Laura Bush’s Nonprofit Looking to Recognize ‘Transformative Conservation Projects’

Through its TxN Certification program, Texan By Nature will highlight efforts that are "benefiting the state’s people, prosperity, and natural resources."

Texan by nature Executive Director Joni-Carswell and founder Laura Bush

A nonprofit founded by former First Lady Laura Bush launched a program this week to honor conservation projects in Texas.

Bush founded Texan by Nature in 2011 to raise the profile and spur investment in conservation efforts in the state. Just this month, the nonprofit announced a new partnership with Houston Methodist and Texas A&M University to open the Center for Health and Nature, which is dedicated to health and nature research and education, according to Texas A&M Today

Through its TxN Certification program, it will recognize efforts that are “benefiting the state’s people, prosperity, and natural resources,” according to the nonprofit.

“By recognizing the groups and individuals on the front lines of Texas conservation, we help catalyze efforts, increasing positive impact.” 

Joni Carswell

“The people and the land are what make Texas great. When they are working in harmony, everyone benefits,” Bush says on the nonprofit’s website.

TxN grew out of the nonprofit’s Monarch Wrangler program, which recognized pollinator habitat creation. The new program broadens the eligible projects to encompass all species, land, and water, Joni Carswell, executive director of Texan by Nature, told Dallas Innovates. Projects must be measurable, target natural resource conservation, integrate community involvement if possible, and of course, be Texan-led.

“Conservation leaders are all around us in Texas, from the business owner reducing operational waste output to the neighbor running a community garden,” Carswell said in a statement. “By recognizing the groups and individuals on the front lines of Texas conservation, we help catalyze efforts, increasing positive impact.”

The application process is ongoing, and civic groups, businesses, and landowners can submit their project for consideration at any time. 

Carswell said Texan By Nature has already received interest from North Texas-tied projects including Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center’s Water University program, which focuses on watershed planning, water use efficiency, and water quality through research and events.

Previous projects recognized through the Monarch Wrangler program also will receive TxN Certification, Carswell said. In North Texas, that would include Klyde Warren Park and George W. Bush Elementary School.

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