284 Chapters
Medium 9781603446938

Part 5 Honing to a Fine Edge

Rudolph A. Rosen Texas A&M University Press ePub

No verbal abuse was too strong for her to direct at staff or volunteers. The highly placed officer of the nonprofit organization didn’t really care who was offended. This officer even boasted of her lack of tact. A small corps of people seemed to gain personal benefit in the organization under her shadow, but others were demonized.

Staff or volunteers who did anything the officer didn’t like became the subject of attack. In any conversation she was all knowing. Anyone with real knowledge quickly learned to shut up. She knew just enough to sound like she knew what she was talking about, until you listened long enough to realize she really didn’t.

None of that may have mattered if it wasn’t that this officer also drove away volunteers, donors, and staff. How much her inappropriate actions cost the organization in lost volunteers and investment in staff is hard to say. It’s hard to believe some organizations tolerate such toxic influences, but they do. This is not a story about one person. In my time serving nonprofit organizations, I have met several of these venomous people. They have been shes and hes, officers, spouses of officers, and members of the board. Such people persist in influencing nonprofit organizations because the leadership of nonprofits often function much like a family, with members establishing close, long-term relationships with each other. Families tolerate, forgive, and often turn a blind eye to their dysfunctional members. Many nonprofit organizations do, too, large, small, and in between.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781623490140

15. Infinite Harm: If We Fail

Paul Walden Hansen Texas A&M University Press ePub


Infinite Harm

If We Fail

In myriad ways humanity is linked to the millions of other species on the planet. What concerns them, concerns us. The more we ignore our common health and welfare, the greater are the many threats to our own species. The better we understand and the more we rationally manage our relationship to the rest of life, the greater the guarantee of our own safety and quality of life.

—Edward O. Wilson, Harvard professor, Pulitzer Prize winner

Conservation is a test. If we pass we might get to keep the planet.

—Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Florida conservationist

MANY OF THE EARTH’S most distinguished scientists are pessimistic that we humans have any long-term future at all. “Natural systems that support economies, lives and livelihoods across the planet are at risk of rapid degradation and collapse, unless there is swift, radical and creative action to conserve and sustainably use the variety of life on Earth.” That is the principal conclusion of the 2010 Global Biodiversity Outlook, produced by the United Nation’s Environment Program. The report confirms that the world has failed to meet its target to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss. It highlights the fact that outreach and engagement are the keys to success: “A key lesson from the failure to meet the 2010 biodiversity target is that the urgency of a change of direction must be conveyed to decision makers beyond the constituency so far involved in the biodiversity convention.” In other words, outreach is key.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781623491109

27. The Future of the Sense of Place

Margaret Lewis Furse Texas A&M University Press ePub

Chapter 27


While my brother’s daily occupations after World War II were centered on the ranch and in Bay City, mine stretched from the family center—to college, working in a Houston bank, graduate school and teaching, and then to sharing the life of my husband and our four children in places that work prescribed. Holidays brought our family together again and to the Ranch House. Aunt Sister told me that she never once, in all her life, spent Christmas away from home and family. After college when I showed signs of wanting to work eighty miles away in Houston, she sighed in deep disappointment. How could there be a satisfaction elsewhere greater than the satisfaction of home? The ties with one another that threaded through the same beloved place knitted together the generations and connected scattered cousins of the same generation.

For several years the operations of the Hawkins Ranch edged toward the perimeter of my attention. After undergraduate years at the University of Texas, I moved to Houston and found myself in a swirl of young professionals. I met Austen Furse. “Furse,” he explained (and the explanation charmed me), “is that thorny bush in Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native, but Hardy spells it with a z or ‘zed,’ as the English say.” He was a young lawyer, Yale English major, football player, and Air Force veteran of World War II; and he had grown up in a small Texas town, as I had. We married in 1955.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603446938

Part 1 Learning the Basics

Rudolph A. Rosen Texas A&M University Press ePub

I recently attended an auction-event fundraiser where I was told a story similar to many I had heard before. An executive director of a nonprofit organization told me of a colleague in charge of an annual auction event that typically raises about $125,000. The organization holding the event was small, so $125,000 in event revenue sounded like a successful event to me. He said his colleague was frustrated with the event, because the net proceeds were only about $30,000 and the event was a lot of work. It was obvious why the event planner was frustrated. Spending $95,000 to raise $125,000 is not a very efficient way to raise money for a nonprofit organization.

Poor management of expenses at an event breaks faith with attendees who believe they are giving money that goes to the mission-related work of the host organization. Attendees took $125,000 out of their wallets and gave it to the organization during the event. They surely thought the dollars they spent would help the organization hosting the event. Instead, most of the money raised was used to pay expenses of holding the event.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603444750

2. General Ecology

Hernández, Fidel Texas A&M University Press ePub

Figure 2.1. Ecological regions of Texas. (Cartography by Eric J. Redeker; Data Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

IMAGINE THAT YOU ARE 6 inches tall, weigh 6 ounces, and would rather walk than fly. Your view of the world would change. A knee-high shrub would become a small tree, a dense stand of bluestem would become an impassable jungle, and a 1-mile jog would telescope into a half marathon.

You are beginning to see the world through the eyes of a bobwhite. These are delicate, typically sedentary birds that require a variety of habitats. They are largely concerned with living space from ground level to a height of about 3 feet on areas usually no larger than 20–30 acres. Managers, therefore, must create crazy-quilt patterns of cover on small areas. “Patches” in the quilt must fulfill all the needs of bobwhites. These include whistling posts, nesting cover, brood cover, feeding cover, resting coverts, and roosting cover. In this chapter we discuss the food, water, and cover needs of bobwhites on a seasonal and annual basis.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters