It was New Student Conference at Texas A&M the summer before my freshman year. Accompanying me was my grandfather, class of ’69, part of the class that experienced women on campus for the first time, and the most influential person in my life. Growing up, he read Brer Rabbit stories to me in the evenings and fixed my admiration for dark leather dress boots, breezy live oaks, and an ear for Spanish and bass vocals in chapel on Sundays. He taught me what I know about land stewardship and what it means to be proud of our heritage.
He’s a brisk walker and probably about as excited as—if not more than—I was to find Rudder Tower and our first session of the day. He stopped short of the door, looking at the directives we’d been given, glancing at the major I declared, orienting himself with the building. He’d asked me several months earlier why I chose landscape architecture, and I explained how much I liked the idea of working with nature, and to be honest, I loved the idea of tucking rolled schematics under my arm and building something beautiful. Green and unaware as I was, he introduced me to an architect during spring break to acquaint me with the practice and profession. Maybe to his dismay, it didn’t sway me away from the idea.
“What about your writing and public speaking? You’ve spent years achieving honors and scholarships for something you truly enjoy. Is that not what you want to continue to be a part of anymore?” he broke his silence in a soft tone, knowing that I also learned how to be stubborn under his watch.
We changed my major that day at a long table with a maroon tablecloth in between sessions and I started school a month later as an Agricultural Communications and Journalism student. His wisdom at that moment, and the lineage of educators before us, put me on the trajectory that I was probably always supposed to be on anyway.
I continued to write and learn through the mentorship of many brilliant and generous people how to connect with people who also wanted to build and nurture something beautiful. I grew a reputation over the last decade as a professional storyteller who can translate science into works you want to remember, and my passion for conservation is palpable, I’ve been told.
A significant part of my story will always be that I’m a landowner and I come from the seven generations of land stewards before me, who looked out over the same rolling hill country that we are so fortunate to do now. Of course, their view was different from mine today, and my kids will see a different view in their lifetime as the land is changed to support our growing population with more roads and rooftops.
And that’s why I’m here.
This podcast is many years in the making, but finding our voice in this space is, too. I am grateful for the sphere of influence around us, for the leadership at the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute who saw potential in this idea, and for our audiences who are eager to lean into the topics and relatable conversations to come.
I’m honored to host The Land Steward Podcast for you and for the thought leaders listed on our editorial calendar whose wisdom we look forward to bringing to your ears in the coming months. We have two episodes published for you now and we’re eager to hear what you think.
Join us when you can and we invite you to share your headphones or dashboard time with others who also care about healthy working lands, wildlife and the stories of collaboration and creativity that make room for resilience.
Until then, a hat tip from us to you and we’ll talk soon.