FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Publication Date: April 10, 2014
Contact: David K. Langford
Phone (830) 995-2147
Texas Parks & Wildlife
Linda Campbell, Program Director
Phone (512) 389-4395
Hillingdon, Leslie, and Laurels Ranches Honored as 2014 Lone Star Land Steward Award Winners
Comfort, TX – In recognition of their dedication, education, and stellar example of land stewardship, the families of the Hillingdon (Giles Family), Leslie (Leslie Family), and Laurels (Langford Family) Ranches will be honored as the 2014 Lone Star Land Steward Award winners. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department bestows this honor through the Lone Star Land Steward Awards program recognizing those who have demonstrated dedicated stewardship of the land through excellence in wildlife and natural resource management. The program is designed to educate landowners and the public and to encourage participation in habitat conservation.
The ranches will be honored in the special category of Wildlife/Landowner Associations and Cooperatives as these landowners collectively operate the land that was originally the Hillingdon Ranch. Hillingdon Ranch was established by San Antonio architect, Alfred Giles, and began as a 13,000 acre property. As the property passed to succeeding generations, the holdings got smaller, and more family members shared a stake in the ranch. Today, dozens of Giles descendants own pieces of it, ranging in size from ten to several hundred acres. The award is a testament to the Giles decedent’s commitment to providing food, fiber, wildlife, clean air and clean water for all of us through a collective family vision of land stewardship.
David K. Langford, a great-grandson of Alfred Giles, and his wife Myrna live on the Laurels Ranch and will be among those receiving the award. Recently, David and Lorie Woodward Cantu co-authored Hillingdon Ranch: Four Season, Six Generations, published by Texas A&M University Press, 2013 (as part of the Conservation Leadership Series, sponsored by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Texas State University), depicting how the Giles family decedents, have worked together over many years to keep the Hillingdon properties intact, operating all the individually owned pieces as one cohesive unit which provides significant ecological benefits far beyond the ranch fences. In the book, David’s award-winning photography gives a breath-taking depiction of the day-to-day challenges and successes of the ranch. The stories that he and Lorie tell in the book give you an up close and personal look at life on the Hillingdon Ranch properties and the associated hardships and successes and what their commitment to land conservation and stewardship mean to the rest of us.
“The health of our natural resources depends on stewardship. And stewardship needs stewards. As our population shifts toward almost complete urbanization, keeping open spaces open and productive will become increasingly difficult. As citizens, we must recognize the contributions of places like Hillingdon Ranch and people like the Giles family to the well-being of everyone,” said David K. Langford
The collective stewardship achievements of Hillingdon, Laurels, and Leslie Ranches will be honored at a dinner and reception hosted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in Austin on May 21st.
Video produced by Texas Parks & Wildlife in honoring the Hillingdon, Leslie, and Laurels ranches.