Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bamberger Ranch Preserve on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered"

"Realtors were trying to show me places with landing strips and big fancy houses, and I said, 'You got me all wrong. I'm not interested in this kind of stuff. I want something nobody else wants. I want something that has been so beat up, so neglected.'"--J. David Bamberger
After turns as both a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman and a fried chicken tycoon, J. David Bamberger bought what he describes as "the sorriest piece of land in Blanco County" and began his decades-long effort to restore the ecological balance of his 5,500-acre ranch, Selah.

On the Tuesday edition of the nationally aired National Public Radio show "All Things Considered," Bamberger talked about the transformation of his land -- from the time he spent tossing "$5 handfuls" of grass seed into the wind from the back of his tractor to organizing dozens of landowners to plant the highly endangered Texas snowbell tree.

Bamberger's work recently earned him the state's highest voluntary land stewardship award. He and his ranch property are also the subjects of Water from Stone: The Story of Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve, by Jeffrey Greene (Texas A&M University Press, 2007).

Now, an excerpt from the segment on "All Things Considered:"

"If some Texas millionaires buy hill country property to build 20,000-square-foot homes, private runways and swimming pools that would make a Roman emperor blush, Bamberger is role-modeling a different way to show off. . .

If you think it's all good and well for a wealthy scion to restore his little piece of Texas hill country paradise but that it's beyond the means of the average landowner, Bamberger and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department want you to stop making excuses.

'You don't need a bulldozer. You need a chainsaw, wheelbarrow, axes, hand tools, and a lot of friends coming out from time to time, and a little time,' Bamberger says. "You can buy used equipment -- don't waste your money on new -- and you can accomplish on your property what I've done here.'"

Listen to the full segment here:

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