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David Lake

David Lake is a Texas native and registered architect whose career began in 1979 at the noted San Antonio firm of Ford Powell & Carson. It was there that he met Ted Flato, and they went on to co-found the design partnership Lake/Flato in 1984. In the years since, Lake/Flato has garnered national recognition for their sustainable building practices, earning more AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Projects than any firm in the world. Their designs are known for their close integration with the surrounding landscape, prevailing breeze and solar exposure, their use of local materials and craft, and their respect for vernacular designs.

Some of their structures, such as the Prow Residence in the Davis Mountains, are entirely off-grid, providing their own water and energy. The Dixon Water Foundation Josey Pavilion, an education center designed to teach visitors about resource conservation and watershed protection, was the first Living Building Challenge certified project in Texas. Other designs have explored the savings available through prefabrication, such as the firm’s modular Porch House series.

Mr. Lake’s recent focus has been on district making and revitalizing the urban core. An example is the redevelopment of the historic Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, a project that reused salvaged materials and create a new vibrant destination in San Antonio. Another is the LEED Platinum Austin Central Library, where 85% of regularly occupied space is daylit, and 99% feature views to the outdoors. The library’s rooftop butterfly garden overlooking the neighboring Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake and the screened reading porches have helped made it a popular destination and important resource for the local community.

Bob King

Bob King has worked in the sustainable energy field for many years, with 1970s-era stints in Texas at the Governor’s Energy Advisory Council, the Railroad Commission, the Texas Energy Development Fund, and with a volunteer effort to help start the Texas Solar Energy Society. He later held paid positions out-of-state, including ones in Tennessee with the TVA’s Residential Solar Applications Branch, and in California with the Solar Energy Assurance Labeling Program, Local Government Commission, and the Public Utilities Commission Advisory Committee. He returned to Texas in 1983 to lead the Office of Natural Resources during Jim Hightower’s term as Agriculture Commissioner, and meanwhile helped start the Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association. After leaving TDA, from 1991 through 1993, Mr. King coordinated the LOAN STAR revolving loan fund in Texas, which supported energy audits and efficiency retrofits for governmental clients. During the 1993-96 period, he worked for Kenetech, helping build and connect the first commercial-scale wind farm in Texas, and in 1996-97, helped design the ERCOT wholesale electricity market for efficiency and renewable energy customers. In recent years, he has operated out of the Good Company Associates consulting firm, and has been focusing on a smart meter program to allow customers to share energy data.

Karen Hadden

Ms Hadden has served as the executive director of the SEED [Sustainable Energy and Economic Development] Coalition since 2000. Her work has focused on the intersection of energy and environmental concerns, and has included efforts to block coal plants, to reduce mercury emissions from power facilities, to warn the public about mercury-laden fish consumption, to organize opposition to the re-licensing of the Comanche Peak and South Texas nuclear power plants, to support construction of solar panel arrays, to improve energy efficiency and conservation in affordable housing, and to fight misguided proposals to transport and dispose radioactive waste. From 1980 to 1999, before beginning her work as an advocate at the SEED Coalition, she taught science to middle and high school students, leading courses in physics, biology, astronomy, anatomy, physiology and chemistry, sponsoring science clubs and fairs, and organizing field trips.

Shannon Davies

Dr. Davies holds a PhD in American Civilization from the University of Texas at Austin, and has had a career in editing and publishing books and journals, many of them about natural resource and conservation topics. She served as the Director of Texas A&M University Press, where she earlier worked as Editor-in-Chief and as the Merrick Editor for the Natural Environment. Prior to working at Texas A&M, she served as Founding Editor and Publisher of Texas Birds, a publication of the Texas Ornithological Society, as well as the Science Editor and Editorial Fellow for the University of Texas Press. In those capacities, she has worked with a number of funders and dozens of authors to bring scores of books and articles about the natural world to the public. The works have touched on a variety of conservation subjects, including water, wildlife, energy, public lands, forests, agriculture, and environmental history. She has also helped support writers through her service on the boards of two residencies for artists: the Madrono Ranch: A Center for Writing, Art, and the Environment, and the Thinking like a Mountain Foundation.

