Stories in Texas

The Making of a Million

A pond surrounded by trees and towering plateaus is illuminated by fireflies and stars.

Celebrating the protection of 1 million acres in Texas.

Protecting the Lone Star State Twilight falls at Independence Creek Preserve in West Texas. © Kenny Braun

The Making of a Million (7:07) TNC has now protected 1 million acres of land across the Lone Star State. Yet, our work is far from over, and the choices we make now will have resounding impacts far beyond our borders for centuries and generations to come.

The Nature Conservancy has been conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends since 1964 in Texas. For 60 years, we've worked collaboratively across the state to ensure that our treasured landscapes, rivers, wildlife and ways of life don’t fade into Texas lore and legend. Our conservation initiatives are also addressing the challenges posed by a changing climate, habitat loss and increasing pressure on natural resources. Together, these efforts have helped protect many of the places cherished by Texans for generations, from the Davis Mountains of West Texas to the limestone caves of the Hill Country to the towering pineywoods in the East.

Thanks to the help of countless partners and supporters, we’ve hit a momentous milestone: the protection of 1 million acres in Texas—and in a state where 95% of land is privately owned, that's a big deal.

1 Million Acres

The Nature Conservancy in Texas

  • Graphic icon of a river lined with trees.


    We've assisted partners and agencies in preserving 458,000 acres of land across Texas, including 34 Texas state and national parks.

  • Graphic icon of trees protected by a surrounding fence.


    TNC owns and manages 37 nature preserves and properties in Texas, equaling 108,000 acres of stewarded lands and waters.

  • Graphic icon of two hands in a handshake.


    We've worked with landowners, ranchers and farmers to safeguard 434,000 acres through conservation easements.

Not Just a Number

How big is a million acres, you may wonder? Three times the size of the city of San Antonio, larger still than the city of Philadelphia and even bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. But perhaps more important than the size are the thousands of plants and wildlife species, millions of acre-feet of water and hundreds of ranches, parks and scenic places now preserved for future generations of Texans. Within this mosaic of protected lands are TNC's nature preserves and properties, countless conservation easements and several iconic Texas state and national parks—all safeguarded so that people across the state can explore, enjoy or benefit from nature today.

Places We Protect

From our first 2,600-acre acquisition of native coastal prairie in 1965 to our transfer of 57,000 acres to Big Bend National Park, our conservation roots run deep. Explore many of the private and public places we've protected throughout Texas!

See all the places we protect
Brown stacked mountains rise toward a blue sky.
A man stands on the edge of a river lined with orange trees covered in moss.
A sunset reflects in a blue stream dotted with boulders as towering plateaus loom in the background.
A road lined with dense green forest.
Three women and one man stand in a plant nursery, placing green seedlings in crates from where they grow on a table.
A woman sits at the top of a rocky mountain covered in grass as numerous mountains rise and fall in the background.
Sand dunes covered in grass line blue ocean waters with white, frothy waves.
Towering limestone boulders line a pool of clear water.
Two women stand in a field of tall yellow flowers taking pictures with their phones.
A tall rounded pink boulder rises up toward a blue sky.

Our Work Has Just Begun

While it’s important to pause and commemorate this incredible accomplishment, there’s still an urgent need to do much more. We already have our sights set on big opportunities to further preserve the natural places, working lands and wildlife habitat we love. The growth of our state is inevitable, and as climate change impacts us all, we must support smarter solutions and more resilient development for the benefit of people and nature. Through innovative conservation practices, strategic partnerships and community engagement, we can continue to protect the next million acres and beyond.

Tall mountains rise behind a winding river lined with bushes and trees.
Texas Land and Water The Rio Grande runs through Big Bend National Park and serves as the international boundary between Mexico and the United States for more than 1,000 miles. © Tim Speer/TNC Photo Contest 2019