George Bristol, of Austin, was a consultant on the Ken Burns/Dayton Duncan PBS series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. The 2009 winner of the Pugsley Medal honoring champions of parks and conservation, he was also a writer-in-residence at the Thinking Like a Mountain Foundation in Fort Davis, Texas. Bristol was also winner of the 2000 PEN Texas Literary Award for Poetry, the First Annual Texas Land & People Award (2007), the Terry Hershey Award (2008), and the Nature Conservancy of Texas Lifetime Achievement Award (2008). In 2008, he received a leadership award from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
TAMUP: What or who inspired you to write your book?
GB: The inspirational who is a list as numerous as the chapters in the book. From childhood to the present I have been blessed with people and places that added something special to the mix that is George Bristol. But, specifically I must give credit to Dick and Joanne Bartlett who set up a writer-in-residence program in the remoteness of West Texas. I was fortunate enough to be selected for a two month stent. That gave me the time to pull a number of pieces I had written over a period of time into a coherent whole with a stated goal of tying them to my work on parklands, national and state, and conservation. That was easy to do, because I have felt over time that events, mentors, places and people all contributed to my concentrated work in conservation over the past 15 years or so. What success I have had is because I was given and taught the tools to compete in any situation that called for a solid knowledge of organization, fundraising and respect for ideas of others.
TAMUP: What are you looking forward to most about being one of the 200+ authors featured at the Texas Book Festival?
GB: To be able to move freely among the many great writers who will > attend the Texas Book Festival in 2012 is gratification enough for being selected as a featured author. I have gone to most of the Festivals over the years and often longed to go up to a writer, but was thwarted by time and schedule. Now I will have many opportunities to do so and I plan to take full advantage of the situation.