Rice students work to save state parks

Incoming freshmen advocated for Centennial Parks Conservation Fund

Staff | TPIN
Rice students urge passing drivers to honk support for state parks
Gwendolyn Reed

Communications Intern

On July 11, Environment Texas teamed up with Rice University’s Civic Immersion Program to train students on basic organizing skills while building support for the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund, which will allocate $1 billion for state parks. The measure was recently designated as Proposition 14 by the Secretary of State. 

“It’s really important for Texas to have state parks, because a lot of the state is privately owned,” Rice student Erica Takang told Axios. “We are dealing with rapid suburban sprawl and urban sprawl, and I feel that state parks really are at risk. It’s important to conserve nature.”

Rice’s Civic Immersion Program encourages students to advocate for their community, be proactive and practice civic leadership. On campus, students were briefed on the importance of our parks fund, and then went through a series of action stations. There, they created social media content, designed posters for a honk and wave, and wrote letters to the editor of local newspapers.

Here’s a selection of what the students wrote about our state parks:

“Parks are a pleasure to all, whether that is as a first-time visitor or a born and raised native. Let us come together to protect this landscape and wildlife that makes Texas what it is.” – Angela Chen

“Visit your nearest state park today, relish in its presence, and remember that places like this are where children play.” – Eman Fayyaz

“Children need spaces to play and explore friendships outside of video games and school activities. Texas voters, you must vote for bills/amendments in support of state park funding for our youth.” – Asianna Junge

“Being out in the wide open, breathing in the same air that the butterflies do, makes art pour out of me. This November 7th, I’m not voting for some random Texas amendment that doesn’t interest me. I’m voting in support of the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund.” -Anjali Sivasothy

And finally this poem by Bidushee Khan:

“In the heart of the Lone Star State, so grand
Lie Texas State parks, enchanted at hand.

Through Canyons deep and forests lush and green,
The beauty of this land is ever seen.

From Palo Duro Canyon’s walls so steep
To Enchanted Rock, where ancient wonders creep

Oh, Texas State parks, where memories are made.
In the shade of towering trees, we played.

Those family trips with laughter in the air
Bonding moments that time cannot impair.

And now I write to all of you today.
To ask for your support, in a humble way

For the Centennial Park Fund, it’s time to take a stance.
To enrich Texas beauty, enhance its expanse.”

Political ad paid for by Environment Texas, a project of Environment America, Inc.


Gwendolyn Reed

Communications Intern

Luke Metzger

Executive Director, Environment Texas

As the executive director of Environment Texas, Luke is a leading voice in the state for clean air, clean water, clean energy and open space. Luke has led successful campaigns to win permanent protection for the Christmas Mountains of Big Bend; to compel Exxon, Shell and Chevron Phillips to cut air pollution at three Texas refineries and chemical plants; and to boost funding for water conservation, renewable energy and state parks. The San Antonio Current has called Luke "long one of the most energetic and dedicated defenders of environmental issues in the state." He has been named one of the "Top Lobbyists for Causes" by Capitol Inside, received the President's Award from the Texas Recreation and Parks Society for his work to protect Texas parks, and was chosen for the inaugural class of "Next Generation Fellows" by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at UT Austin. Luke, his wife, son and daughters are working to visit every state park in Texas.

staff | TPIN

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