Treadwell Brady Ranch Named 2006 Lone Star Land Steward

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Texas Parks and Wildlife news release 5/26/2006

MENARD, Texas -- The Treadwell Brady Ranch has been awarded the statewide Lone Star Land Steward Award and Aldo Leopold Conservation Award for Texas, the state's top honor recognizing wildlife conservation on private land.

The ranch implements all five of famed conservationist Aldo Leopold's essential tools: axe, cow, plow, fire and gun. Efforts include habitat management, erosion control, supplemental food, water and shelter for wildlife, predator control, and wildlife population surveys.

Cattle on the Treadwell Brady Ranch are managed with a light, rotational grazing regime and owners conduct prescribed burning throughout the year, burning 20-35 percent of the ranch annually. Mechanical brush control keeps undesirable invasive species in check, and six dense mesquite flats have been converted to fenced supplemental food plots for wildlife. The ranch has also made numerous water improvements that benefit wildlife.

There are low-cost hunting opportunities, and youth hunts for deer, quail and turkey are offered. The ranch also provides nature tourism activities like bird watching and trail rides.

The landowners were instrumental in the formation of the Calf Creek Prescribed Burn Co-op, which later evolved into the McCulloch County Prescribed Burn Co-op. The ranch readily helps neighbors with prescribed burns, coordinates field trips with neighbors to wildlife and range management seminars, and provides speakers at seminars.

For the second year, the Lone Star Land Steward Awards bestowed May 24 by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department gained a new cachet through association with famed ecologist Aldo Leopold and the Sand County Foundation.

The land steward awards recognize regional recipients in each Texas eco-region, plus cooperative and corporate categories, each of which received $1,000 cash awards from the foundation. The statewide award recipient also receives the Leopold Conservation Award for Texas, which includes a $10,000 cash award from the foundation.

" More people today are talking about land stewardship, which is good," said Joseph Fitzsimons, TPW Commission chairman, speaking at the awards banquet. "But I would emphasize that stewardship requires stewards. Someone's got to be out there making it happen on the ground. These families and companies are putting their time and money and heart and soul into making a difference. All Texans should be grateful."

"The next generation of environmental activists is private landowners working on lands they own and control and motivated by incentives and voluntary action, not the government and the courts," said Brent Haglund, Ph.D. and Sand County Foundation president. "Governments cannot own or control enough land to adequately protect our natural resources."

Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) is considered the father of wildlife ecology. A Wisconsin forester, he became a renowned scientist and university scholar, philosopher, and writer. Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac" remains one of the world's best-selling natural history books, recounting stories of his Wisconsin farm through a combination of poetic prose and keen observations of the natural world.

On his farm and throughout his career, Leopold championed land stewardship, calling for a new "land ethic" that values the ecological web of life, land and water. His cornerstone book "Game Management" (1933) defined the fundamental skills and techniques for managing and restoring wildlife populations.

Leopold's godson, Reed Coleman, formed the Sand County Foundation in 1965 to protect the Leopold farm from encroaching lot development along the Wisconsin River.

The original 120-acre Leopold farm's surroundings now include cooperative management of more than 1,500 acres known as the Leopold Memorial Reserve.

Based on that original private land stewardship enterprise, the foundation's mission today includes "providing public recognition of outstanding private conservation leadership and rewarding responsible stewards to inspire others by their example."

" We would like to present Leopold Conservation Awards in 10 to 15 states within the next three to five years," Haglund said. "Rather than starting from scratch in each state, we are seeking to partner with existing awards programs or events where we can lend our support."

For more information about the Lone Star Land Steward Awards, including how to nominate a property, call (512) 389-4395 or visit the TPWD Web site.

General Media Contact: Business Hours, (512) 389-4406 Additional Contacts: Tom Harvey, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (512) 389-4453; Brent Haglund, Ph.D., Sand County Foundation, (608) 663-4605, Ext. 24