Conservation History Association of Texas
The Conservation History Association of Texas is a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation created for research and education about environmental events and protection efforts in the state.
Its purpose is threefold:
- To recognize the contributions of individuals to the protection of natural resources and public health in Texas
- To build a first-hand understanding of the grassroots environmental movement in the state
- To educate the public about the state's conservation needs, tools and opportunities, with the hope that a new generation will carry on this important work.
The association's method focuses on conducting and collecting oral history interviews with veteran environmentalists in Texas, transcribing and logging those interviews, extracting shorter video documentaries from them, tagging them with links to related maps and keywords, and sharing them in live, printed and electronic media for the public to use.
Interview topics include agriculture, air quality, climate, energy, fishery issues, habitat protection, legislation, mining, public health, solid waste, water supply, wildlife management, worker safety, and many other concerns.
The discussions are based on conversations with veteran environmentalists including attorneys, farmers, politicians, ranchers, scientists, and citizen activists, with different political perspectives, educational training, and socio-economic backgrounds.
The interviews in the association's collection have been taped in more than 60 communities, ranging from large metropolitan areas such as Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio and Austin, as well as small towns such as Sierra Blanca, Rio Grande City, Jasper, and Canadian, and in that sense, touching on the issues of intensely developed, industrialized cities, and affecting sparsely-settled, agriculturally based areas.
The represented communities are found in all eleven ecoregions of the state, including the Trans Pecos of far west Texas, the high plains of the Panhandle, the Big Thicket of deep east Texas, and the Brush Country of the southern portion of the state, and so the discussions reflect the local industrial, population, and biological concerns of those areas.
Based on these conversations, the association has assembled an archive of 225 interviews with leading conservationists in the state, consisting of over 400 hours of videotape, backed up by 17,000 pages of transcript, indexed by a 14,000-line, 15-variable database, and correlated with 70 lesson plans.
Excerpts from individual interviews, and combined, theme-oriented, collections of interviews have been edited and presented as 230 video documentaries, in lengths of 3 to 45 minutes, and illustrated with landscape and wildlife video shot by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The association's hard-copy materials, including tapes, photographs, printed transcripts, and other artifacts, are archived at the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas.
Most of the association's resources are also posted on the web. With assistance from the Briscoe Center and the School of Information at the University of Texas, the on-line materials have been presented as rich media. Rich media allows interleaving tagged video with related transcripts, keyword-driven tables of contents, and maps.
Materials are available for access and use by the public subject to Creative Commons conditions.
- Cappielllo, Dina. "Legacy of the land." Houston Chronicle. April 20, 2003, E1.
- Carmody, Kevin. "Environmental pioneers putting their stories on video." Austin American-Statesman. September 3, 2001, B1.
- Tilley, Kim. "Environmental heroes." Texas Parks and Wildlife. March 2002, 13
- "Texas legacy project wins award", UT School of Information News.
- Todd and Weisman, The Texas legacy project: stories of courage and conservation, Texas A&M University Press, 2010.
- Price, Asher. "Book chronicles struggles of early Texas environmentalists". Austin American-Statesman. Dec. 26, 2010.
- McWilliams, James. "They speak for the trees". The Texas Observer. April 8, 2011. Archived March 31, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- Seton, Nora. "A Texas legacy", Houston Chronicle. October 17, 2010.