We are excited to announce the hiring of Kenneth Croucher, Jr.! He is now The Frontera Land Alliance’s (Frontera) bookkeeper. Kenneth is a graduate of UTEP and a lifelong El Pasoan. He has spent the last fifteen years in the accounting field, from working as a controller to running a regional tax preparation business. He is married and has three young daughters. He’ll be taking over from Charlie Wakeem, Frontera’s treasurer/bookkeeper since 2014. (Thanks a million, Charlie, for the vast amount of work that you have done for Frontera and for land conservation in El Paso!)
During my annual trip to Bastrop, Texas, where the directors of Texas land trusts gather to collaborate and share about regional activities we learned about several federal and state initiatives that are underway to assist in funding and support for conservation. Below are two of those items.
Be informed and be sure to vote on Proposition 5: You may have heard about Proposition 5. This is the proposition whereby the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is seeking to receive what way back in 1993 the Legislature said it should get: the full amount of sporting-goods sales tax money. (What’s happened since then is that at the end of the legislative session the more powerful departments simply “take” from that money, often leaving TPWD with less than half of what it should have gotten.) Proposition 5 permanently dedicates revenue from the existing Sporting Goods Sales Tax to the TPWD and the Texas Historical Commission. This is not a new sales tax. Proposition 5 requires no new taxes or fees of any sort. But this Proposition is a constitutional amendment, so it must be approved by the voters. Please remember to vote on November 5th!
Another bill that is moving along isRecovering America’s Wildlife Act, H.R.3742. This Act represents an unprecedented opportunity to sustain the benefits of our natural world—water purification, food production, and our booming outdoor recreation industry. In Texas, outdoor recreation results in $52.6 billion in annual consumer spending and generates 411,000 jobs. The over $50 million per year in federal funds that Texas would be eligible to receive, coupled with a 25% match, would translate into new jobs, increased funding for conservation, support for habitat restoration, and numerous other benefits to Texas fish and wildlife. The great thing is that there would be NO TAX INCREASE WHATSOEVER. The money would come from existing revenues exclusively. In addition, the funds would be administered by the TPWD to fund qualified projects conducted by Texas state agencies, conservation organizations, land trusts, universities, and private landowners. Frontera could be a future partner!
Moving forward you will now read a monthly column, called The Pursuit to Discover Nature!, by Maryflor Garcia, Frontera’s Education and Volunteer Coordinator.
On the first day of October we had our first field trip to the Rio Bosque Wetlands with students from Horizon High School under the Environmental Protection Agency grant program, overseen by Insights. During this visit the students recorded the plants and the birds that they saw. They identified them from an in-class workshop and thanks to the lessons their teachers, Frontera staff, and other volunteers, had taught. Many of them saw their first frog, egret and hawk! In mid-October we hosted our second Bilingual Hike at Resler Canyon. It is great to be able to take our family/friends into Nature to learn about the desert, but also to help them feel comfortable there. Whether they’re speaking English or Spanish, all are connecting and learning to appreciate our natural environment. Late October was a very busy time! We shared—with students from Robert R. Rojas Elementary School during their annual field day—what studying in the field of environmental science or biology could lead to. The Cub Scouts Pack 72 helped collect and plant native seeds at Resler Canyon. Finally this month we took the Americas High School Art Club on a tour of the Rio Bosque Wetlands, after which they exercised their art skills by drawing and painting the many things that they saw.
Scott Cutler presented about the Frontera education program and our impact on conservation at a miniCAST where he joined many others at UTEP. Scott shared our partnership with Coronado High School regarding an active-learning program at Castner Range. Frontera show first hand through hikes and talks by experts that range from EPWU, recycle, TPWD, etc. where over 200 freshmen students learn firsthand about biology, science, culture and history of our region. Then the students go back and apply these concepts to in-class projects that connect the science, math and history.
The Frontera Land Alliance is sponsoring a Conservation Easement Workshop on Saturday, November 16 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to be hosted by Keller Williams, at Coronado Towers, 6006 N. Mesa St. and on the 11th floor. This workshop is for people who want to learn more about preserving their land (ranch, farm, or open natural areas) in perpetuity. For questions or to RSVP please email: Janae@FronteraLandAlliance.org
Rio Bosque Wetlands Park annual Bird Bash, Saturday, November 23, 2019 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The event will be hosted outside where you may participate in guided or self-guided tours of the park and enjoy meeting other conservation-related non-profits that work in the region. If you have questions please contact John Sproul at 915-747-8663.
If you shop with Amazon, don’t forget to use AmazonSmile so that each time you shop you can help Frontera conserve water, wildlife and working lands as well as natural open areas. It is a very simple program to participate in, and it will not cost you a dime. Amazon will donate part of their profit on that purchase to Frontera.
A donation to The Frontera Land Alliance will help
preserve natural spaces for future generations