Commons Ford Prairie Restoration Organization formed in early 2012 when a group of individuals including birders, wildlife supporters and conservationists came together to design and implement a native prairie restoration plan which would address the 40 acre tract in the center of Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park. The organization has grown to a membership of approximately 135 individuals, many of whom live in close proximity to the park.
Since its inception, the organization has built a strong and diverse partnership with many agencies and organizations in support of the project. Partners who have participated in various phases of the project include:
Austin Parks and Recreation Department
Austin Parks Foundation
Balcones Canyonlands Preserve
Native American Seed Company
Native Prairies Association of Texas
Natural Resources Conservation Service/USDA
Travis Audubon Society
The organization operates under the charitable umbrella of the Austin Parks Foundation to maintain tax-free charitable financial contributions. Through the end of 2012, CoFoPRO had raised approximately $60,000 from private grant sources, small businesses and individuals. Primary grantors have included TogetherGreen (a joint venture between the National Audubon Society and Toyota Corporation) and Austin Parks Foundation. Other business contributors include Field Guides and Patagonia Stores.
Volunteers have been the key to the organizations early success. Over 50 volunteers have devoted countless hours to fundraising activities, including the Big Day in the Park, conducting field trips and bird walks, writing grants, conducting bird and plant surveys, maintaining the website and interacting through social media. A core group of volunteers is actively involved in planning the Big Day in the Park lead by Fundraising Committee Chair Diane Sherrill and including Leigh Jandle and Denise and Ian Steusloff. Andrea Julian, who has spent countless energetic hours on the project as a Texas State University graduate student intern, now serves as Survey Coordinator and maintains the organization’s website. Travis Audubon Society member volunteers and other birders have also devoted many hours to the project.
Membership in the organization is free. Members receive regular email updates about the project. If interested, send at note to firstname.lastname@example.org