Conservation meets celebration at Austin City Limits festival


Jarrid Denman

Rick Kostecke, lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy, observes the 4,084-acre Barton Creek Habitat Preserve on Tuesday afternoon.  This will be the Conservancy’s fourth year tabling at ACL in an effort to attract a younger and diverse audience.

Jarrid Denman | Daily Texan Staff

From West Texas to the Rio Grande Valley and from the High Plains to the vast expanses of East Texas, The Nature Conservancy has left an indelible mark on Texas. 

The conservancy, a solution-oriented, science-based organization, is dedicated to protecting nature and conserving land and water in various regions worldwide. Ranked as one of the world’s most ethical companies in 2013 by the Ethisphere Institute, the conservancy is an honest worker in the conservation space, according to Barbara Laing, director of marketing and communications at The Nature Conservancy. 

For the past three years, the conservancy has had a booth at Austin City Limits where staff members inform visitors about the conservancy’s mission and work.

“We get thousands of people at the festival who turn up at our booth, wanting to know more about the conservancy,” Laing said. “We want more people to be involved. There is something in nature for everyone.” 

The Nature Conservancy has been involved in all 50 states and more than 35 countries worldwide. In Austin, the conservancy works to maintain the Barton Creek Habitat Preserve. Its work in the preserve exists to protect the water quality of the Barton Creek watershed, which in turn protects the quality of the water that recharges the popular swimming hole at Barton Springs.

Across the street from Barton Springs is Zilker Park, where Rick Kostecke, associate director of conservation research and planning, said the The Nature Conservancy will have a booth during both weekends of this year’s festival.

“Staff, including myself, will be at the booth to talk to folks and provide information about TNC’s mission and our work here in Texas — everything from freshwater to Gulf of Mexico to land protection,” Kostecke said.

Kostecke also said having a booth at ACL gives the conservancy the opportunity to interact with a younger and more diverse audience — an audience that they would not have been able to reach by other, more traditional means. 

“Hopefully, some of the people we meet will become interested in our work and … long-term supporters of TNC,” Kostecke said. “At the least, we hope they come away better informed about the importance of conservation. Nature is worth saving, not only for its own sake, but because it has a profound impact on all of our lives. Conservation is often viewed as a luxury, but we consider it to be a necessity.”