Henry Willard (Bill) Lende, Jr.
December 29, 1937 – September 9, 2016
Bill Lende had the foresight to establish the Cibolo Preserve in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. It protects and preserves his former ranch, now 645 acres in size, with one and one-half miles of the Cibolo Creek flowing through it. When Bill first acquired the Kendall County property in 1981, dead cypress trees lined the creek and Ashe juniper covered most of the rest. Through his stewardship, the ranch activities evolved over time from initial cattle raising, to a vineyard, to axis deer harvesting, and finally to plant nurturing. When a wildlife biologist told Bill that he had had no tree regrowth in 25 years, he realized something had to change. Now the Cibolo Preserve is a place that truly protects nature through research. It is a model for how private land can be protected and preserved.
Set aside for research projects on nature, the Cibolo Preserve has seen more than 50 projects successfully conducted since its creation. So that the human footprint is minimized, access to the Preserve is limited to those conducting research. Major research partners include the University of Texas at San Antonio College of Sciences. UTSA graduate students have conducted studies in geology, botany, water quality, small mammals and aquatic wildlife. Their scientific studies are building on the data they are collecting.
Located next door to the Preserve, the Cibolo Center for Conservation additionally conducts citizen science research, including the long-run monitoring of the Great Blue Heron Rookery, as well as surveys of winter prairie birds and waterfowl. Volunteers can sign up for research projects through the Cibolo Center for Conservation: https://www.cibolo.org/difference/volunteer.html
Other environmental research partners include the San Antonio River Authority, Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
To find out more about this forward-thinking environmentalist who established the Cibolo Preserve, read Bill Lende’s obituary here.