About Us

CONSERVATION LEADERS IN EVERY COMMUNITY.

Texas Brigades is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization with a mission to educate and empower adolescents with leadership skills and knowledge in wildlife, fisheries, and land stewardship to become conservation ambassadors for a sustained natural resource legacy.
Texas Brigades provides a combination of educational programs, including its popular 5-day summer camps, its advanced Wildlife Intensive Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.) program and single-day programs, Texas Brigades Experiences.
Summer Camps

Texas Brigades hosts 8 leadership camps, founded on a variety of wildlife and natural resource principles. Camps offer 5 days of concentrated curriculum, ranging from the various breakdowns of wildlife habitat & land management principles, to leadership, public speaking, and team-building. All camps provide various participant resources and materials, all field & classroom curriculum needs, as well as lodging, meals, and safety needs. Target age range is 13-17 years. In 2020, Texas Brigades awarded over 35 college scholarships totaling over $40,000. Click to apply for a summer camp!

Wildlife Intensive Leadership Development (W.I.L.D.)

W.I.L.D. was created to further develop participants’ knowledge of wildlife and natural resource conservation. W.I.L.D. is an advanced program, engaging and exposing participants to natural resource policies and procedures, hands-on field research and data, career-building, and professionalism. Target age range is 18-23.

Experiences

These single-day programs allow Texas Brigades to engage more youth across the state, while opening up the target age range from 9-17, dependent on the curriculum. By partnering with volunteers and like-minded organizations, Experiences provide hands-on learning environments, which place youth outdoors, working to inspire their passion for Texas’ natural resources and the outdoors.

History

Dr. Dale Rollins, retired Extension Wildlife Specialist with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, developed the idea as a way to expand educational efforts by developing wildlife ambassadors.
Bobwhite Brigade, dba Texas Brigades started in 1993 as a single youth camp focused on the ecology of bobwhite quail.  In 28 years, it has expanded to include additional programming in pursuit of furthering wildlife and natural resource conservation education, strengthening leadership development, and reaching a more diverse background of Texas’ youth.
As the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” To that end, the Texas Brigades Summer Camps model has been used to develop programs in five other states through collaborations with Quail Unlimited. Buckskin Brigade was used as the base model for Pennsylvania Bucktails. The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society models its own summer camp (initiated in 1996) after Texas Brigades.

Today

Texas has lost 2.2 million acres of native landscapes due to population growth and urbanization. Home to seven of the 15 fastest growing cities in the U.S., Texas’ population has increased over 48% in the last decade alone. With this mass urbanization, less than 1% of Texans are landowners and there’s a diminished connection to nature for urban youth. The majority of landowners are aging, and over the next 20 years, Texas will undergo the largest intergenerational transfer of land in its history.

This profound demographic shift along with the diminished nature connection requires engaging and educating a new generation of conservation leaders to ensure the natural resources and native landscapes our economy depends on are protected. With a vision to create “conservation leaders in every community,” Texas Brigades provides a solution to ensure that land stewardship and conservation are a long-term priority, for urban and rural backgrounds alike.

Texas Brigades provides educational programming and leadership development for adolescents through three conservation-driven, statewide programs: Summer Camps, Experiences, and Wildlife Intensive Leadership Development (W.I.L.D). Through these programs, Texas Brigades molds over 300 youth leaders each year, with participants coming from over 1,000 communities across Texas. Participants leave with a connection to the land, informed and ready to make conservation a life-long passion.

Impacts

  • 3,800+ cadets educated and inspired in conservation and leadership
  • 1,000+ communities positively impacted by Texas Brigades
  • Increased conservation efforts and understanding through 8 natural resource and wildlife-focused educational camps, including coastal ecology and fisheries, freshwater ecology and fisheries, sustainable beef production, as well as ecology and habitat for bobwhite quail, white-tailed deer, and waterfowl
  • $40,000 in college scholarships annually awarded to young conservation ambassadors

Texas Brigades Board of Directors

Jon Taggart Board President Burgundy Pasture Beef
Charriss York Board Vice President, Governance Committee Chair Texas A&M Agrilife Extension
Bryan Jones Board Secretary/Treasurer, Finance Committee Chair Texas Wildlife Association
Whitney Klenzendorf Board Director, Development Committee Chair Texas Public Policy Foundation
Blaise Korzekwa Board Director, Program Committee Chair Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Steven Bardin Board Director Texas Pro Lake Management
Warren Blesh Board Director RRR Ranch
Rose Cooper Board Director Public Educator
Anson Howard Board Director Uhl, Fitzsimons, Jewett, Burton & Wolff, PLLC
Phil McKinney Board Director Phillip A. McKinney & Associates
Ron McNamara Board Director First Principles Economics, LLC
Jennifer Neuhaus Board Director Mull Drilling Company, Inc.
Jeff Petter Board Director Resource & Land Management, Inc.
Robert Zearfoss Board Director Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU)

Texas Brigades Past Presidents

Mike Petter Immediate Past President Resource & Land Management
Larry Pierce Past President Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Rory Burroughs Past President Comprehensive Land Management
Ken Cearley Past President Texas Agriculture Land Trust
Dr. Bill Eikenhorst Past President Creekside Veterinary Service
Dr. Dale Rollins Past President Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Texas Brigades Staff

Natalie Wolff Executive Director