Top photo: Bill Lende (left) signs agreement as Robert Gracy observes
Bottom photo: Gracy on the Cibolo Preserve property
(Photos by Mark McClendon)
UTSA selected for Cibolo Preserve research projects
By Marianne McBride Lewis
Director of Public Affairs
(Oct. 10, 2008)--The University of Texas at San Antonio and Cibolo Preserve, a nonprofit private operating foundation, entered into a memorandum of agreement this month giving UTSA faculty and students access to the preserve's 500-acre outdoor laboratory in Boerne.
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Cibolo Preserve was created by San Antonio philanthropist Bill Lende, the longtime proprietor of Herff Falls Ranch. The property, adjacent in part to Cibolo Nature Center, includes a Great Blue Heron rookery, a fern bank, a fossilized rudist reef and a waterfall within the 1.5 miles of Cibolo Creek that traverse the acreage.
UTSA Vice President for Research Robert Gracy and Lende officiated at a signing ceremony that confirmed a newfound research relationship in areas of environmental sustainability, in particular water resource management, archeology, biology, geology and climate change.
Lende has been a supporter of UTSA for many years, and said it has always been his intention to retain the most sensitive environmental portion of the former Herff Falls Ranch in its natural state.
"I've watched UTSA grow and blossom to the point of now aspiring to be a research university," he said. "I saw this as a preservation, research and education partnership and a perfect fit for UTSA to address issues we are all concerned about."
The memorandum of agreement grants UTSA access to the land for five years with renewable terms.
"UTSA is immensely grateful for this exceptional research opportunity," said Gracy. "The possibilities for study in the sciences, engineering, and across other areas are absolutely staggering."
"To have an outdoor laboratory for field work just 20 minutes from the 1604 Campus is an ideal situation for bridging classroom learning and applied knowledge," said Gracy. "We truly look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Cibolo Preserve, as together, we work towards becoming the next great Texas university."
UTSA and the Office of Vice President for Research will work with Cibolo Preserve trustees to present suggested projects for research and learning and will begin studying on site in spring 2009.