. In a tiered format where programs build in intensity and depth, girls will participate in hands-on programs at Trinity River Audubon Center (Dallas), Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center (Cedar Hill), and Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (San Antonio), as well as extensive field experiences in nearby natural resource areas to study prevailing challenges and conservation opportunities with a specific focus on water, air, and habitat protection. The program will culminate in a citizen science camp as a capstone experience an overnight camping trip to give young women the opportunity to learn outdoor education from Audubon Texas educators, with additional training from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This program will be managed at no cost to the participating young women.
This element of the Texas Women in Conservation Program is designed to further reinforce the importance of programs that focus on advancing young womens’ participation in sciences as a priority in organizations throughout the state. Due to the generosity and dedication of our donors, this program is managed at no cost to the participants.