Audubon Conservation Ranching (ACR) has been going strong in Texas. In July, the National Audubon Society named Thomas Schroeder, of Abilene, the senior partnerships manager for Audubon Conservation Ranching. Schroeder, previously the Audubon Conservation Ranching program manager for Texas and Oklahoma, will now be leading the programs nationwide effort to create partnerships with ranchers and brands. In his wake are more than 20 ranches that have become Audubon Certified bird-friendly, reaching more than 87,000 acres.
Nowadays, ACR has 3 more Texas ranches in the certification process, set to increase our impact on bird habitat by over 118,100 acres. In the past 3 months, multiple opportunities for outreach and recruitment have emerged.
In July, ACR was honored to attend the Texas Wildlife Association’s annual private lands summit and convention. Highlights from the weekend include excellent presentations on the latest research in wildlife conservation as well as conversations with partners including Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, American Bird Conservancy, Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture, Quail Forever, Wildlife Habitat Federation, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation.
In August, ACR presented at the Statewide Quail Symposium in Abilene. This bi-annual event by the Rolling Plains Quail Research Foundation brings together 200+ landowners, managers, and partners for a summit on current quail research and habitat management opportunities. August also marked the first meeting of the Texas Audubon Conservation Ranching Advisory Committee, a gathering of 11 conservation professionals from all backgrounds focused on guiding ACR partnership efforts in Texas. The committee had a productive initial conversation and gave ACR valuable feedback for tactics in Texas. They will continue to support ACR each quarter, tackling many issues in the realm of conservation delivery and its barriers.
ACR is excited for what’s on the horizon! In 2024, a new landowner toolkit will be announced. This toolkit is an interactive webpage of the Audubon Texas website designed to help landowners navigate the plethora of Federal, State, and private conservation assistance opportunities. Users will also be able to explore resources for learning about their property and participating in stewardship events. Stay tuned for announcements in early 2024 regarding the Landowner Toolkit Launch. Looking forward, ACR will be focused on increasing ranch recruitment and outreach efforts in Texas, focusing on partnership development in areas of critical bird habitat.