The many voices of conservation

Fifty years ago, Cynthia and George Mitchell fell in love with a piece of the Texas Piney Woods that would eventually evolve into Cook’s Branch Conservancy

They were captivated by the diversity and beauty of the landscape, and spent the rest of their lives protecting this forest and fostering a deep family respect for the dynamism of the ecosystem. 

As one of the earliest voices of the sustainability movement, George was deeply committed to the symbiotic nature of conservation and economic development. Like many, he was inspired by the innovative thinking of Buckminster Fuller in the 1960s and the logic that the earth is finite while human population keeps growing. George understood profoundly that we must do more with less.

Today Cook’s Branch is a program of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation and acts as a field laboratory for the study of such things as carbon flux, drought, ecosystem transition, biodiversity, and effects of fire. The conservancy promotes conservation ethics and demonstrates the inspiring resilience of nature in perpetuity. 

Deforested and overgrazed by the early 1900s, it is now a thriving century-old forest. Fire, reseeding, replanting, restoration harvests, invasive species mitigation, and time have helped the land recover to the majestic woods and prairie lands of today. Rare birds and butterflies fill the horizon, while beetles and native plants blanket the ground. 

In 2012, the conservancy was bestowed the Leopold Conservation Award, Texas's highest award for habitat management and wildlife conservation on private land.

We have invited innovative thought leaders from differing facets of conservation to share their perspectives to celebrate fifty years of conservation at Cook’s Branch. Join us over the next several months as we explore the fascinating spectrum of conservation initiatives and the human role in preserving the natural system. We invite you to read about new science, conservation finance tools, policy opportunities, landowner perspectives, funding trends, and much more from a global community of conservationists tackling similar puzzles with wildly different tactics. 


Editor's note: This is the first in a series of posts from the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation's blogging initiative, "The Many Voices of Conservation." For updates, follow the foundation on Twitter @MitchFound.

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