Bill Carr

Mr. Carr is a noted field botanist who has worked on plant inventories, surveys and protection efforts for Texas Parks and Wildlife (Natural Heritage Program), the Nature Conservancy of Texas, and his own firm, Acme Botanical Services. He has collected more than 37,000 plant specimens, with more than 15,000 catalogued at the herbarium at the University of Texas at Austin, to improve the understanding of plant distributions across the Southwest. As well, he was a co-author, with Jackie Poole, Jason Singhurst, and Dana Price on the reference volume, Rare Plants of Texas (Texas A&M University Press 2007), and has made contributions to a number of journals, including Lundelia, Sida, and the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

Bob Ayres

Mr. Ayres is a poet, and with his family, a landowner, philanthropist and conservationist. He studied creative writing in the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, and has published a chatbook, “Shadow of Wings”, that clearly reflects his interest and care for nature. As the managing partner for his family’s ranchlands in Real, Jeff Davis and Travis County, he has embraced conservation easements to ensure their long-time protection. He serves as a trustee of the Shield-Ayres Foundation, which has supported a number of non-profit efforts in the conservation field. He is also president and CEO of the Shield Ranch Foundation, which operates El Ranchito, a camp that exposes young people to the outdoors and environmental education on his family’s Shield Ranch near Austin. As a volunteer, he has served on the boards of the Land Trust Alliance, Nature Conservancy of Texas, and the Hill Country Conservancy.

Hal Flanders

Mr. Flanders formerly worked for AT&T and retired to Alpine, where he became known for a variety of conservation interests, ranging from his explorations of the flora and fauna of the Big Bend, to his work promoting recycling and wastewater improvement in Alpine, his efforts in green building, his opposition to radioactive waste disposal in west Texas, and his work to help organize a local Green Party chapter to speak out on these environmental themes.

Billy Pat McKinney

Mr. McKinney is a former wildlife technician who worked since the late 1960s with Texas Parks and Wildlife in the areas near Marathon, where he grew up in a ranching family. His chief work has involved reintroducing and managing the desert bighorn sheep to west Texas, which had been eliminated many years before by market hunters providing food for railroad crews working in the area. Mr. McKinney is also very experienced in tracking, capturing, radiocollaring, and monitoring mountain lions, and has extensive knowledge about their range, diet, and population dynamics (described in his book, A Field Guide to Texas Mountain Lions). In his work on both the desert bighorn sheep and mountain lion, Mr. McKinney has had an important role in maintaining good conservation cooperation with local private landowners. In more recent years, since our interview, Mr. McKinney has been managing the 136,000-acre CEMEX conservation area in the Sierra El Carmen, to the south of Big Bend National Park, in Mexico.

Bonnie McKinney

Mrs. McKinney is a field biologist who has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife throughout west Texas, focusing on monitoring and protecting cacti, bats, elf owls, peregrine falcons and other raptors, and black bear, as well as on maintaining good relations with private landowners and conducting classroom programs for children. In more recent years, since our interview, Mrs. McKinney has been wildlife coordinator for the 136,000-acre CEMEX conservation area in the Sierra El Carmen, to the south of Big Bend National Park, in Mexico. She focuses on black bear research and conservation, among other tasks.

Jim Lynch

Mr. Lynch is a farmer who grew up in California and came to Dell City in the early 1950s as one of the first to exploit the alluvial aquifer to develop agriculture in the high desert to the west of the Guadalupe Peaks National Park. In recent years, he and neighboring farmers have become concerned about El Paso’s interest in pumping and exporting local groundwater, which could exceed the recharge rate for the Dell Valley aquifer, and eliminate the agricultural community and lifestyle that has grown up there.