2017 Terry Hershey Award Honorees
Chief Executive Officer,
Texas Agricultural Land Trust
Blair Fitzsimons serves as chief executive officer of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust, (TALT) a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of agricultural lands, wildlife habitats and natural resources in Texas. Founded in 2007, TALT today holds conservation easements on over 226,000 acres of working lands throughout Texas. Previously, Fitzsimons spearheaded the legislative effort to establish a Purchase of Development Rights program in Texas while she was with American Farmland Trust. She also worked with the Texas A&M Institute for Renewable Natural Resources to create a database documenting rural land loss and trends in Texas. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Land Trust Alliance and as an agriculture representative on the Region L water planning group. Prior to her work with land conservation, Fitzsimons ran the day-to-day operations for her family’s San Pedro Ranch, a recipient of the 2016 Lone Star Land Steward award from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Conservationist & Philanthropist
Karen Hixon is dedicated to the conservation of the natural and cultural resources of Texas and beyond. She served a six-year term on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, and was a member of the board of directors for The Nature Conservancy of Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Hixon currently serves on the board of directors for the Peregrine Fund and the Texas Agricultural Land Trust Foundation. She also has a long history of supporting the arts in San Antonio and Fort Worth, currently serving as the president of the board of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth and as a trustee of the San Antonio Museum of Art, formerly the board chairman of that organization. She is also a former docent and docent chair at the San Antonio Zoo and is currently a member of the board of directors of Hixon Properties Incorporated in San Antonio.
Board Member, Edwards Aquifer Authority Board of Directors
Susan Hughes’s passion for the natural resources of central Texas have inspired and informed her conservation accomplishments. Elected to the Edwards Aquifer Authority Board at its inception in 1996, she chairs the Research and Technology Committee and served as vice chair of the board from 2008 to 2017. Hughes also represented environmental interests on the Region L water planning group. She co-founded Sustainable San Antonio, which successfully advocated for dedicating a portion of local sales-tax revenue for aquifer protection, conserving more than 140,000 acres so far. On the Mission Trails Oversight Committee Hughes provided an environmental perspective for remediation of this San Antonio River project. She was executive director of Green Spaces Alliance of South Texas and served on National Audubon, Audubon Texas, and Bexar Audubon Society’s boards. Under Bexar Audubon’s umbrella, she helped form Natural Initiatives, predecessor of the Master Naturalist organization, now with a national presence, and the South Texas Farm and Range Forum, fostering dialog among rural landowners and urban conservationists.
Environmentalist & Community Advocate
Ruth Lofgren has dedicated her life to education, the environment, and making her community a better place. She earned her PhD in microbiology in 1944 and was a professor in New York City until her retirement four decades ago, when she moved to San Antonio. Lofgren then turned her time and attention to her new hometown and was the guiding force in the creation of the Mitchell Lake Wetlands Society to educate children in environmental science. Her dedication to that effort led to the founding of the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in 2004. Lofgren has worked with many San Antonio organizations including the Junior League, San Antonio Audubon Society, Bexar Audubon Society, League of Women Voters and the Alamo Area Council of Governments, which honored her with a lifetime achievement award. She also made the initial contribution to the San Antonio Area Foundation Women and Girls Development Fund. In her 100th year, Lofgren continues to inspire those around her.
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