Involving East Austin Communities in Blair Woods Habitat Protection
Nancy Manning wants to help shape the future of conservation in Central Texas. Since taking the helm of Travis Audubon Society four years ago, Nancy has transformed the once all-volunteer organization into a highly organized conservation force.
As a result of her efforts, Travis Audubon Society has received TogetherGreen grants every year since 2008, enabling her to launch a multi-year restoration and education project at Blair Woods, a 10-acre sanctuary in the under-served community of East Austin.
For her Toyota TogetherGreen fellowship, Nancy set out translate conservation messages that often resonate only with a select few into messages that resonate with more of the local community. The Blair Woods community is home to a growing, and thriving, Hispanic population. Nancy saw great potential in these neighbors, some of whom have come out to help remove invasive plants at the site. Nancy collected neighborhood vegetation and drainage data, developed educational materials, made neighborhood contacts and organized on-site educational events to make a long-lasting connection with the community so that they feel a sense of ownership and pride around protecting the Blair Woods habitat.
Through her project, Nancy has helped Blair Woods become a place for neighbors to engage in stewardship, raise awareness of how they can manage their own nearby properties for habitat and species protection, and prevent the spread of invasive species.