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Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

Roughly 10 years ago, friends and hunting partners Mac Macfarlan and Josh McKee cooked up a wild idea while sitting in a South Texas deer blind—what if they could create a program to build connections among other young professionals who share a love for Texas wild things and wild places? That one ember has since grown into a thriving network and conservation community spanning the state. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of TPWF’s Stewards of the Wild program, we’d like to spotlight one of its “godfathers,” Mac Macfarlan.

Mac Macfarlan grew up hiking Palo Duro Canyon with his grandfather, Wales Madden Jr., a respected leader in Texas conservation circles. Madden was an avid outdoorsman, and his lifelong passion for Palo Duro Canyon led to many philanthropic accomplishments, including leading the fundraising effort for the Palo Duro amphitheater, the Mack Dick Pavilion, Canoñcita, and countless other projects to support conservation and enhance his beloved Palo Duro Canyon. When asked about his grandfather’s influence on his own love for the wild, Mac had this to say, “He instilled a love for all things wild in me, and in a big way. He lived in Amarillo most of the year, but we spent a lot of time in Colorado. Summers were spent hiking and trying to add to his number of bagged fourteeners that he would summit. He didn’t start hiking until after 60…So, yes, he was very passionate about Texas, public lands and conservation, and all things wild, for sure.”

Decades later, it was Madden who first encouraged Mac and Josh to approach TPWF with the idea for a young professionals group. TPWF’s leadership knew a good idea when they saw one, and Stewards of the Wild held its first meeting in June 2013. Today, Stewards of the Wild has grown from a lone Dallas chapter to a statewide program with over a dozen active chapters serving all major hubs within Texas.

Just as his grandfather shared his love of the Texas wild with Mac, so too has Mac with a growing generation of young professionals and Lone Star stewards. Thank you both, Mac and Josh, for being our treasured first Stewards of the Wild.