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Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

Sarah Nunley Biedenharn

Fourth-Generation Texas Rancher

Photographs by Jeff Wilson

Meet Sarah Nunley Biedenharn

Sarah Nunley Biedenharn believes in giving back and supporting what she loves, and that includes Texas’ longstanding traditions of ranching, hunting, and conserving our wild things and wild places. She also believes in passing on everything she has learned to Texas’ newest generation.

A fourth-generation Texas rancher, Sarah and her sister grew up working cattle on her family’s ranch near Sabinal, west of San Antonio. “My dad taught us that we could do anything on the ranch that a man could do. The process might look a little different, but there’s no reason that we can’t get it done,” said Biedenharn. “And we did. We grew up working cattle and doing all the things that have to be done on a working ranch.”

Sarah was also introduced to the traditionally male-dominated activity of hunting at an early age, going on family hunts and even completing Texas Brigades’ prestigious leadership camp as a South Texas Buckskin Brigade cadet as a teen. And, for as long as Sarah can remember, her family has been involved with the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), regularly attending TWA’s Wildlife Convention each summer. TWA is a statewide membership organization that serves Texas wildlife and its habitat while protecting property rights, hunting heritage, and the conservation efforts of those who value and steward wildlife resources.

After attending college at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Sarah returned to the San Antonio area and her ranching roots. She began volunteering at TWA and she also joined TPWF’s conservation leadership program, Stewards of the Wild, where she was an active member of the San Antonio Chapter for five years. Stewards of the Wild and TWA, through their Adult Learn to Hunt program, partner together with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to plan, organize, and implement hunting and fishing experiences, and Sarah’s family has hosted multiple groups of young people on their ranch who are taking to the field for the very first time.

“These programs are helping to inspire and nurture the next generation of conservation advocates, and that’s incredibly important. We’re building an army of really young, really smart, motivated people who are passionate about what we love about Texas.”

– Sarah Nunley Biedenharn

Through her volunteer work for TWA, Sarah was quickly tapped for the executive committee. In 2021, she ascended to the role of president of TWA’s board of directors, the youngest and only the second woman to lead the organization.

“I have to admit, I experienced a bit of imposter syndrome at the beginning because I felt so inexperienced and unprepared,” she said.  “But everybody was so willing to help, and I learned so much. More than anything, I realized that I didn’t need to know all the answers. I just needed to know a whole lot of people who had the right answers and get a dialogue going to face whatever issue was in front of us.”

Her tenure as president ended in 2023, a few months after she gave birth to her son, Henry. He’s keeping her pretty busy, but not too busy for her to step away from service. As a new mom, she realizes now more than ever the importance of sharing her way of life with the newest generation, and educating others on the Texas traditions she holds most dear. She now chairs TWA’s Conservation Legacy Advisory Committee, which provides guidance on all the association’s education programs, including the Land, Water and Wildlife Expeditions program—a program that works with local schools to teach children about Texas’ ranching and hunting heritage, culminating with a day of outdoor studies focused on land, water, and wildlife. She also serves on the board of directors for Texas Agricultural Land Trust and the advisory board for Borderlands Research Institute.

“It’s so important for our generation to realize that it’s our turn to pay it back and get involved in these organizations that we care about,” said Sarah. “We need to raise our hands, show up at meetings, and do the work. It’s been up to our parents’ generation to take care of all these things we care about, and now it’s our turn.”

Sarah continues to say yes to opportunities to help spread the message and has signed on as a Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation ambassador. She hopes all Texans will appreciate the wildness of Texas, the vastness of our Texas spirit, and why we should be inspired to conserve it.

“If we want to be sure that the Texas we love is around for our kids and grandkids, we all need to step up and do our part.”

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