Tallon Martin grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, and spent many happy hours hunting and fishing on his family’s ranch in Colorado County. His dad was a developer in Houston and instilled in him an early interest in real estate. That informed his educational journey, and he earned a degree from Texas A&M in agricultural economics with an emphasis on finance and real estate.
His first job out of college was selling ranches, and he moved up the ladder at Republic Ranches, moving to Central Texas to open an Austin office for his company. When he and his girlfriend Mollie moved to Austin, they looked for ways to get plugged in with an organization that shared their passion for the outdoors.
“We read about Stewards of the Wild in a Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine article, and we went online to learn more,” said Tallon. “The first event we attended was a happy hour in downtown Austin, and we immediately clicked with everyone who was there.”
Stewards of the Wild is Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation’s (TPWF) conservation leadership program, which is aimed at young professionals. With chapters across the state, Tallon and Mollie joined the Austin Chapterof Stewards of the Wild in 2015, and they were introduced to outdoor adventures they had never experienced before.
“I grew up with a family ranch, but I really didn’t understand just how diverse our state was and the things that we could get out and do,” he said. “Stewards really opened that door for me, from floating the Devils, to fishing at Powderhorn, and experiencing a bighorn sheep capture at Elephant Mountain in West Texas. The more I got involved, the more I wanted to give back.”
Tallon was tapped to serve as events chair, and then served several years as co-chair of the Austin Chapter. He helped amp up the chapter’s Wild Night, an annual event which raises money for a variety of conservation causes, including TPWF’s Gear Up for Game Wardens and a black bear research project at Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University in Alpine.
Along the way, he and Mollie got married, and the couple now has two young children. They spend as much time as they can on the family ranch in Colorado County, making outdoor memories like he experienced as a child.
As he balances his family and professional life, he appreciates that his involvement with Stewards has helped him learn and grow.
“Running an organization with your peers and learning how everybody works together has been a great experience. In my professional life, I’m kind of a lone ranger and work by myself a lot. It has been fun to be in an organization where I was working with others to accomplish a goal, where we worked as a team to pull things off. That has been a great leadership experience for me.”
Tallon’s leadership experiences will be kicked to the next level in 2024 because he has been selected to serve as a board fellow for the TPWF Board of Trustees. In his application letter for the fellowship, Tallon outlined several reasons he wants to serve, including being a voice for stewards across the state. He also wants to expand his knowledge of conservation.
“The TPWF board is filled with highly respected members of the conservation world, and I desire to learn from the men and women in that room,” he wrote. “I also want to be a resource for my fellow stewards. It is inspiring and empowering to hear what goes on at a TPWF board meeting, and how we, as local chapters, can support their efforts.”
Tallon is looking forward to many more Stewards of the Wild adventures in the months and years to come.