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Catching Up with Lara Huffman, State Director for the Nature Conservancy of Texas

Laura HuffmanProtecting diverse landscapes is a Texas-sized challenge - Q&A With Continental Magazine

By: Chris Warren

AUSTIN, Texas-- Sept. 17, 2010-- Growing up, Laura Huffman spent many family vacations experiencing the beauty of state parks across the U.S., including several in her home state of Texas. She didn't know it then, but those trips helped prepare the Austin native for her current job as state director for the Nature Conservancy of Texas. Founded in 1951, the Nature Conservancy is charged with protecting the world's most precious and ecologically sensitive landscapes.


Q: Texas is thought to have lots of wide-open space. True?

A: The reality is that Texas has a diverse set of landscapes, which most people don't realize. We have deserts and forests, mountains and mesas, oceans, grasslands, and fresh water in all of our rivers and streams.


Q: Does the notion that Texas has a lot of open land make your work more difficult?

A: Part of the dynamic in Texas is that we're a successful state, which means that people are moving to Texas. Ultimately, that's putting pressure on the state's water supply, so we're very focused on trying to find a balance between protecting the quality and quantity of the water that runs through our rivers and streams and making sure there is enough fresh water to fuel the economy and the growth of Texas. It's a challenge.


Q: How Supportive are Texans of your work?

A: We work all the time with families to protect large ranches, but the reality is that Texans have a deep connection to our natural heritage and making sure it's protected. Our diversity of landscapes is something Texans relate to. Talk to almost anyone and they have really strong ties to whatever place they grew up in Texas.


Copyright 2010 Continental Magazine