Big Bend seminar explores conservation values and strategies for the last frontier on Oct. 22

ALPINE — Residents of West Texas are invited to attend a free webinar on Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. “Conservation Values and Strategies for the Last Frontier” will feature a discussion about how the greater Big Bend area is special from both a natural resource and cultural value standpoint and what strategies can be applied to conserve these values. The seminar will feature two experts from the Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University, Dr. Louis Harveson and Billy Tarrant.

Dr. Harveson will share the regional values that were identified by the Stakeholder Advisory Group for guidance in the Respect Big Bend effort, which describe why the greater Big Bend region is unique and worth conserving. Tarrant will describe the possible tools and strategies needed to minimize the impacts that future development can bring.

“I have been so impressed with the commitment that our Stakeholder Advisory Group has shown during this process,” said Dr. Louis Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes Jr. BRI endowed director and regents’ professor of wildlife management at Sul Ross State University. “Over the last 18 months, they have spent countless hours convening, listening and sharing their ideas on conservation for the tri-county region [Brewster, Presidio and Jeff Davis counties]. They have been in the driver seat telling us what matters to them, and we have listened. Using their conservation vision, we are developing ideas and strategies to help guide the future development of the tri-county region. We’re excited to share some of these ideas during this seminar to gain broader input.”

Since 1998, Dr. Harveson has served as a faculty member at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, where his research program has focused on the conservation of natural resources on private lands. Harveson serves on numerous regional and statewide conservation committees and presently serves as second vice president of programs for Texas Wildlife Association. Harveson is a Certified Wildlife Biologist and an active member of The Wildlife Society at the national, state, and university level.

Billy Tarrant is the associate director of stewardship services at Borderlands Research Institute where his main responsibilities are coordinating local stakeholder engagement as part of the Respect Big Bend initiative and facilitating resources for landowners and conservation partners. After receiving his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in wildlife science at New Mexico State University, Billy worked for the Arizona Game and Fish Department before joining Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in 1996. He served as a district wildlife biologist for several years before moving to West Texas to accept a leadership position in 2005. Before retiring from TPWD in 2019, Billy served as a regional director where he oversaw operations of the Trans-Pecos and Panhandle Wildlife Teams. Throughout his career, he has worked effectively with partners to achieve meaningful conservation, as demonstrated by his efforts with the Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group, and the formation of the Texas Playa Conservation Initiative.

The Oct. 22 webinar is part of a seminar series designed to engage a broad constituency of Big Bend community members to better inform them on recent energy projections, potential impacts on communities and conservation values and to develop creative strategies to conserve the unique resources and communities of the region. The seminars are sponsored in part by the Respect Big Bend coalition, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Permian Basin Area Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Still Water Foundation and the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University.

Register for the Oct. 22 webinar: https://respectbigbend.org/events/conservation-values-and-strategies-for-the-last-frontier


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