In this month’s issue, Texas Co-op Power contributor Melissa Gaskill celebrates the life and work of renowned conservationist, philanthropist, journalist and newspaper executive Ed Harte.
Harte, who served as vice chairman of the newspaper conglomerate Harte-Hanks and publisher of The Corpus Christi Caller-Times from 1962 to his retirement in 1987, had a passion for the national seashore, especially that of Texas. He often worked behind the scenes in supporting the preservation and research of Texas’s coastline, particularly in Corpus Christi.
In 1962, Harte successfully campaigned to designate 67 miles of Padre Island as national seashore, and in the early 1970s he was able to allocate nearly4,000 acres of Mustang Island as a state park. According to the article, Harte donated a 66,000-acre family ranch to the Nature Conservancy, which led to the land becoming part of Big Bend National Park in 1985.
Harte, a World War II veteran and Dartmouth alumni, also donated more than $70 million to various research labs, universities and environmental groups in the Corpus Christi area during his lifetime.
Harte was “effective at bringing people around to see the value of nature and [motivating] them to do something about it,” according to Texas Co-op Power Magazine.
You can read Gaskill’s full Texas Co-op Power article on Harte here.
In 2000, with a $46 million endowment, Harte established the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The TAMU Press also has published various books in partnership with the institute. Each title explores an aspect of the Gulf of Mexico, such as seashells and marine plants, ecology, geography and economic factors. The most recent book in the series Beaches of the Gulf Coast by Richard A. Davis, Jr., which is due out in March, explores the dynamics of beach formation, compares natural and man-made beach environments and profiles common marine wildlife along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.
More information on Davis’s book, as well as the other books of the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies Series, can be found here.