Big Bend Conservation Alliance appoints Shelley Bernstein as executive director

Photo by Lesley Villarreal

BIG BEND — Big Bend Conservation Alliance (BBCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Shelley Bernstein as executive director. Bernstein comes to BBCA with experience in nonprofit leadership, audience engagement, community organizing, partnership development, and fundraising through previous work at the Brooklyn Museum and the Barnes Foundation.

Bernstein has been a resident of Marfa since 2018. During her time here, she’s helped contribute to Presidio County’s mass gathering permit application; a document which gives the county the ability to systematically assess the safety and environmental impact of proposed large events. She founded Marfa Steps Up, a volunteer group assisting Marfa during the pandemic, which raised $135,000 for relief with initiatives designed to keep the funds cycling back into the community through spending and employment. She has participated in the Complete Count Committee, helping the region with the Census 2020 count; the Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) committee, which seeks to bring Marfa and Presidio leadership together to explore joint opportunities for economic development; and was one of many locals who participated in the revision of Marfa’s animal ordinance.

Bernstein first came to the Big Bend at the age of 8 when her dad took her to a Texas Star Party in 1982. “He explained about the light pollution in Houston, where I grew up, and the benefits of the dark skies where we were headed.” She’s excited to be living in the region and working with the Big Bend Conservation Alliance helping to expand efforts in the alliance’s program areas: land, water, dark skies and cultural resources. “Shelley’s passion for the local community and our region, combined with her experience in nonprofit leadership, made her an ideal candidate,” said BBCA Board President, Adeline Fox.

Big Bend Conservation Alliance works to conserve the living heritage and unique natural and cultural resources of the greater Big Bend region of Texas. BBCA envisions a thriving and resilient Big Bend region built on the legacy of stewardship to ensure the region remains one of the last great unspoiled places.


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