San Antonio, Texas
Julie Kelleher Stacy’s affection for rural Texas was cultivated in the rugged expanse of Brewster County and the limestone hills of Kendall County.
“I was reared in San Antonio, but we spent every Sunday at the ranch in Kendall County,” Julie said. “We spent every summer in far West Texas.” The Brewster County ranch was founded in the late 1880s by Julie’s great-grandfather, who lived in a dugout on the bank of creek, while he homesteaded. The Kendall County ranch was purchased by her grandmother in the 1947.
While Julie enjoyed “dual citizenship” in urban and rural Texas, her love of the land prompted her to earn a range science degree from Texas A&M University. Today, in addition to helping manage the family’s ranches, she is an active volunteer in conservation efforts in San Antonio and across the state. She serves on the boards of both TALT and the Texas Nature Conservancy Land Trust.
“When you understand how all of the ecological pieces fit together, it makes you want to protect the land wherever you can,” she said. “Take the soil for example, if you lose the soil, you’ve just about lost everything. Because of the ag-focus of TALT, we understand how important all aspects of the natural world are to the well-being of land – and to society.”
TALT is not reinventing the wheel, she said, but offering an ag-focused complement to other land trusts.
“Every land trust has a goal,” Julie said. “At TALT, our goal is keeping agricultural lands producing food, fiber and habitat, instead of being broken into ranchitos that don’t offer a lot of conservation value. At TALT, we consider properties, such as cropland, that other land trusts wouldn’t because we understand it’s to keep land healthy and working. Our conservation standards certainly aren’t lower, but they are different.”