Georgian Wavle loved to bird. She travelled all over the world to pursue her passion, and she followed the birds to Corpus Christi on the Texas Gulf Coast for her retirement years. The Coastal Bend is known for its incredible array of resident and migratory birds, many of which can be seen at nearby state parks, including Goose Island, Mustang Island, and Lake Corpus Christi.
Prior to retiring, Georgian had a successful career in New York and New Jersey and, thanks to advice from her mother, she saved and invested well from an early age.
As she considered estate planning in her later years, Georgian decided to leave her wealth to meaningful causes, which included a significant gift to Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF). Her wishes were fulfilled upon her passing in October 2022.
Scaled Quail photo by Michael L. Gray
Keeping in mind Georgian’s lifelong love for birds, TPWF decided to use some of her bequest to help place a conservation easement on a 295-acre ranch in West Texas that is rich in bird life.
The ranch is owned by Robert and Lana Potts, who want to ensure the land remains a welcome and thriving haven for birds for generations to come. The property contains important habitat for wintering grassland bird species, one of the most imperiled bird groups in the United States.
“We’re fortunate to have a lot of water here, from cienegas to a spring that bubbles up out of the prairie,” said Robert Potts. “There is a playa that occasionally fills with water, too. That’s unusual in this Chihuahuan Desert environment, and as a result, we’ve spotted more than 170 species of birds here.”
Baird’s Sparrow photo courtesy of Borderlands Research Institute
The Pecos pupfish, one of the rarest native fish species in Texas, can also be found on the property. The ranch lays claim to one of the only wild populations of the species in Texas.
To conserve this land into the future, Robert and Lana Potts have taken steps to permanently protect the ranch with a conservation easement. A conservation easement is a voluntary agreement that forever protects land from future development.
There are costs associated with placing an easement on a piece of property, which can be insurmountable for many landowners. Philanthropic funding is often a critical piece of the funding puzzle.
“We discussed the idea with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and they will be holding the easement,” said Potts. “TNC brought in Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to help us fund it.”
Chestnut-collard Longspur photo by Emily Card
Thanks to the legacy gift from Georgian Wavle to TPWF, her love of birds will forever live on.
“The availability of these funds has been the catalyst for getting our property permanently protected, and we sincerely appreciate the support we have received,” said Potts. “People are here on earth for a little while, and then they want to be able to pass it on in ways that can benefit future generations. There’s really no better way to do that than a planned gift to support something you love. There’s a real nice fit between conservation and planned giving.”